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  • Simon Munnery: Who owns a joke? Not me, you or James Joyce | Stage

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See the news Simon Munnery: Who owns a joke? Not me, you or James Joyce | Stage from Source Guardian on 14/03/2019 has been updated to day with the theme on feedixo.

Simon Munnery: Who owns a joke? Not me, you or James Joyce | Stage

‘Went to a funeral the other day. Caught the wreath.”That’s my new joke. It’s been a good year. But is it mine? Is it really? It came to me – I’ll say that much – from the mysterious source of the inexplicable. I remember exactly when. I was walking through the cemetery on the way to Sean Hughes’s funeral. I told it to someone at the wake, they laughed, and as a consequence I have continued telling it ever since. Like a piece of golden fruit dangling from a low-hanging branch it seemed to me: a beauty, a classic, just waiting there in the ether to be plucked.But surely someone had stumbled on it before? I did a little research but found no trace, and reasoned anyway: is rediscovering the wheel a bad thing if the wheel has been forgotten? I’d never heard it before.FacebookTwitterPinterest Creator of a ‘disappointed bridge’ … James Joyce. Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty Images Can you own a joke? Only by telling it, making it funny. It’s useless on its own: it needs a teller and a minimum of one listener. Fewer than that, possibly, if the teller can bear listening to themselves. But to be transmitted, to survive, it needs a listener who is also a teller: jokes are a kind of currency, only really existing as they are passed on. Pass it on. And generally they are passed on author-less, unlike say a poem or a song. And what is their fate? To be told, spread, become old-hat, forgotten, rediscovered, told again, over and over, eventually perhaps subsumed into the language, only a well-worn phrase remaining, almost devoid of meaning: “Oooh matron”, “Take my wife.”I was in a bar in Australia once – more than once – when the man I’d been talking to raised his pint...

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See the news Simon Munnery: Who owns a joke? Not me, you or James Joyce | Stage from Source Guardian on 14/03/2019 has been updated to day with the theme on feedixo.