What is a joke?

We explain what a joke is and the different types of jokes that exist. Also, why they cause grace and what are their stereotypes.

  1. What is a joke?

We call joke, chascarillo or facecia a type of short story , usually oral, fictional and humorous , whose understanding arouses laughter. Its content can be satirical, ironic, burlesque, even cruel, expressed through a verbal game or ideas, which to be fully understood requires certain common references and some common idea of ​​the funny between who tells the joke and who They listen to him.

The joke is a very old human invention. The first compilation of jokes that is known comes from Greek antiquity , and is the  Filógelos , an anthology of 265 jokes made around the fourth century AD by Hierocles and Filagrio, supposedly.

Most of the jokes respond to a fairly fixed structure, initiated by a narrative introduction that raises the situation in which, afterwards, the game or grace occurs, which is a complication of the situation whose resolution invites laughter.

The joke should not be confused with the joke or other jocular genres , in which a real situation is prepared to make fun of or have fun with third parties, or with nonverbal humor (called  gag ) so characteristic of physical comedy or  slapstick.

  1. Types of joke

According to its content, we can classify jokes into:

  • Innocent or white jokes  . This is the name of the most harmless, childish jokes or suitable for all types of audiences.
  • Green  or red jokes . Also called “spicy”, they have in their narration a sexual or erotic content, either explicit or suggested.
  • Black jokes . They are called that because they belong to black humor or cruel humor, whose narratives are sarcastic, ironic or cruel with people in disadvantaged or sick situations.
  • Political jokes . They include in their narrative elements belonging to local or international politics , to recognized personalities or situations that concern universal history.
  1. Why are jokes funny?

According to Freud, the joke tries to violate social and self-censorship to lead to laughter.

There are many explanations in this regard. Some theories, such as those of Marvin Misky (in his  Society  of  the Mind ), who propose the joke as the human mechanism for learning the absurd , or even more so those of Edward de Bono ( The Mechanism  of  the Mind  and  I am  right you  are  wrong ), who suggests that the human brain works from thought patterns to recognize family stories and stories.    

When one of the thought patterns is broken and replaced by a new connection, as in jokes, it tends to laugh in response . This would explain why after hearing them several times, jokes lose their grace.

Sigmund Freud also investigated this matter in  The joke and its relationship with the unconscious . According to the famous psychoanalyst, jokes (as well as failed acts) allow unconscious content to emerge disguised in the light of consciousness , through puns, shifts of meaning and other masking strategies of the deep message. That is, it is a way of violating social and personal censorship, which would lead to a manifestation of pleasure (laughter).

  1. Stereotypes in jokes

Most of the jokes operate, in their need for a common knowledge or reference between the one who tells it and the one who listens to it, with stereotypes or social archetypes, which are forms of universal consideration, prior (at times they can be prejudices) and fast, They attribute certain caricature characteristics to certain types of people, certain nationalities or certain races.

There are sexual, racial, religious, national and all kinds of stereotypes , which serve to generalize and superficially characterize a collective, which lends itself to the exercise of the joke perfectly. However, in many cases the management of these stereotypes can become prejudice and turn the joke into a gesture of aggression, discrimination or violence against the other.

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