A Joke is a humorous rendering of a situation with the aim to entertain people. Jokes can be employed in the form of puns, question-answer jokes, short stories and so on. Jokes have been a part of human existence since long and aim to break the routine of mundane life. A variety of jokes have come into play and can include puns, tongue twisters, food and diet jokes, geriatric jokes, bumper stickers, ethnic jokes, professional jokes, clever jokes reflecting minute observations about people and situations and many more. Jokes can also be self-deprecating where the humor is targeted towards oneself rather than others.
The main aim of telling or playing jokes on someone is to create humor and entertain people by producing laughter or a smile on the listener’s face. When a joke does not elicit the desired response it is termed to have failed or “bombed”. Besides this, jokes also perform the role of contributing humor and comedy to a situation by the use of devices such as irony, puns or wordplay, sarcasm, punch lines among others. Professional jokes are based on caricatures of professions such as doctors, teachers and lawyers by the general public as well as in-jokes exchanged by the members of a profession.
While most jokes are worded verbally, jokes can be in the form of a prank or practical jokes. A joke that is spoken makes use of words to convey the humor while practical jokes are physical and involve the person in the humorous situation. In most cases the person involved is unaware that he is being driven to the uncomfortable situation and it is usually at his expense that others have a good laugh. For example, placing a rubber insect on someone’s shirt, filling a water bottle with salt water and so on.
Political jokes generally employ irony and satire to depict the personality of heads of state and other eminent politicians. The political situation of a nation with all its absurdities has long been the butt of political jokes. Cartoons are prominently used to illustrate political jokes. Blunders of politicians are often made fun of through the use of catchy phrases and puns in jokes. Similarly political jokes are often devised by the perceived negative attitude towards political rivals. Politicians often use self-deprecating humor to break a tense situation and acknowledge the presence of a problem.
Religious jokes may be based on stereotypes such as nun jokes, rabbi jokes or may centre on religious subjects such as Satan, Adam and Eve and so on. Religious jokes may also exist in the form of addressing various grievances to God. Jokes are developed by combining unexpected people or circumstances. A humorous situation is often created by pairing different religious heads together in a ludicrous situation. Ethnic jokes typically centre on stereotypes and may be regarded as racist and offensive by certain cultures and religion.