What is Jokes: Definition and 56 Discussions

A joke is a display of humour in which words are used within a specific and well-defined narrative structure to make people laugh and is usually not meant to be taken seriously. It takes the form of a story, usually with dialogue, and ends in a punch line. It is in the punch line that the audience becomes aware that the story contains a second, conflicting meaning. This can be done using a pun or other word play such as irony or sarcasm, a logical incompatibility, nonsense, or other means. Linguist Robert Hetzron offers the definition:

A joke is a short humorous piece of oral literature in which the funniness culminates in the final sentence, called the punchline… In fact, the main condition is that the tension should reach its highest level at the very end. No continuation relieving the tension should be added. As for its being "oral," it is true that jokes may appear printed, but when further transferred, there is no obligation to reproduce the text verbatim, as in the case of poetry.
It is generally held that jokes benefit from brevity, containing no more detail than is needed to set the scene for the punchline at the end. In the case of riddle jokes or one-liners the setting is implicitly understood, leaving only the dialogue and punchline to be verbalised. However, subverting these and other common guidelines can also be a source of humor—the shaggy dog story is in a class of its own as an anti-joke; although presenting as a joke, it contains a long drawn-out narrative of time, place and character, rambles through many pointless inclusions and finally fails to deliver a punchline. Jokes are a form of humour, but not all humour is a joke. Some humorous forms which are not verbal jokes are: involuntary humour, situational humour, practical jokes, slapstick and anecdotes.
Identified as one of the simple forms of oral literature by the Dutch linguist André Jolles, jokes are passed along anonymously. They are told in both private and public settings; a single person tells a joke to his friend in the natural flow of conversation, or a set of jokes is told to a group as part of scripted entertainment. Jokes are also passed along in written form or, more recently, through the internet.
Stand-up comics, comedians and slapstick work with comic timing, precision and rhythm in their performance, relying as much on actions as on the verbal punchline to evoke laughter. This distinction has been formulated in the popular saying "A comic says funny things; a comedian says things funny".

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  1. DaveC426913

    Why do we feel the need to type in all caps for acronyms?

    Wawa and Petawawa imply the existence of Kilowawa, Megawawa, Gigawawa and Terawawa. Only 9h17m? That's 312,000,000,000 wawas per hour!
  2. Wrichik Basu

    Programming Jokes: Lame, Science & Math Jokes!

    We have threads on lame jokes and science jokes. But then, we also have a thread on bad math jokes. So, why not create one specifically for programming jokes? Let me start:
  3. G

    McSweeney's : "Signs You Work In The 'Cool' Lab"

    Short satire piece: https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/signs-you-work-in-the-cool-lab
  4. J

    Discuss here or in the Lame Jokes thread....?

    From a letter to the Editor in NYT recently: "We are addicted to fossil fuels, de-forestation and over population. Addressing global warming via technology...is like asking a bartender to help with alcoholism" So...mods, need to move it to the correct thread section ?
  5. benorin

    Bad Math Jokes

    Summary:: Ok, so let hear 'em, all your tasteful bad math jokes... Found this on r/mathmemes There's no solution for 31: Ok, so let hear 'em, all your tasteful bad math jokes...
  6. DennisN

    Collection of Science Fiction jokes

    I recently saw some very funny memes about Star Wars (which I'll post below), so I thought about starting a thread about jokes about science fiction, e.g. SF movies. Please share funny jokes, pictures and memes about SF and their stories in this thread. And, yes, I know, I'm such a huge SF...
  7. BillTre

    Celebrate Pi Day with Funny Pi Jokes!

    Happy Pi Day: Pi jokes! A mathematician, a physicist, and an engineer are all given identical rubber balls and told to find the volume. They are given anything they want to measure it, and have all the time they need. The mathematician pulls out a measuring tape and records the circumference...
  8. Harsha Avinash Tanti

    B Math Jokes: 1-1=0, but 2=0? Impossible!

    I would like share a nonsense math problem which certainly wrong but its fun I would like others to join as well in my endeavor to create jokes by using math. the joke is as follows As we know, 1-1=0 let, a = 1 , b = 1 then...
  9. arpon

    Physics Jokes: TdS PdV and More!

    What are your favorite Physics jokes? One of my favorite is : Studying Entropy is a TdS PdV. My friend, Fahim Bin Selim, first told me this joke.
  10. nsaspook

    Did someone actually drill a hole in their iPhone 7 for a headphone jack?

    http://www.craveonline.com/design/1124445-people-actually-drilling-holes-iphone-7-make-headphone-jack#/slide/1 If only one person did this.
  11. davenn

    Pi day comedy - stick all your graphics jokes etc in here

    22/7 has rolled around again here's a starter ...
  12. davenn

    Is Science Really Like a Joke?

    haha some truth in there :wink:
  13. Svein

    Lightbulb Jokes - How Many Does it Take?

