Author Topic: "Ruining" a joke (When you know the punch line)  (Read 5282 times)

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WillyNilly

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Re: "Ruining" a joke (When you know the punch line)
« Reply #30 on: June 30, 2013, 01:13:51 PM »
If someone tells you a joke, like one of those "What do you get/what happens when..." jokes, is it considered rude if you actually answer the question? I was sitting with a group of friends and we were swapping jokes. When someone already knows a joke I tell and responds, I think it's funny and we usually have a mutual laugh-at the end of the day the joke's being told in its entirety, even if it's split. But another girl said that I "ruined" hers when I actually answered with the punch line.  I've seen this go both ways so I was wondering what e-hell thought about it.

Other girl is being childish. If someone says: "What goes tick-tick-woof-woof?" and you say: "A watch dog!" then hilarity ensues, or groaning. That's how it's supposed to work. If you want people to say: "I don't know, what goes tick-tick-woof-woof?" then you need to have a question to which they don't know the answer. Up your game. Find a nine year old.

Joke telling relies on being able to surprise the person hearing the joke. It's very selfish to insist that the pleasure of the joke is solely in the telling. The pleasure of the joke should be in creating the response in the listener, which changes if the listener knows the answer.

I agree.  If the joke involves asking a question, of course people are going to try to respond, whether they already know the answer or whether they've guessed it.

To me though there is a way to answer the question and have it still be a joke, and there is a way to answer it that makes it appear to be an old boring unfunny joke. I think the former is ok and fun, but the latter is something a lot of people do tend to do, and its really off putting. People will some times jump in with the answer before the asker is even done with the question, and will have a flat or even condescending tone and it really does ruin the experience for the joke teller. If someone listens to the whole question, and guesses an answer with a jovial tone its a very different experience.

In both cases the listener is answering the joke question, but in no way are both situations the same thing.

Possum

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Re: "Ruining" a joke (When you know the punch line)
« Reply #31 on: June 30, 2013, 01:36:37 PM »
Well, don't leave me hanging-

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Surianne

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Re: "Ruining" a joke (When you know the punch line)
« Reply #32 on: June 30, 2013, 01:45:45 PM »
I agree.  If the joke involves asking a question, of course people are going to try to respond, whether they already know the answer or whether they've guessed it.

To me though there is a way to answer the question and have it still be a joke, and there is a way to answer it that makes it appear to be an old boring unfunny joke. I think the former is ok and fun, but the latter is something a lot of people do tend to do, and its really off putting. People will some times jump in with the answer before the asker is even done with the question, and will have a flat or even condescending tone and it really does ruin the experience for the joke teller. If someone listens to the whole question, and guesses an answer with a jovial tone its a very different experience.

In both cases the listener is answering the joke question, but in no way are both situations the same thing.

Ah, I haven't encountered that situation, myself.  I agree that interrupting the joke (other than to say "Oh, I've heard this one before" to avoid wasting the teller's time) would be rude.

shadowfox79

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Re: "Ruining" a joke (When you know the punch line)
« Reply #33 on: June 30, 2013, 02:00:39 PM »
I agree.  If the joke involves asking a question, of course people are going to try to respond, whether they already know the answer or whether they've guessed it.

To me though there is a way to answer the question and have it still be a joke, and there is a way to answer it that makes it appear to be an old boring unfunny joke. I think the former is ok and fun, but the latter is something a lot of people do tend to do, and its really off putting. People will some times jump in with the answer before the asker is even done with the question, and will have a flat or even condescending tone and it really does ruin the experience for the joke teller. If someone listens to the whole question, and guesses an answer with a jovial tone its a very different experience.

In both cases the listener is answering the joke question, but in no way are both situations the same thing.

Ah, I haven't encountered that situation, myself.  I agree that interrupting the joke (other than to say "Oh, I've heard this one before" to avoid wasting the teller's time) would be rude.

Another point is that some jokes begin the same way but have different punchlines. If you leap in with the wrong one, you've ruined the joke, because even if the one intended was funny, having to say "No, it's..." wrecks the delivery.

ishka

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Re: "Ruining" a joke (When you know the punch line)
« Reply #34 on: June 30, 2013, 08:47:22 PM »
If there are only two people involved, the joke teller and you, then giving the punchline is OK and might even be better than listening quietly to a joke you've heard before and not laughing.

If there is an audience of more than one then dropping the punchline is inserting yourself into someone else's performance (telling a joke is a performance, no matter how casual or amateur it is).  There is a sort of rhythm to successfully telling a joke and if you interrupt this it is likely to be make the joke a failure which is a bit unfair both to the audience and to the person telling the joke.

There is also a tiny amount of applause in the laughter that follows a successful joke and by telling the punchline, unless you do it very well, you are "stealing' this from the joke teller.

