Saturday, 18 December 2010

I should not have bought

that book of "politically incorrect" jokes for my father. He likes jokes. He has a fair collection of joke books. He is getting another one from me as a Christmas present. I will have to endure the retelling of many of them to his friends.
This is not the Christmas present. This was a book from the charity shop. I do not, on the whole, approve of buying books that are still in print. It is not fair on the authors. I will make an exception for a collection of jokes. They are gathered together from any number of sources and you can be darn sure the compiler has not paid the person who thought of the original joke.
So, I bought the book.
It is full of jokes by, for and against nationalities, racial and physical types etc etc. My father does not mind telling jokes against himself, his Scots ancestors (he makes that clear) or Australians. He will not tell jokes that may offend other people. He is also adept at changing a joke so that it suits the circumstances. Like all "magicians" he has a store of these even though he no longer pulls "rabbits" (never a real one) out of hats.
I do not know what makes a joke funny and neither does he. Humour is elusive. We both know that jokes with a "kick in the tail" are the sort that seem to be the most humorous. We also know that "slapstick" humour is not our style.
The jokes in the politically incorrect joke book vary. Some are genuinely funny. Other are not.
Humour can get lost in translation too. A doctor friend once told me some Spanish jokes. The jokes which depended on puns cannot be translated. You have to understand the language.
I think all good jokes may be something like that. You need to understand the language in order to see something as funny. The language can be words, gestures or pictures but you have to understand it in order for it to be funny.
When it comes to the politically incorrect jokes it is clear that I have a very poor understanding of some of the language involved.


Ann said...

I have no idea what makes a joke funny. But I would agree you must speak the language of the joke to understand the nuances of it. I hope your father gets great enjoyment from his newest joke book. There is nothing like laughter to uplift the soul.

catdownunder said...

Laughter is an essential ingredient of life isn't it Ann?