    Q: How many science fiction writers does it take to change a lightbulb? A: Two, but it's actually the same person doing it. He went back in time and met himself in the doorway and then the first one sat on the other one's shoulder so that they were able to reach it. Then a major time paradox...
  14. Greg Bernhardt

    Collection of Science Jokes P2

    Old thread: https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/science-jokes.4463/page-44 My wife just drew this
  15. NovicePWizzard

    What did the surprisingly religious neutrino hold?

    An unexplained Mass! I'm so sorry. Anyway I'm me and I like maths and physics, but I don't know that much yet. I'm always open to people pointing me towards interesting resources for learning, and I love to discuss anything, well most things anyway. I'll always try to get the facts.
  16. S

    Events mistaken for April Fools jokes?

    What are some examples of real events that were mistaken for April Fools jokes?
  17. AdityaDev

    Should politicians give marriage advice?

    A famous politician once declared: "I will never marry in my life. And I will advice the same to my children too"
  18. HiggsBoson1

    Great physics jokes (pictures)

    These are some of the best physics jokes on the internet. Enjoy!
  19. skujesco2014

    Can Humor Help in Teaching Physics?

    Hi, all. I want to become a Physics professor in the US. For a few years now I've been a TA in an american university and I've had to teach a few lectures to a large audience in a big lecture hall. However, american students learn differently. For moments, I feel like a performer in this...
  20. Greg Bernhardt

    Favorite jokes from scientists for 2013

    Scientists tell us their favorite jokes: 'An electron and a positron walked into a bar…' http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/dec/29/scientists-favourite-jokes
  21. S

    MHB Funny BORG Jokes: Assimilate a Smile!

    BORG Jokes#1 on the BORG Hit Parade We All Live in a Single Subroutine #2 on the BORG Hit Parade: BORG in the USA Elvis of Borg Assimilate Me Tender McBorgers Over 50 billion assimilated Schwartzenegger of Borg You will be terminated. Monty Python of Borg I wish to complain about this 'ere...
  22. anemone

    MHB What is the formula for the volume of a thick crust pizza?

    Why did the mathematical tree fall over? Because it had no real roots!:pWrite the expression for the volume of a thick crust pizza with height a and radius z. The formula for volume is \pi(\text{radius})^2(\text{height}). In this case, pi.z.z.a.
  23. J

    Funny Joke: Yogurt Cartons and Cottage Cheese

    Two cartons of yogurt walk into a bar. The bartender (a tub of cottage cheese) says to them, “We don’t serve your kind in here.” One of the yogurt cartons says back to him, “Why not? We’re cultured individuals.” i know its a really really bland joke but i love it
  24. D

    Know of any Funny Physics Jokes for Shirts?

    Does anyone know of any good Physics jokes/comics that would be good for a physics group's tshirts and care to share? It's ok if they have a sexual innuendo, but these are for an University organization, so if it has a dirty overtone, it has to be subtle/decent. (To give you some sense of what...
  25. S

    MHB Doctor, Doctor Jokes: Tom Jones Syndrome

    "Doctor, doctor! .People always ignore me!" "Next!" "Doctor, doctor! I have this compulsion to sing Delilah." "You have Tom Jones syndrome." "Is that a rare disease?" "It's not unusual."
  26. S

    MHB Hilarious BORG Jokes: Elvis, Schwarzenegger, and More!

    BORG Jokes#1 on the BORG Hit Parade We All Live in a Single Subroutine #2 on the BORG Hit Parade: BORG in the USA Elvis of Borg Assimilate Me Tender McBorgers Over 50 billion assimilated Schwartzenegger of Borg You will be terminated. Monty Python of Borg I wish to complain about this 'ere...
  27. M

    Can Chuck Norris solve any math problem with violence?

    Chuck Norris can solve a system of equations of parallel lines. When Chuck Norris was given a math test, he wrote "Violence" as the answer to all the questions. He got an A+ because Chuck Norris solves all his problems with violence.
  28. R

    Scottish Humor: A Collection of Jokes

    You probably have to be Scottish to get this one:
  29. O

    Phd jokes scare me. are those really true?

