FAQ: Types of Jokes

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Jokes are one of the oldest forms of comedy and have been dated back to the very beginnings of human history. Examples of jokes have been found in the recorded records of Sumer, one of history’s first civilizations. The first joke collection Philogelos dates back to Ancient Greece. People like telling jokes and while the forms and topics may change, joking has been seeing humans through good times and bad for centuries.

Jokes are a diverse type of humor and can take many forms. From lighthearted to dark jokes there are many methods of landing a good punchline. One of the best parts of joking is there are a lot of different approaches you can take to telling a joke. This allows you to match your jokes to fit your style and sense of humor. Here are some different types of jokes to try out.   

Types of Jokes

  • Traditional: one of the classics, a traditional joke takes the form of a setup followed by a punchline. These setups can be long or short and the punchline is based on wordplay, sarcasm, or the unexpected. There are many ways to set up the joke but the punchline should always be the highlight.
  • Parody: one of the harder types of jokes a good parody is hard to beat but can be a challenge to execute properly. A parody makes use of popular culture or figures that are current in media. A good parody requires that the topic or person be well-known by the audience. Also, the parody itself has to show you have knowledge of the source material being made fun of.
  • Anecdotal: one of the key parts of any joke is relatability. A situation or experience people can relate to makes a joke far funnier. A good anecdote is a story based on something you (or people you know) have gone through. Anecdotal jokes are great because they give you plenty of room to set a story and lead the audience to a punchline about a common reaction or shared human experience.
  • The Triple: a take off the traditional joke format. A triple joke makes use of a setup, setup, and then a punchline as the joke format. The key to this kind of joke is how the punchline relates to the setup lines. For example, you can set up the first two items as short bits and the last as a long highly specific story. Another common setup is two benign statements followed by something dark or alarming.
  • The List: a list format isn’t just good for social media posting, it’s also good for jokes. A list joke can use a slow build format, randomly jump around for the purpose of contrasting humor, or be overly long where you use timing, format, and tone of voice to create the joke.

Final Thoughts

As the above shows, jokes are as diverse and varied as the many cultures who have created them. If you don’t think you’re funny, it may very well be that you just haven’t found the right type of joke for you. You may not be able to tell a good knock-knock joke. However, you could be an expert at quick one-liners. Don’t be afraid to try things out and modify your jokes to fit your humor and unique skills.  

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