What's Funny; What's Not

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Here is a brief overview of what, in my view, comprises humor suitable for my "Joke of the Day." You should use this as a guideline when evaluating whether or not JOTD is for you. If you can live with my definitions, then things should go well. If we’re too distant, then you may be disappointed.

Let’s begin with a quote, which forms the JOTD Theme and that, for me, sets the stage quite well:

"Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent. We would not dare to conceive the things which are really merely commonplaces of existence. If we could fly out of that window hand in hand, hover over this great city, gently remove the roofs and peep in at the queer things which are going on, the strange coincidences, the planning, the cross-purposes, the wonderful chain of events, working through generations and leading to the most outré results, it would make all fiction with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusions most stale and unprofitable."

- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859–1930), English author. Sherlock Holmes to Watson, in
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, "A Case of Identity" (1892)

When seeking out humor if we look to life, to those around us, we will find more suitable and unusual material than we will through all the contrivances that would-be humorists can concoct.

It has frequently been observed that humor is, by definition cruel. I understand the point but I believe it is possible to avoid cruelty specifically and still preserve humor. In any humorous tale someone or something must be the "object," but gratuitous cruelty can usually be avoided, especially if people understand that they’re listening to a joke.

In order to enjoy JOTD please remember that I have not and would never use any material that is intentionally offensive, but also keep in mind the nature of humor requires an "object" and in order to enjoy the stories we have to cooperate in that light.


bulletReal-life stories where humor or irony was obviously intended at the time the event occurred or the words were spoken.
bulletStories that poke fun at current events or established practices that might benefit from a lighter touch.


bulletStories that depend upon sexual content or a sexual theme.
bulletBathroom humor.
bulletRacial or other clearly and intentionally offensive stories.
bulletSome religions humor. I’m not specifically afraid of religious stories, and I frequently use them, but I always try to make them generic or widely applicable and not specific. I always avoid stories about religious groups that consider any humor directed at them to be offensive.
bulletStories that include or depend upon overt cruelty, violence, or conduct civilized people should avoid.

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Copyright © 1996 - 2012 by David J. Wardell.  All Rights Reserved.

Revised: Friday, May 23, 2003 02:22:47 AM