Do comedians tell jokes?

I'd argue that most don't really tell jokes. When I think of jokes I think of knock knock and Jackie Martling. When I think of Richard Pryor and the funniest comedians, then tell brilliant stories that don't really have punch lines.

I almost always cringe when someone is telling a joke because it is usually obvious or solely based on shock value.

What say you? Phone Post 3.0

I think "bits" is more accurate than "jokes", but can someone who knows clarify? Phone Post 3.0

Why just bits?
When is one of these comedians going to let us have the whole thing? Phone Post

I'm not so sure. Hedberg, Wright, Gallagher, and Youngman all had "bits" so short, self-contained, and not dependant on their particular delivery that I'd call them jokes. A good one-liner is, to me, a joke.

I bet even as you read through that list, one of each of their micro-bits ran through your head.

Socrates was essentially a stand up comedian. It depends on what you consider 'shock value'......it's very subjective and dependent on that persons perception of truth or their moral compass etc. What you consider a 'joke' is often based on the same admittedly much milder premise.

Jokes can rely on juxtapose and challenging our cognitive dissonance of what might be considered the expected result of a question, statement or anecdote....Obviously you also have word play as well and many other forms.

There is not a narrow definition of a joke

Comedians tell stories or give their perspective on life, they just have the ability to take sad/controversial subjects and put a twist on them for our entertainment. Phone Post 3.0

Jeselnick tells jokes, but they do have their shock value.

Most comedians these days do tell stories more than jokes, but that's the way it goes.

I know I’ll get crushed for this, but I was listening to some Richard Prior just yesterday and he tells jokes like a lot of comedians do these days.  Short bits with a few little punch lines and one big one at the end.  And what I was listening to did not hold up over time.  I like his movies more than his stand up (but I’m guessing I’m in the minority).
 
Comedians that drop a lot of short jokes with no larger story arc are Ok, but lose my attention quicker than a long story with several punch lines along the way.

if you're into storytelling check out Mike Birbiglia's new special on Netflix. it's called "My Girlfriend's Boyfriend", and it's great. ...in my opinion. Phone Post

All comedians still tell jokes, a joke is simply a set up and a punchline. This is easiest to see in a joke-y joke. Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the otherside. Oh look, a play on words, he set me up with that question then delivered a hit with the seond part. That's clearly a joke. Really old comedians told tons of jokes.

 

Unfortunately, after the first few times you see this, it loses it's novelty. The audience starts to jump the joke and now, it's no longer funny. It's lost all novelty. This forced comedians to find ways to bury the setup so that when they get to the punchline, the audience wasn't expecting it. People found a lot of ways to tweak this and mask what they are doing.  

 

Some tell stories, get the crowd to relate with their own personal experiences, whether they've experienced something similar or not. Most people have gone through something similar enough to relate, even if it's just having been embarassed before (set up), then offer a unique perspective completely changing the way the audience had previously felt on the matter. Maybe it's just to be able to laugh at themselves (punchline).  Birbiglia is a great example of this. 

 

Some look at what we encounter in everyday life. Just living and experiencing things is the setup, so this takes less work than the story teller. Then they offer a fresh take on it (punchline). Seinfeld being the classic example, but Demetri Martin is a newer comedian that also does a lot of observational comedy and is slightly less mocked (what's the deal...).

 

Or you can get so absurd with your jokes. So mean, or so abstract, nobody can possibly see that punch line coming. Then you can just go straight set up punchline. Anthony Jeselnik and Mitch Hedberg both telling joke jokes.

 

As far as bits go, bits are basically just jokes. They are the singular thing that when said should be follwed by a laugh. However, a lot of storytellers and observational comedians string together a bunch of related bits into what is considered a chunck. This makes it feel much more natural and much less like he is just rattling off joke after joke, even though that's what the comedian is doing. Throw in some transitions and you've got yourself a set. Jim Gaffigan is amazing at beating a topic to death and putting a lot of bits together for a massive chunk.

 

Basically though, it's all about being novel, and not letting the audience know what you are up to. 

there are good comedians that are more anecdotal like doug stanhope, and you hear their interesting take on whatever the subject is.

there are also good comedians that tell one liners, like hedberg or anthony jesilnick, and that's pretty funny. Those comedians have great timing, which is an art, but different from telling a long story and keeping people interested.

there are comedians like richard pryor or george carlin, whose albums contain skits mixed in with anecdotal stories (like richard pryor's mudbone stories or going to africa stories).

theres a lot of different styles out there. i don't know if theres any comedians that really tell the kind of jokes like "a guy goes to a genie and gets three wishes"

clattymine - 


Jeselnick tells jokes, but they do have their shock value.



Most comedians these days do tell stories more than jokes, but that's the way it goes.



I know I’ll get crushed for this, but I was listening to some Richard Prior just yesterday and he tells jokes like a lot of comedians do these days.  Short bits with a few little punch lines and one big one at the end.  And what I was listening to did not hold up over time.  I like his movies more than his stand up (but I’m guessing I’m in the minority).


 


Comedians that drop a lot of short jokes with no larger story arc are Ok, but lose my attention quicker than a long story with several punch lines along the way.


You're not going to get blasted at all. That (I think) is the generally accepted view of his career. Most of his stuff outside of Live at the Sunset Strip wan't that great, and it doesn't hold up that well. However, his style was massively influencial, and I'm sure at the time he was much more hilarious. Not everyone holds up over time, even the greats.