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New Yorker Cover Controversy46:33
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Stop Me If You've Heard This (Cover detail.)
Stop Me If You've Heard This (Cover detail.)

OK, here you go: Skeleton walks into a bar and says, "Bartender, give me a beer - and a mop. Har, har!" And we're in the world of jokes. But where did jokes come from, and what makes them work?

Jim Holt has gone back to the ancient Greeks and into the work of Kant and Schopenhauer and Freud and Henny Youngman and Lily Tomlin and Sarah Silverman to dig out the history and philosophy of jokes.

This hour On Point: the secret life of jokes, and, we ask, how about that New Yorker cover of Barack and Michelle Obama? Is that funny?Guests:

Scott Stantis, editorial cartoonist for the Birmingham News

Clarence Page, columnist for the Chicago Tribune

Carolyn Marvin, professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School of Communication

This program aired on July 15, 2008.

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