A Reliable Flow Chart To Identify Jokes

6 thoughts on “A Reliable Flow Chart To Identify Jokes

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  1. So you are saying that jokes are never in the public domain even after the original writer has been dead for over 100 years?

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    1. Yes. If you know who wrote the joke I don’t think the joke ever goes into the public domain. Mark Twain’s been dead for over 100 years can I use his jokes without crediting him as if they were my own? I don’t think so. Also: I wrote “probably nope” because I’m not 100%.

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      1. Your Mark Twain example is interesting but also misleading. A Mark Twain joke is made more powerful by crediting him. It makes you look like a student and expert in comedy history.

        Alternatively, if your character were a buffoon, you could get a good laugh mis-creditting him:

        “As Mark Twain always said: ‘Bitches be cray cray.'”

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      2. I don’t think it’s misleading. Just because a Mark Twain joke is made more powerful by crediting him doesn’t mean that taking the joke without crediting him is okay. Does it?

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  2. Ok, so what if someone told me a joke to use? How do I know if it was their joke, stolen, or public domain?

    A simple example I have is ending a fire routine with a torch in mouth gag. Here are a couple endings that I was given/used:

    * Blowing out first torch and as you are blowing out the second one, you “accidentally” relight the first one with the third one. Repeatedly blowing out and having them get relit.

    * From side view, having it look like the torch is going towards your mouth, but it’s really going to the side of your face, behind a bit.

    * Saying “I’m going to put this torch in my mouth” and then putting it in your mouth by the handle (and not the fire end).

    * Suggesting with your movements that you’re going to put the torch in your mouth, but as it gets close, just blowing it out.

    I assume they’re all public domain, but how do I know for sure?

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    1. This is where things get murky Scott Seltzer. The most common way a joke gets into the public domain is by being stolen a lot. The only reliable way of knowing if something is 100% in the public domain is by haven the expressed permission of the originator. Like Frank Mile’s joke about practicing being a lover. He WANTS the joke in the pubic domain. All of those torch jokes are “stock” but I’m not sure if any of them are legitimately in the public domain.

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