I’ve got a love-hate relationship with jokes, I think that’s the best way for me to describe it. They are the reason why I became interested in comedy and ultimately became a comedian. You know the type I mean? Joke stories, or street jokes, as they’re also known. Like this:
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are out camping. In the middle of the night, Holmes wakes Watson up; “Look at the stars, Watson. What do you deduce?” Watson thinks for a moment and says, “Well, Holmes, in the vast infiniteness of space, the Human Race is just a bleep in the scheme of things”. Holmes says: “No Watson. Our tent’s been stolen.”
When I was at school, kids would tell me joke stories and then there were some comedians on T.V. at the time who were doing a similar thing.
But they weren’t quite in the “knock, knock” realm more the anecdotal kind: “there’s an Englishman, Irishman and a Scotsman…” or “this fella walks into a pub…” So far, so funny.
But there was a also a new breed of comedian on T.V. in the U.K. They were not just delivering the impersonal joke stories, but somehow doing something more.
They were talking about themselves. They were observing the world around them and commenting on it in a funny way. They were doing bits, routines and stories. This was something that I wanted to be a part of.
In the U.K. comedy scene of the 1970s and 1980s there was a split in the comedy scene. There still is to a greater or lesser degree. The “old guard” would tell joke stories that were pretty interchangeable amongst other comics.
Whereas the new breed that had sprung up were doing comedy routines that were personal and not interchangeable with other comedians.
It seemed that what “The Beatles” had done when they wrote their own songs in the 1960s had finally happened in comedy in the U.K.
That said I still have an amount of affection and love of the telling of a joke. A street joke is exactly that – a joke that someone tells you on the street. Okay, not actually on the street, but often some sort of social situation.
There is no ownership of that type of joke, unless it has come from a comedian and is being re-told by a regular person. Then that’s a whole other can of copyright awkwardness.
As a humorist I don’t mind my friends telling me short funny jokes. Or slightly longer ones. They usually see me as a friend first and humorist second.
Whereas if I meet someone new for the first time, either in a social situation or after a a comedy club gig, they will insist on telling me a joke.
Despite the fact that I don’t perform joke stories on a comedy club stage or for a business. I do routines and stories.
When this occurs I feel uncomfortable because inevitably it’s a racist or sexist joke, which again, surprises me because I am neither a racist nor a sexist comedian.
So why I would:
a) use one of their jokes and
b) include that type of material in my act when I obviously don’t ever perform it? baffling.
Maybe a scientist will one day research this phenomenon instead of conducting important research like… working out the scientific possibility of Santa Claus. (Look it up if you don’t believe me).
Strangely, people don’t tell me that many jokes any more. I wonder why?
So I thought I’d search for joke stories on the Internet, which helps pass the time when I have to occasionally frequent crappy office jobs. The problem I found with a lot of joke websites is that they are not updated that often.
So once you’ve read the joke stories and return a couple of months later, you’re still reading the same ones. Yes, I have put way too much thought into this. I am a comedy geek it has to be said.
Or, what sometimes happens, is that someone will forward you a joke story via email and it will look something like this:
>>>into a bar
How irritating is that? It’s a pain in the buttski to forward that on because you invariably get loads more of those arrows.
And it’s just far too time-consuming to edit the arrows out before sending it on. I’ve tried that approach too. Especially if you’re supposed to be typing up the minutes from the meeting you just fell asleep in.
Sometimes you just want a nice little joke story. You receive it, laugh and get out with minimal casualties. And you can forward it on if you wish with a spring in your step and a glint in your eye and your line manager need never know.
Unless you can minimise quickly.
So you can imagine my little comedy anorak being filled with joy when I discovered… That’s Comedy
Check out my follow up post about Joke Stories here
Note: There are affiliate links on this page. That means if you make a purchase a product via my link I get paid a commission. It helps me pay the bills.