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.