A joke is a show of humour in which words are used to make people laugh within a particular and well-defined plot context and are typically not intended to be taken seriously. It takes the form of a plot, typically with conversation, and finishes in a punch line. It is in the punch line where the viewer becomes conscious that a second, contradictory sense is in the plot. A joke or other word play, such as irony or sarcasm, conceptual incompatibility, nonsense, or other means, may be used to achieve this.
Jokes benefit from brevity, providing little more detail than is required to set the stage for the punchline at the end, is commonly believed. The atmosphere is implicitly understood in the case of riddle jokes or one-liners, leaving only the discussion and punchline to be verbalized. However, it may also be a means of comedy to subvert these and other traditional guidelines; the shaggy dog story is in a class of its own as an anti-joke; although framed as a joke, it includes a long drawn-out plot of time, place and character, rambles through several needless inclusions and eventually struggles to produce a punchline. Jokes are a type of comedy, but a joke is not all humor.
A phrase used by Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire in 2002 to summarize one of the findings of his study is the "world's funniest joke". He created a website for his experiment, called LaughLab, where individuals could rate and upload jokes. The aim of the research was to discover the joke among various cultures, populations and nations that had the widest appeal and comprehension.
A mischievous trick played on others is a practical joke, or hoax, usually causing the victim to feel humiliation, perplexity, frustration, or annoyance. A "practical joker" or "prankster" is called a person who performs a practical joke. Gag, rib, jape, or shenanigan, are other words for practical jokes. Instead of being talked into turning over money or other valuables, practical jokes vary from trust games or hoaxes in that the victim finds out, or is let in on the prank. In general, practical jokes are lighthearted and without lasting effect; they seek to make the victim feel humbled or stupid, but not embarrassed or victimized.
A practical joke is"practical" and, in contrast to a spoken or written joke, it consists of someone doing something that is physical. The joker who is setting up and executing the practical joke, for example, might hang a bucket of water over a doorway and rig the bucket using pulleys so that the water is spilled when the door opens. Then the joker would wait for the victim to come through the doorway and the bucket of water would drench him. In practical jokes, such as fake blood, chewing-gum spiders, burning cigarettes, stink bombs, costumes, whoopee cushions, and Chinese finger traps, artifacts will appear. As long as a person wishes, a practical joke may be as long. It should not be short-lived.