THE JOKE FIEND
Numerous non humorous
RANGE: The Joke Fiend mainly works men’s clubs and variety shows, occasionally opens for rock acts, but is often to be found in bars, restaurants, and living rooms; wherever more than one or two are gathered together to tell funny stories (or “cute ones” as they are often called), the Joke Fiend performs his malevolent schtick.
HABITS: The Joke Fiend literally possesses its poor victim, amateur and professional alike, and makes him tell jokes. The creature is particularly remarkable for its lack of a sense of humor, as should be obvious from its name. Its idea of a “hot one” is to coax the social misfit to tell a joke completely inappropriate to the company: Ikey and Izzy jokes at bar mitzvahs, Rastus and Mandy jokes at Urban League cocktail parties, Pat and Mike stories at the Police Brotherhood meetings, and jokes with any sex at all in them to Ms. magazine editors.
HISTORY: When asked by noted comedian Henny Youngman to explain its origins, the Joke Fiend (for once) refused to speak—invoking, we are to suppose, a gag rule. The Joke Fiend is believed to have been first sighted in America by Washington Irving during a trip to the Catskill Mountains in 1838. Mr. Irving was researching his Rip Van Winkle. The Joke Fiend was playing the Lounge.
SPOTTER’S TIPS: Wherever squirt flowers, light-up bow ties, hand
buzzers, whoopee cushions, dribble glasses or Shriners’ conventions can be found, there also is the Joke Fiend.
*J. F., corny as Kansas, visits Henny Youngman for good material.