The European Journal of Humour Research

Vol 4, No 1 (2016)

The lawyer as animal in American lawyer jokes

Anna T. Litovkina


In the early 1980s a new joke cycle appeared in the USA, and has continued to flourish ever since. This is the lawyer joke cycle. The greatest anger and irritation in lawyer jokes is directed at the cost of lawsuits, the high income of lawyers, as well as their greed and stinginess, ignorance and skillful manipulation, corruption and dishonesty. In American lawyer jokes there is a long tradition of comparing lawyers to different animals, generally ones which are considered dangerous, poisonous or sly all animals which have very negative connotations. It is not surprising that, among the parallels, one can find predators of different kinds, scavengers and parasites. The animals most frequently brought up in jokes as parallels to lawyers are sharks, vultures, tigers, snakes, foxes, ticks, leeches, and rats. The goal of this study is to concentrate only on a small segment of American lawyer jokes, namely, jokes in which lawyers are compared to animals.



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