August 16 – Joe Miller's Joke Day

Posted on August 16, 2013

Have you ever seen a YouTube video of Joe Miller telling one of his famous jokes?

No, no you have not.

First, Joseph or Josias Miller, of the Joe Miller's Joke Day, lived in the late 1600s and early 1700s. He was a very popular and, I presume, humorous, actor who performed in London. So...he lived long before YouTube and motion-picture cameras and even sound recording were invented.

Second, the jokes in the best-selling Joe Miller's Joke Book (first published in 1739) weren't necessarily his jokes! Really, there was no direct connection between the actor and the book—someone just cleverly slapped a popular actor's name on a joke book he wanted to sell! Since Miller had died on this date the year before the book was published, he couldn't complain about someone else profiting from his name!

And I guess the book was profitable! The original had 247 jokes, but it has been revised and expanded and reprinted for more than 200 years, including more than 1,500 jokes.

Of course, you can easily celebrate the day by reading ANY joke book—or looking up a joke to tell on the internet! Here's one I like:

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson were going camping. They pitched their tent under the stars and, after a good meal and a cozy time roasting marshmallows over the coals of the almost-spent campfire, they went to sleep. Sometime in the middle of the night Holmes woke his friend up and said: "Watson, look up at the sky, and tell me what you see."
Watson replied: "I see millions and millions of stars."
Holmes said: "And what do you deduce from that?"
Watson pondered a few moments and then replied: "Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, I can see that God is all-powerful and that we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you?"
Holmes sat up and sharply said: "Watson, you idiot, it means that somebody stole our tent!"

Here's a not-politically-correct joke that I think is funny. It's not politically correct because it perpetuates the stereotype that athletic people aren't very intelligent—but many (most?) are.

But I still laugh when I hear the joke.

Once upon a time there was a high school football player who was considered a dumb jock. He got so tired of his reputation as a dumb jock that he went to his cousin for help. He said, “I want to date someone who doesn't know my rep, someone from another school. I know I can convince someone new that I'm smart.”

The jock's cousin arranged a blind date, and the jock thought long and hard about how to convince his date that he was smart. That day his little sister bragged that she had memorized all fifty of the state capitals. He thought that task was perfect, and he worked really hard for a week on memorizing the state capitals.

This is it,” he told himself on the evening of the date. The jock made sure he was well groomed and outfitted, and he washed and vacuumed his car. He practiced as many of the state capitals as he could during the ride to his blind date's house, and he proudly told himself that he had them down pat. The jock introduced himself to his date and complimented her on her pretty dress. Soon he found himself staring into her beautiful eyes across the table at an Italian restaurant. They had ordered their food, and there was a lull in the conversation.

I learned all fifty of the state capitals,” the jock said to his date. She looked surprised but smiled and nodded. “I really did,” he said. “Go ahead; test me! Name a state, and I'll tell you the capital.”

The jock's date said she believed him and didn't need to test him, but the jock insisted, so she finally asked, “Okay, what's the capital of Kansas?”

Capital K!” he said. “Ask me another!”

Also on this date:

Plan ahead:

Here are my Pinterest pages on August holidayshistorical anniversaries in August, and August birthdays.

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