Mudcat Café message #2235738 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #107638   Message #2235738
Posted By: Lonesome EJ
13-Jan-08 - 06:55 PM
Thread Name: BS: First joke thread for the year 500bc
Subject: RE: BS: First joke thread for the year 500bc
As Terrence Barnett states in his To Get to the Other Side: A History of the Joke, nothing was really very funny until about 750 BCE. He sites as examples the Old Testament and Homer's Illiad and Odyssey. "Generally, "says Barnett, "any work of this sort of length will contain a belly laugh, a chortle, or a guffaw. But having carefully read both of these works in their original languages, I have yet to find even a snicker in them." According to Barnett, there was never a drier mound of stultifyingly morose and boring prose than The Egyptian Book of the Dead, unless it was The Tibetan Book of the Dead, with the sole exception of the part where Vishnu pushes Shiva over a crouching elephant.
Humor was apparently unknown to the Egyptians until they enslaved the Jews and began the Captivity. The first few jokes that Jews made, while sending the other Jews into hysterics, went right over the Egyptians' heads, and it took nearly 100 years of explaining the punch lines until some of the Egyptians actually started to "get" the jokes. But soon the Egyptians refused to take anything the Jews said seriously, which served them badly when Moses threatened the Seven Plagues.
After their release from captivity, many Jews returned to their native land, while others spread throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa, taking this method of story-telling with them...the jochem, or joke. Their repertoire was quite limited in that era though. The Pirate joke gave birth to a school of jokes which featured people of various nationalities jumping out of various conveyances. There were the "Man goes into a Bar" genre, also, which spawned the "Man goes into a Doctor's office" genre. The Jews were also responsible for a very early version of the "Salesman-Farmer-Daughter" joke, which was known as "Let Me Sleep in your Tent and I Promise not to Schtup Jallilah".