Humorology 101

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

If I had a penny for everytime you turn a good conversation into something stupid, I'd be living my life in constant change.

Witticism -> One-liner -> Critical

Semantic details:
This one-liner is actually a type of "penny for" implementation of the "you're so stupid" class of critical jokes. The "penny for" structure was popularized by the early humorists Boggart and the more contemporary Handey and Mitchel. In this structure, the second half of the sentence usually delivers the punchline using wit while the first line follows the same format as follows:

"If I had a penny for [something claimed to occur very frequently]"

For the second part, the author uses double-meaning, which is more frequently employed in the duality subclassification of one-liners. "Constant change" both refers to a steady flow of pennies as refered to by the first line and at the same time, link-references the word "turn" to give another meaning to the word "change".

The make-up of the second part increases the complexity of the joke making it a double-pass entry, which means the joke has to be reevaluated by the audience to get the full effect.

Due to the double-pass entry nature of the joke, usage should be limited to slow-pace delivery as a standalone for better evaluation and timing - and to achieve maximum efficacy.

I'm not sure what they teach in stand-up comedy courses in the states (yes they do have them) but I'm betting it's something like this. Also, I fell asleep while writing this piece - twice.

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