: What is Meta-Humor?



: What is Meta-Humor?

In: Other

“Meta-humor” is a joke that self references. The joke is about something in the structure of the joke itself. For instance, a sign on a wall that says “No use of thumbtacks is allowed in this building” which is fastened to said wall with thumbtacks is a meta joke. “A blind man walked into a bar and said OUCH!” is as well.

Any time you see the word meta, it’s referring to something that is aware of it’s own subject matter. That’s a bit difficult to imagine I know. It’s easier to explain through examples.

For instance, whereas most movies have their own self contained universes, the Deadpool series of movies uses meta knowledge. Characters in Infinity Wars don’t act as if they know they’re in a movie. If Infinity Wars was real and someone went up to Iron Man to say they loved his movies, Iron man wouldn’t know what they were talking about. *We* know Iron man is a fictional character played by Robert Downey Jr, but that’s due to our meta knowledge about the movie. Deadpool on the other hand is a character who has meta knowledge that he’s in a movie. He breaks the [4th wall](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_wall) sometimes to address the audience directly.

Meta jokes reference something outside the joke itself to acknowledge aspects about the joke or joke telling in general. “A guy walks into a bar and says ‘Ouch!'” is a meta joke because it takes a classic “guy walks into the bar” format and makes a joke about the format itself. Contrast this with “A horse walks into a bar and the bartender says ‘Why the long face?'” That joke is contained in the situation it describes. There is no outside or *meta* knowledge referenced by the joke.