Monday, October 1, 2012

GUTGAA SPP #9 - Beyond Funny: Jokes That Break the Rules

Beyond Funny: Jokes That Break the Rules
5,559 words


A surprising trend has started among young people in America. This trend is symptomatic of a post-postmodern era where many people are highly self-conscious, politically correct, and culturally literate. I am referring to the trend of telling meta-jokes, anti-jokes, and even meta-anti-jokes.

In researching humor that breaks the structure and function of traditional jokes, I found that this trend is largely undocumented, despite the many jokes proliferating in various places online and among the general populace. From a publisher's perspective, there is only one other anti-joke book on the market, which is poorly and cheaply designed, lists 22 paltry anti-jokes (some of them vulgar) and has only a very brief explanation of the genre. In contrast, I use 28 meta-jokes, anti-jokes, and meta-anti-jokes within the first two chapters of the manuscript, which are dedicated to classifying and explaining the three categories of Rulebreakers, their subcategories, and how unfunny jokes still fall into the four main theories of humor. The rest of the book consists of 116 more Jokes That Break the Rules, in all their variety. I still can't read through the manuscript without chuckling.

I suspect that this type of a joke book would be quite sought after both by teenagers in middle school and high school, as well as adults who find this type of humor enjoyable. The manuscript was reviewed by a man who has studied humor for many years and who was part of a popular comedy group; he promptly wrote back after reading the manuscript and asked that he be alerted immediately when it was published so he could post it on his Facebook account. I have written and culled what are, to me, the best of the anti-jokes and the other Rulebreakers that are out there, although I am open to suggestions, additions, and deletions.

First 150 Words


I heard my first anti-jokes in 2001, the summer I was a camp counselor in Utah. A camper got up during lunchtime to share some jokes (“What’s yellow and weighs 2,000 pounds? Two 1,000-pound bananas”) and I recognized these jokes as having a different flavor (not banana), one that I liked very much. I suppose at some level I like this humor because I am a cultural byproduct of the post-postmodern era, but hey, we are all free to choose the type of humor that brings out the belly laugh. Jokes That Break the Rules win me over.

This joke book is unusual in that these jokes play upon common jokes and joke templates. Chapter 1 discusses theories of humor and how Jokes That Break the Rules still fit within these categories. The three main classifications of jokes presented here are meta-jokes, anti-jokes, and meta-anti-jokes; Chapter 2 describes the difference and gives examples of each.


Slave to the Muse said...

I don't feel qualified to give a lot of feedback on this one since nonfiction is not my arena, but I would suggest that if you have some kind of credentials that qualify you to write a book on jokes, you should certainly include those in the query. I'll be voting later so check back! Good luck!

Alaskan Ninja said...

I'm wondering if the submission guidelines didn't specify "novel."