Do You Tell a Lot of Bad Jokes? People Hate You.

From Live Science:

Research by a Washington State University linguist found that people who tell bad jokes often endure an astonishing outpouring of hostility from the listeners.

“These were basically attacks intended to result in the social exclusion or humiliation of the speaker, punctuated on occasion with profanity, a nasty glare or even a solid punch to the arm,” said researcher Nancy Bell.


First, such canned humor often disrupts the natural flow of conversation. And jokes that fail to deliver humor are a violation of a social contract, so punishing the teller can discourage similar behavior in the future.

Finally, a stupid joke insults the listener by suggesting that he or she might actually find it funny, Bell said.

“Being selected as an appropriate audience for a stupid joke suggests that there is something amiss with the hearer’s sense of humor,” Bell said.

There’s something comforting to me about that study. I’ve probably been guilty of telling way too many bad jokes, but I never understood why I sometimes react so negatively to people who continuously bark out failed one-liners. I often feel an urge to give the bad joke-teller a swirlie or a wedgie, and that’s not a normal impulse of mine, as I’ve never been much of a bully.

But yes, it is a little bit insulting to be told a bad joke, because the teller seems to think that you are as moronic as he is.

3 responses to “Do You Tell a Lot of Bad Jokes? People Hate You.

  1. A guy goes up to the airline ticket counter to get a flight to New York.
    “I want a flight to New York but, I want this bag to go to Los Angeles and this other bag to Miami.” The clerk replies, “Sorry, sir, I’m afraid our airline can’t do that for you.”
    The man replies, “Why not? You did it the last time I flew to New York.”

  2. Ha! What? We are to learn about jokes from a humorless researcher? I suggest that the researcher doesn’t know the first thing about humor. When somebody tells me a bad joke, I don’t feel stupid, I think the joker is stupid. And that is sometimes the point. Even the idea that someone studied bad jokes and found them insulting is funny. And stupid.

  3. What a punchline. Really a good joke.!!!!!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s