Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Internet has Ruined Jokes

Years ago people told each other jokes. In my family, it would work something like this: my uncle in New York would hear a joke - he’ll call my dad and tell him - my dad would tell my mom, and I would overhear it - I would tell it to my friends. Everybody got to hear a joke, everybody got to tell a joke. It was a win-win all around.

Today most jokes are delivered wholesale by the electronic media, and they aren’t as funny. Maybe you see them on, or somebody spams you with the joke, or maybe you heard Garrison Keillor tell it on NPR. Most computer transmitted jokes aren’t even told – they're just forwarded, or re-posted on Facebook.

It’s time to revive the art of telling jokes. If we’re going to make this work, we need some guidelines.

  1.     Jokes may not be emailed or posted on social media.
  2.     Jokes must be told in person or live over voice media.*
  3.     One (1) point will be awarded for telling a joke.
  4.     Two (2) points are awarded for telling a funny† joke.
  5.     Three (3) points are awarded for making up and telling an original‡ joke.
  6.     Five (5) points are awarded for making up and telling a funny original joke.
  7.     A pun, however funny, may be awarded no more than two (2) points.
  1.     Forgetting the punch line – loss of one (1) point
  2.     Repeating the punch line – loss of one (1) point for each subsequent repetition.
  3.     Repeating any joke told by Jeff Foxworthy– loss of one (1) point.
  4.     Telling a dirty joke that isn’t funny – loss of three (3) points.
Please join me in the revival of this once great American tradition.

*Telephone, VOIP, or two-way radio. SMS and live chat are excluded. (Rule under review 3/30/2013)
†The joke will be considered funny if the audience exhibits genuine mirth.
‡Wholly original content or substantially modified punch-line.

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© 2008 Raoul Rubin