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Although, in Ireland there used be a tradition of telling such jokes about a Kerryman, someone from County Kerry. This tradition has largely fallen away. The Kerryman may be presented as from an allegedly backward area, or alternatively presented quite differently as a cute hoor (especially in the context of Gaelic football, in which the Kerry GAA team has been more successful than any other in the history of the game). The origin of the Kerry joke lies in the Celtic tradition that views warriors as coming from the North (e.g. Vikings), farmers from the East (e.g. Ukraine), intelligentsia from the West (Ireland - the island of saints and scholars) and fools from the South. In the Irish medieval/early modern context, this gives us the Ulster warrior tradition, farming land in Leinster, Connaught being the last big bastion of Celtic Irishness (knowledge, etc.) and the Kerry (and Cork) jokes.
However, the Irish joke has more sinister origins. The Irish joke originates in the simian portrayal of Irish people in English 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 English 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 negroes or "gas oven" humour 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.
Some[who?] hold that Irish jokes have recently been reclaimed by the Irish themselves and reversed to ridicule the (usually English) joke teller, e.g.
- Q: Why are Irish jokes so simplistic?
- A: So Englishmen can understand them.
- A Kerryman emigrated from Ireland to England, thereby increasing the average IQ of both countries. (A reference to Will Rogers phenomenon, which refers to a Kerryman as even less smart than an average Irishman but the real joke is that it implies an Englishman is even less brainy.)
 See also
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (January 2009)|
 Further reading
- 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.