So, I vote for "spoiling the joke" and rude.

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Re: "Ruining" a joke (When you know the punch line)
« Reply #35 on: June 30, 2013, 08:57:27 PM »
Possum-

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lilfox

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Re: "Ruining" a joke (When you know the punch line)
« Reply #36 on: July 01, 2013, 03:04:34 PM »
I agree.  If the joke involves asking a question, of course people are going to try to respond, whether they already know the answer or whether they've guessed it.

To me though there is a way to answer the question and have it still be a joke, and there is a way to answer it that makes it appear to be an old boring unfunny joke. I think the former is ok and fun, but the latter is something a lot of people do tend to do, and its really off putting. People will some times jump in with the answer before the asker is even done with the question, and will have a flat or even condescending tone and it really does ruin the experience for the joke teller. If someone listens to the whole question, and guesses an answer with a jovial tone its a very different experience.

In both cases the listener is answering the joke question, but in no way are both situations the same thing.

Ah, I haven't encountered that situation, myself.  I agree that interrupting the joke (other than to say "Oh, I've heard this one before" to avoid wasting the teller's time) would be rude.

I mentioned in the spin-off thread that I use the bolded (with a smile) to deter a joke teller if I'm not in the mood or want to get out of the joke/conversation.  However, I wouldn't do it to squash a joke that had a bigger audience than just me, though, I also agree that that would be rude.

MariaE

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Re: "Ruining" a joke (When you know the punch line)
« Reply #37 on: July 01, 2013, 04:56:52 PM »
My opinion...

If you're just the two of you - not rude to supply the punchline (although it can be done in a rude manner, but that's a different situation).
If you're more people and you honestly don't know the joke, but guess the punchline - not rude to make a guess.
If you're more people and you already know the punchline - I'm leaning towards generally rude, but there are situations where it wouldn't be.
 
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baglady

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Re: "Ruining" a joke (When you know the punch line)
« Reply #38 on: July 01, 2013, 05:27:55 PM »
In my circle we often tell and retell the same jokes. If it's a riddle (and I consider riddles a kind of joke), someone else calling out the answer is part of the fun. Heck, we've had entire conversations made up of nothing but punchlines.

I've been known to answer a child's riddle with an obvious wrong answer -- for example, for the newspaper riddle, "A very embarrassed zebra?" "A penguin who forgot his sunblock?" That makes the kid laugh, and then we both have a laugh when he gives the real answer.

But it's a know-your-audience thing. As a general rule I don't think it's very nice to take the punchline away from the joke teller. But I also think it's an overreaction for an adult joke teller to jump on the punchline-giver-awayer for "ruining" the joke. It's a joke, not the nuclear codes.
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RingTailedLemur

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Re: "Ruining" a joke (When you know the punch line)
« Reply #39 on: July 01, 2013, 05:47:10 PM »
But I also think it's an overreaction for an adult joke teller to jump on the punchline-giver-awayer for "ruining" the joke. It's a joke, not the nuclear codes.

It depends on the people, and the relationships.  Making people laugh is a way of bonding with a group, having someone actively prevent or usurp that can be a rejection.

Onyx_TKD

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Re: "Ruining" a joke (When you know the punch line)
« Reply #40 on: July 01, 2013, 06:21:02 PM »
But I also think it's an overreaction for an adult joke teller to jump on the punchline-giver-awayer for "ruining" the joke. It's a joke, not the nuclear codes.

It depends on the people, and the relationships.  Making people laugh is a way of bonding with a group, having someone actively prevent or usurp that can be a rejection.

It seems pretty clear from this thread that there are multiple schools of thought on question-form jokes. It's not fair to "jump on" someone for responding to the joke when that's the style they're accustomed to. If the teller pauses for a response (e.g., "I don't know, what?"), as many question-form joke tellers do, then it's even more unfair to get upset if the response isn't the particular response desired.

However, there are plenty of jokes that aren't in the form of a question. If a joke teller feels that the joke is ruined or that their interactions with the group have been usurped when someone else answers the question (by providing the punchline), then IMO the most practical solution is to use a different form of joke. Getting angry at someone in the group for answering a question they were asked isn't likely to improve one's bond with the group either, unless it's a group of bullies. There are one-liners, story-style jokes, knock-knock jokes, etc. But IMO this falls under "Don't ask questions if you aren't prepared to hear the answer." I understand it could be disappointing if one expects to be able to both ask the question and provide the answer. But if that doesn't happen, IMO the onus is on the joke-teller to either A) change the type of jokes they tell to ones that aren't questions, B) accept that their listeners are going to answer, or C) aim for jokes that will stump their listeners so they can provide the punchline after everyone else gives up (and fall back to (B) if someone guesses it after all).