    As a matter of fact, at this moment, pursuing phd is way far-fetched plan for me since I am a high school student. But those phd jokes really discourage me to go to undergrad in pure math and rather force me to get a degree in like acturial science or engineering. I was planning to study...
  30. Borek

    Computer jokes (can be hermetic)

    I am using cookies to find out how the people that bought my programs located my site. This is what I found in my log today: xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx.pppoe.eltel.net - - [17/Nov/2011:13:24:24 +0100] "GET /chembuddy/?left=BATE&right=pH-calculator HTTP/1.1" 200 9020...
  31. C

    Yo mama jokes for physicists

    This made me laugh. See more at http://www.calamitiesofnature.com/"
  32. Z

    Science Jokes: A Fun Collection of Geeky Laughs

    The following is a collection of some pretty good and easy to understand science jokes.
  33. S

    Physicist, mathematician and engineer jokes.

    Found this while lurking around, thought I'd share: http://www.cs.northwestern.edu/~riesbeck/mathphyseng.html Bai bai.
  34. M

    What do you get when you mix a polar bear and a neutrino? A polar-neutrino!

    Ok I have a speech to deliver in a few weeks. It is on neutrino research at the south pole. I will be leaving soon to go to McMurdo Bay. I am only 19 and a Sophomore in College after this semester. I am very excited but would like to break the ice in style(pun intended)lol. So I need some of...
  35. A

    Funny Physics Jokes - Share Your Favorite's

    Anyone got any good physics jokes?
  36. Gib Z

    Unimaginably huge number, No jokes

    Grahams Number: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graham%27s_number Anybody have any tips on how to comprehend something this huge? The number of elementary particles in a trillion universes doesn't even come close...
  37. H

    Solving Sexual Myths: Venkatraman Mukherjee aka Santa Singh

    LEAVING THE OFFICE EARLY Three girls all worked in the same office with the same female boss. Each day, they noticed the boss left work early. One day the girls decided that when the boss left, they would leave right behind her. After all, she never called or came back to work, so how...
  38. H

    Funny Physics Jokes to Make You Chuckle

    Read this,its quite fun... http://pages.infinit.net/garrick/jokes/physics.html
  39. Tsu

    Bush Jokes at Burns' Fundraiser in Montana

    Too Funny! This was just TOO FUNNY not to share! :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: http://www.greatfallstribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060328/NEWS01/603280302/1002
  40. T

    Yo Mama Jokes Thread - Share Your Best Jokes!

    yo mam so fat that they needed to put speed bumps at the buffet line to slow her ass down! post your "yo mam" jokes
  41. K

    Someone Called Jokes: Popular Funnies You'll Love

    "someone called" jokes You know those jokes that go: "Your village called, they want their idiot back." or "the year 1970 called, it wants it's clothes back"... what are your favorite ones? I'm trying to search for them, but I'm having a really hard time trying to find them online.
  42. A

    Post your physics jokes here please =)

    emm yeah title says it all :P I'll put one up to start with, the only one I know actually, hence the post. It's bad but that's one of the defining properties of a physics joke right? Heisenberg was speeding, a police man stops him and says, "Do you know where you are?" to which Heisenberg...
  43. benorin

    Can You Solve This Hilarious Limit Problem Involving Sine and Infinity?

    So here it is: prove that \lim_{n\rightarrow\infty}\frac{\sin x}{n}=6 Hint: algebra I students may not get the joke, but to them the proof comes easy. Okay, so let them flow... post 'em if you got 'em [jokes, that is] .
  44. dextercioby

    My favorite jokes thread

    "My favorite jokes" thread I decided to break the monotony installed with the latest wave of stupid threads occurring in our beloved GD and post my favorite jokes in (American) English. I know some of them are lame. :tongue2: A little girl is in line to see Santa. When it's her turn...
  45. P

    Are science jokes fundamentally accurate?

    There are a number of math-science jokes, one of which goes along the lines of 'Biologists think they are biochemists, Biochemists think they are Physical Chemists, Physical Chemists think they are Physicists, Physicists think they are Gods, And God thinks he is a Mathematician.' (I...
  46. Y

    Bringing Some Humor to Laser Diodes: Fun Jokes

    Does anyone know any laser jokes? I'm doing a short presentation on laser diodes and thought it might be fun to include a refreshing page of jokes near the end. I found a few on Google, but none were very funny.
  47. G

    Physics Jokes and Humor - Share Yours Here!

    Everyone list your physics jokes here. I have a few ones. In the early 1900's, name foreigners came to america, and they had bad english skills, espeicaly with tense and past tense. So, one day, a german who just entered the country lost track of the time, as he needed to catch a train ...
  48. W

    In Need of Answers - Questionable Jokes

    A tad of fun. In an effort to test the level of humor of the physicist, I posted a list of ten would-be questionable jokes. If you have an interest to give a possible answer or punch line to such jokes then drop by the journal posted by "what_are_electrons". If we get a real demand, maybe...
  49. Q

    Collection of Lame Jokes

    Lamest joke you know ... :zzz: