chapter  34
Genres of Humor
ByVilly Tsakona
Pages 15

This chapter proposes taxonomy of the genres of humor, potentially including all of them. It presents and critically discusses the already existing taxonomies that distinguish between different kinds of humorous mechanisms or functions, as well as between texts where humor is distributed, and hence functions, in different ways. Early traditional classifications of humor are based on the levels of linguistic analysis and use a limited number of genres as illustrative examples. Another common type of taxonomy of humor begins with the distinction between canned jokes and conversational humor, which is spontaneous, emerges from the interaction it appears in, and can hardly be reproduced and understood in other contexts. In contemporary postmodern societies, the adapting and transformative potential of genres seems to gain prominence. Generic conventions are creatively violated and genre-mixing or genre hybridization is common practice among speakers. The chapter explains what happens when generic conventions are recontextualized.