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You Don’t Get The Joke (Probably)

A caricature of a bearded Irish-American prisoner standing before a surly looking judge. The dialogue in the image reads, "Justice—What is your name, sir?
"Prisoner—Casey, yer honor.
"Justice—Your full name?
"Prisoner—Just the same, yer honor, full or sober."
Attempting to fully understand humor of the past can be a dizzying experience.

Image Source: Caricature: Wit and Humor of a Nation in Picture, Song and Story (New York: Leslie-Judge Company, 1911), 174. https://www.google.com/books/edition/Caricature/qDxHAQAAMAAJ

Just when you thought you had a totally normal sense of humor,1Okay, if you’re a fan of this podcast, it’s possible you already realize that your sense of humor veers a bit toward The Quirky. you read some joke from the past that doesn’t make any sense at all. Trying to translate a joke from another point in time can teach us a lot about the cultural contexts of past people. That process also reveals something about ourselves. A lot of what we find funny in the here and now depends on the symbols that we’ve grown accustomed to at different points in space and time.

Sources Used

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    Okay, if you’re a fan of this podcast, it’s possible you already realize that your sense of humor veers a bit toward The Quirky.

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