Irish humor is legendary. Yet nobody knows exactly why. Sure, the antics are hysterical and the realm of the Irish imagination infinite, but why is Irish humor such a thing?
What makes it so witty?
Why does the Irish approach work?
The reason behind the potency of Irish humor gets murkier and more un-pin-downable (and even funnier in the process!) due to the fact that the only people who could possible explain why it works so well, the Irish themselves, also haven’t the least clue.
…You want me to explain HOW it works!? It just does, buddy! Plus it probably wouldn’t be nearly as funny if we looked into the matter, rather than simply lived it.
What’s more, if we did know how to explain the mechanics and drivers behind Irish humor, we wouldn’t need to constantly make jokes! We’d have another means of cutting to the heart, untangling all that repressed emotion! Alas, Irish humor and the endless stream of jokes, puns, plays, pranks, gags, slags it entails is the way we communicate. Our modus operandi for dealing with the world as we see it.
Whereas other branches of Europe’s human family might frequently use their words to describe, speculate, tell of (Mediterranean) or instruct, input, construe (Germanic), the Irish generally have two central functions for words: whining and joking.
A British colony for centuries, battered and made subservient in their own land, it makes sense that the Irish came to ingrain and fine-tune these two methods of coping. After all, you’re trapped. You’ve never even seen the next village over, but you’re trapped and repressed in yours, working the land to fuel an empire (you’ll also likely never see). And you’d be repressed in the next village, too, should you ever make it there.
So what is to be done? How do you protect yourself and those you love, whilst gaining release? Preferably one that doesn’t put your life at risk.
You whine and you joke. All. Day. Long.
The former to vent on the injustice (you can’t solve) and lower the expectations of those coming up below you – lest they assume life is picnic-prone and prove incapable of enduring the suffering theirs is sure to hold. And joking all the while, to make the situation bearable and teach the young wans that they should never get too big for their boots. In this way, no haughtiness slips through the cracks and a society geared towards bearing the unbearable develops. A tight-knit, whine- and joke-prone one.
Irish humor, Irish Zen
So it is that just like other monumental contributions to human civilization, Zen Buddhism, say, Irish jokes provide instruction. They impart something. But whereas a Zen monk teaches by saying little, instead allowing experience to manifest from the essence of the instruction, Irish lessons draw from the other extreme, jamming the lines of verbal communication. Perhaps, actually, in this they are more similar to the endless niceties and two-faced behavior seen in mainstream, urban Japanese society (far removed from that of secluded zendos, serenely perched in nature’s bosom).
The Irish method of instruction works thus: You decide on the lesson to be imparted, then you drown said instruction in words and plays, twists and shakes, and sketches and underplays. You leave it to the receiver to cut away the dressing, if they can. You say what you want to say, but you cloud it and lever it into joke format, so that the message can be exchanged as acceptable currency. And you repeat the process ceaselessly, flooding the channels: joke after joke after joke after joke.
Where the Japanese have developed finesse from their constant struggle to think what others around them might be thinking (and so anticipate, intercept or cater toward their actions), the Irish have developed layer upon layer of the most luxurious wit and extravagantly imaginative delusion.
And because everyone is doing it, the level of imagination, extent of personal wit and general realm of humor continually rises and rises. We teach and train each other how to play, and the bar just keeps getting higher, each person looking to outdo the last.
Irish humor as pub pursuit
Don’t identify? Try spending a night in the local with a group of reasonably intelligent young Irish drinking buddies. Likelihood is come midnight your head will be spinning. Your sense of true reality at the very least skewed, at a moderate stretch very much called into question.
If they are really on top form, each goading, mocking and generally decimating the fragile psychological makeup of their peers with a high degree of dexterity, you probably won’t feel you’re even in a pub anymore. Or anywhere other than a shapeless, yet constantly shifting, realm of farce, frolic and fancy. A strange fantasy land where delusion and enthusiasm reigns.
Until the whining begins.
Ever notice Irish traditional music has two settings? Bounce me around the ballroom boisterditties and 18-minute laments drawing attention to the decline in the quality of frozen peas. It’s part of the same strategy.
In the same vein, you can count on this section to bring you that elusive best of Ireland, those Irish jokes that rock bellies and bust guts, elevate and instruct. But without the whining. We’ve cut it all away for you, allowing us to serve you only that straight-up legendary wit for the ages. On any topic an Irish(wo)man has ever had a poke at.
This means both classic Irish Jokes Section about the things that have been central to the Irish – story jokes, drunk jokes, horse jokes, fish jokes, perhaps some jokes about cheese. But also bringing to various other topics the kind of wit that only the Irish can muster. The format being an eclectic mix of long and short Irish jokes as seen in our collection of indubitably funny Halloween jokes.
And it’s for everyone. If humor is exclusive, is it really humor? We, the humans, surely have this capacity for a reason: to sooth, instruct and fraternize with other humans. So all bases will be covered. There are jokes for friends, jokes for girls, jokes to tell your boyfriend. What do you call jokes. Joke for seniors and jokes for pirates. All infused with that seriously imaginative and unpredictable Irish humor. And all in good fun, like.
Check out the first mega batch of Irish jokes and you’ll see the broad range catered for. Plus we’ve labeled each section to let you know which are suitable Irish jokes for kids and which might not be so appropriate.
How To Be Irish
Our acclaimed How To Be Irish is also now available to the wider public! The cackle-inducing How To Be Irish Section of this ANTIblog caters to those whom have forgotten how to be true green and those who never knew – but always wished they did.
An ever-expanding compendium of wit and green guidance, it now has its own page in the Irish Humor section. Astute tips of wisdom can also be found on Pinterest at How To Be Irish or on Twitter under the hashtag #H2BI.