Joke – Concept, joke types and stereotypes

We explain what a joke is and the different types of jokes that exist. Also, why are they funny and what are their stereotypes.

The content of a joke can be satirical, ironic, mocking, and even cruel.

What is a joke?

We call joke, joke or facecia a type of short story, usually oral, fictional, and humorous in content, whose understanding arouses laughter. Its content can be satirical, ironic, burlesque, even cruel, expressed through a verbal game or ideas, which to be fully understood requires certain common references and a certain common idea of ​​what is funny between those who tell the joke and those who they listen to it.

The joke is a very old human invention. The earliest known compilation of jokes comes from ancient Greek, and is the Philogelos, an anthology of 265 jokes made around the 4th century AD by Hierocles and Filagrio, supposedly.

Most of the jokes respond to a fairly fixed structure, initiated by a narrative introduction that raises the situation in which, later, play or grace occurs, which is a complication of the situation whose resolution invites laughter.

The joke should not be confused with the joke or with other humorous genres, in which a real situation is prepared to make fun of or have fun with third parties, or with non-verbal humor (called gag) so characteristic of physical comedy or slapstick.

Joke types

According to their content, we can classify jokes into:

  • Innocent or white jokes. This is the name given to the most harmless, childish or suitable jokes for all audiences.
  • Green or red jokes. Also called “spicy”, they have a sexual or erotic content in their narration, either explicit or suggested.
  • Black jokes. They are so called because they belong to black humor or cruel humor, whose narrations are sarcastic, ironic or cruel with people in disadvantaged situations or illnesses.
  • Political jokes. They include in their narration elements belonging to local or international politics, recognized personalities or situations that concern universal history.

Why do we find jokes funny?

According to Freud, the joke tries to violate social and self-censorship to lead to laughter.

There are many explanations for this. Some theories, such as those of Marvin Misky (in his Society of the Mind), who proposes the joke as the human mechanism to learn the absurd, or even more so those of Edward de Bono (The Mechanism of the Mind and Yo soy right you are wrong), who suggests that the human brain works from thought patterns to recognize family stories and stories.

When one of the thought patterns breaks and is replaced by a new connection, as in jokes, he tends to laugh in response. This would explain why after hearing them several times, the jokes lose their humor.

Sigmund Freud also investigated this matter in The joke and its relation to the unconscious. According to the famous psychoanalyst, jokes (as well as failed acts) allow unconscious content to emerge disguised in the light of consciousness, through word games, meaning shifts and other masking strategies of the deep message. That is, it is a way of violating social and self-censorship, which would lead to a manifestation of pleasure (laughter).

Stereotypes in jokes

Most jokes operate, in their need for knowledge or a common reference between whoever tells it and whoever hears it, with stereotypes or social archetypes, which are forms of universal, prior (at times they can be prejudices) and quick consideration, that attribute certain cartoonish characteristics to certain types of people, certain nationalities or certain races.

There are sexual, racial, religious, national and all kinds of stereotypes, which serve to generalize and superficially characterize a group, which lends itself to the exercise of the joke perfectly. However, in many cases the handling of these stereotypes can turn into prejudice and turn the joke into a gesture of aggression, discrimination or violence against the other.