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The Analysis of a Joke - Essay Example

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The Analysis of a Joke Word Count: 1,351 (5 pages) In this piece: a joke will be chosen which fits into one of the categories as described in Jim Holt’s book about the history of jokes, and it will be explained why the joke was chosen—in addition to describing what is the point of humor…
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The Analysis of a Joke
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Download file to see previous pages Although we think of the joke as a cultural constant, it is a form of humor that comes and goes with the rise and fall of civilizations.”1 The joke that was chosen was the following: A doctor walked into a bank. Preparing to endorse a check, he pulled a rectal thermometer out of his shirt pocket and tried to write with it. Realizing his mistake, he looked at the thermometer with annoyance and said, ‘Well thats great, just great... some asshole’s got my pen.’2 The category that this particular joke probably belongs in is the scatological category, because it deals with a reference to the rectum. It’s unsure why, but these types of jokes can be particularly compelling—because excrement seems to be something that humans find very funny. Of course, a simpler way to say that is to just say, “Poo is funny.” But why? What is so funny about our own feces? Fundamentally, excrement is elemental. If we didn’t have it, there would be no jokes. But why is humor about feces, farts, and, in fact—the entire range of human bodily functions, fodder for jokes? One must wonder. What makes this particular joke funny is that, through a play on words, we imagine the pen being stuck in some patient’s behind. That seems pretty funny that there would be a mix-up like that. Thus, there is a play on words and we find this joke, for the most part, funny—if not at least a bit crude. ...
Now, it’s not using very polite language either. This is where the aggressive element demonstrates itself. It’s not a polite joke, and it probably wouldn’t be polite to share in mixed company, unless the mixed company were to be as foul-mouthed as the language used in the joke. Although the joke’s language is not overly offensive, it does say something about the medical profession as well. Doctors are sometimes inept, and it’s easy to make jokes about doctors and lawyers because they both have high-stress professions. Humor can be a wonderful way to deflect problems, as well as provide a platform for expressing one’s personality. This is why comedians like Jerry Seinfeld did especially well with his show Seinfeld, and why, subsequently, comedians like Larry David did so well with his show Curb Your Enthusiasm. Many times, these humorous shows have something in common—they use real-life situations as fodder for something called situational comedy (or a sitcom). Situational comedies bring real-life problems to light. Who could ever forget the following bits: “Are you sponge-worthy?” “She’s got man hands!” Pig Man. The Soup Nazi. “You double-dipped the chip.” “Serenity now!” “Give me that, you old bag!” Who will ever forget these classic moments in Seinfeld history? These, and a series of other vignettes in his subsequent spin-off hit HBO comedy series--Curb Your Enthusiasm--were brought to you by none other than comedian, writer, actor, and executive producer Larry David. Larry David was the head writer and executive producer of Seinfeld, winning him a Primetime Emmy Award for Best Outstanding comedy series in the run of the show’s fourth year. Seinfeld made ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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