Sunday, June 17, 2007

Anatomy of a bad joke 

It all started with this joke. We were at a party at our PM(Product Manager)'s place. T and I were as usual occupied in various useless conversions.

Me: Isn't it funny how adding an O at the beginning of PM makes it sound like Opium.
T: You know what. We should have a rank called OPM ... maybe Organizational Product Manager or something like that.
Me: You know what kind of a rank that'll be?
T: What?
Me: A very "High" rank.

Arrrrrghh! Another sad joke bites the dust the queen would've said. But somehow the joke sounded so much better in my mind. But I have to accept that the joke when cracked, lacked the punch of a classic and that made me think back abt all the failed jokes I've cracked and the idea for this post came to mind.

Now come on. To the readers of this blog (to who I'm extremely apologetic abt the long delay) it should come as no surprise that I know a thing or two abt bad jokes. Hey! I almost completely own the right to really bad jokes. So why (and how) does a joke become a bad joke? Let's get into the skin of it - shall we?

No joke begins by being a bad joke. Even when you begin your sentence with "Ok, wanna hear a really bad joke ..." what you really secretly mean is "Hey, I found this joke funny but in case you don't then don't blame me later." So why then does a joke that was good in your mind become bad suddenly??

The number one reason for the annihilation of a good joke is context. Without context a joke is like a woman's short dress. On the right person and situation it would be a treat. But then give it to someone not meant for it and you are inviting visual harakiri. Take this joke for an example. I was talking to a friend and she showed me the photograph of another common friend's boyfriend who the common friend thinks is very good looking (whoa. what a confusing background). The first thing I noticed was the really long nose the guy had and my first reaction was "Wow. He makes Pinocchio look like an honest man." Not to be overshadowed by me, my friend chipped in with "Right. And the wooden expression just adds on to that." Now, I know what you are thinking. That it is wrong to make fun of ppl. And that's where context comes in. The guy in question is rumored to be a jerk and so we didn't feel any remorse while taking a dig at him. Also the images were posted with gooey captions that screamed for our comments and hence not only do I not feel bad abt the joke, it was indeed quite funny given the context.

The next biggest reason for a mutilated joke is kind friends. And by kind friends I mean drunk friends and luvahs. Drunk friends should never be trusted as a yardstick for jokes. Get a guy sufficiently drunk and he will laugh at anything. "This hot dog is so bad that they must have cooked it with the dog's poop in it." Now come on. That's just sad. A single line offending pet lovers and food connoisseurs. How bad is that? And yet your drunk friend will laugh hysterically. Not only will he just laugh, he will also repeat it to all the other drunk friends. "Hey, hey, listen to what he just said. Ha ha ha ha. So funny man. Ha ha ha. This hot dog is ..." And before you know every one in the party is laughing at your joke and you are convinced that it is a masterpiece. Next morning the same drunk guys are sitting there and having hot dogs for lunch and you come and crack the same joke and they shout back at you. "Why would you do that to us Raj? You just freakin spoilt lunch for me man," they yell. "What the fudge. You thought this joke was hysterical last night ... and my name is not Raj."

And yes. Never judge a joke based on what your luvvah thinks abt it. I have laughed at some reallllly bad jokes in the past just to make people I was with then happy. Some of those jokes damaged me permanently but I still laughed and I am sure the favor was more than returned. Like even now my mom cracks the lamest jokes in the World and my dad laughs like it is a Tom and Jerry skit. Then he asks her to repeat it one more time. And my mom does. On one hand I feel happy to see my parents so much in love and on the other hand I feel sad for my dad. Sob!

To end this post, another conversation that when taken out of context is just dumb but was quite funny if you were there.

Me: I feel most movies have stories that can be said in a line.
T: Like?
Me: Give me a movie.
T: Terminator II.
Me: Bad robot. Good robot. Good robot wins.
T: Harry Met Sally.
Me: for i = 1 to 10 { boy and girl meet; } They get together.
T: Arrrrrgh!
Me: Hey, there is a movie where the story is the same as the name.
T: What?
Me: Robo Cop.
T: That I will give you.



Whoa...throughly enjoyable as always, especially the one-liners on the movies and the drunkard acts :-)
I met a couple of other bloggers yesterday and we were saying how interesting your page is although you are quite irregular these days!
fantabolous buddy!
Came after a real long wait but worth it.
Late, late!!

Man, this post of yours almost makes me want to spill my whole treasure of PJs right here... but I'll let you live.
wats so wrong/right wid "T" tat all ur lame/lustrous jokes happen wid him/her??
Wanted to crack a bad joke in return for this good post(finally you posted, thats a great favor on us, lesser mortals!)... but realised that mine lack lustre in front of urs.. :)
@shreyasi - thank you tonsa :) will definitely be more regular now or at least lie to be so :)

@supernova - how kind of u.

@sudipta - do it. i wanna hear ur pjs and u better not disappoint. bring it on dude.

@i7 - T is just as weird as I am and he thankfully doesn't read my blog :)

@coco - dont be like sudipta. this comment space is always ready for sad jokes. as a matter of fact u and sudipta should both crack ur jokes and based on public outcry we can decide which one is worse :P
hmmm....u seem to b just like the gang at office..i guess the PJ cracking ability comes as a package with the gender! :O
I love PJs- some more plsss
Me: What cereal do you like?

Not me: Post. You?

Me: Heroes, on NBC. Heh heh!

absolutely fantabulous!

reminds me of the PJs we used to crack at random in high school and college...

"Artificial insemination is OK, but there is a saying... spare the rod and spoil the child"


"Convertible cars and women are similar... both are more fun with their top down!"

yeeee ha ha ha ha...

and in case you did not laugh at this...

"Man who stands on toilet is high on pot!"

he he he he

Love, laughter n keep the Faith

wonderful dissection!! loved it... care for some hot dog???
aaarrrggghhhh!!! n the 'best PJ' award goes to Mr.Nandy! :)
wait I have a movie that has the story in its name 'Harold and Kumar go to White Castle'
funny man tum kidhar gum ho gaya tha? and luvahs jokes man so sorry for ur daddy!
love the dress analogy
Good one
But how come there's no mention of a phenomenon called 'sidhu' ? ;-P
haha! PJ's rule man!
ah, these are as bad as 'tum aa gaye ho to noor aa gayi' , 'chalo teeno picture dekhne chale' :)
PJs rock!
lol.. I thought A very "High" rank was funny too!
This comment has been removed by the author.
So have you ever heard of Ferdinand de Saussure? The linguist? If he had children who got married that would have made him Ferdinand the shoshur.
delight! :D
I absolutely love these 'bad' kind of jokes. and I'm often looked upon at with arched eyebrows for the same! :((
Nice post dude. and the worst joke is when you thing you have cracked a great joke and you will end up explaining the same to the person to whom you told the joke :)
hey! absolutely loved your bad jokes. channel v has a blog about the youth of india. would love to have you write for it. check it out at www.myindiareport.in
Those of you who are engineers or similar techies will agree with me that we geeks have our very own subset of the PJ - the TJ (techie joke). The TJ is usually even lamer than the average PJ, with a hint of technology in its recipe. Eg: What is Shammi Kapoor's favorite search engine?
I like your writing style...
and yes.."high rank" joke did bring a smile on my face... isnt that the success criterion of a joke??

Will come back for more..
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Thank you !
I hate it when someone makes a bad joke..especially whe there are some other people around..
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