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A group of Irish jokes originate from the time Ireland was under British colonial rule. The "Irish joke" originates in the simian portrayal of Irish people in British comic magazines of the mid-late 19th century - depicting the Irish as stupid apes given to agrarian and alcohol-fuelled violence against their benevolent and tolerant British masters. Punch magazine was a particular notorious purveyor of this type of comedy. In the context of the 'Laissez Faire' policy of the Great Famine and the following mass displacement of the following three decades, a great many Irish view the Irish joke as, at best, offensive and, at worst, as similar to "nigger" jokes against blacks or holocaust jokes targeted at Jews. All these forms of humour have, at their core, the debasement of their subjects to the point of dehumanising them so that malevolent acts against them are less offensive - or even justifiable.
- Christie Davies (1989). "The Irish Joke as a Social Phenomenon". In John Durant and Jonathan Miller. Laughing Matters: A Serious Look at Humour. London: Longmans. ISBN 978-0-470-21185-4.
- John Ayto, Ian Crofton, Paul Cavill (2005). Brewer's Britain & Ireland. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 580. ISBN 978-0-304-35385-9.