Episode 82: What’s So Funny: Jokelore

Why do we tell jokes? They’re sticky little stories with set-ups and punchlines, and they spread like wildfire. The epitome of the modern oral tradition, jokes have more to say than it might originally appear. Join us this week for a crash course in the history of gallows humor, and way it shaped the history of professional comedians in America. We’ll also discuss the elusive line between profanity and art; humor and harassment; hysterically funny and horribly cruel.





Gallows Humor Is No Laughing Matter – AAFP

Parody and Taste in Postwar American Television Culture By Ethan Thompson

Obscenity Case Files: George Carlin’s Seven Dirty Words – CBLDF

The NASA Joke Cycle: The Astronauts and the Teacher Elizabeth Radin Simons Western Folklore

Humor Shown To Be Fundamental To Our Success As A Species

Don’t Forget What Richard Pryor Taught Us: Offensive Comedy Can Be Liberating – New Republic

Gallows Humor in Medicine Katie Watson

Humor in the Physician-Patient Encounter – Archive of Internal Medicine

Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious – Sigmund Freud

Seriously, the Joke Is Dead – NYT

Lenny Bruce Died For Our Sins – Salon

Dirty words: From Lenny Bruce and George Carlin to Stephen Colbert – The Washington Post

Lenny Bruce: the comedian who shocked Britain – The Telegraph

‘Offensive’ Is the New ‘Obscene’ – Time

The ‘7 Dirty Words’ Turn 40, but They’re Still Dirty – The Atlantic

Ha!: The Science of When We Laugh and Why – Scott Seems

Jokes and Targets by Christie Davis

What Triggers Joke Cycles? – India Opines

Stepping backwards with disability humor? The case of NY Gov. David Paterson’s representation on ‘Saturday Night Live’ by Beth Haller – Towson University – Disability Studies Quarterly


“I Has Seen Image Macros!”Advice Animal Memes as Visual-Verbal Jokes by Marta Dynel – University of Lodz, Poland

To What Extent are Jokes Reactional?

Entry 5: Every culture has a Polish joke—but only Americans make fun of lawyers. – Peter McGraw and Joel Warner

How the internet has transformed dark humor – Whitney Phillips – Slate


How Audience Dynamics Directly Impact Comedy Performance Levels

On feeding the Holmies – Whitney Phillips

Bob Hope’s Dirty Joke

10 Best Bob Hope Jokes

When Bob Hope was Funny – The New Yorker

Why People Troll Dead Kids on Facebook – Gawker

RIP Trolling as Social Critique – The Atlantic

RIP Trolling

LOLing at tragedy: Facebook trolls, memorial pages and resistance to grief online by Whitney Phillips

War and Hope by Roland Flamini – World Affairs Journal

How Bob Hope Impacted Two Troops in Vietnam (Without Actually Seeing Them) – USO

Watching as Bob Hope Entertains Vietnam by Ramsey Ess

The Rise And Fall Of Comedian Bob Hope – Fresh Air – NPR

Key Moments in Bob Hope’s life and Career by Susan King – LA Times

Don’t Forget What Richard Pryor Taught Us: Offensive Comedy Can Be Liberating by Jeet Heer – New Republic

When the Truth Hurts, Tell a Joke: Why America Needs Its Comedians by Roger Cohen and Ryan Richards

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