Collections of Jokes Do Not Win Pulitzer Prizes

A short story though it may be funny is not a joke.

The last line of a joke is the punchline.

The last name of a story has no name.

You remember a punchline.

You do not remember the last line of a story.

You may remember the first —- I still remember the opening lines of David Copperfield and A Tale of Two Cities — but I do not remember the last.

No one does.

You tell people jokes.

You do not tell short stories.

Short stories have an author.

Jokes do not.

No one knows who the first person was to tell a joke that does the rounds.

Jokes are short.

Short stories, except those of Lydia Davis, are comparatively long.

Collections of jokes do not win Pulitzer prizes.

Collections of short stories do.

I like them both.

There is one way short stories and jokes are alike: the good ones you like to hear or read over and over again..

12 thoughts on “Collections of Jokes Do Not Win Pulitzer Prizes

  1. Okay. Here’s a poser then. We do tell stories (that are short) all the time. Is a short story limited to the formalised written sort? And if so, what do we call the oral version? We went on a trip in 2009. A man in Wales told us a wonderful story about his encounter (indirectly) with Margaret Thatcher. It was sort of a cross between a story and a joke. It definitely had a punchline. But it seemed to be a true story.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. An entertaining and interesting reflection. I was, quite coincidentally, thinking about this just an hour ago in connection with my own stories. Especially when they are very short I like to put in, if not a punchline, at least some kind of surprise at the end of them. It kind of make them feel more complete, and (at least I think) makes the reader leave satisfied, somehow. I still wouldn’t call them jokes (maybe because they’re not really designed to make people laugh), but they do definitely venture into the same realms. I was thinking I should do that more often. Maybe this is a sign… πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The best of your posts are accomplished pieces of Flash Fiction: tight little stories with the equivalent of a punchline at the end. And you are blessed with your illustrative skills. No one draws like you πŸ™‚ If my humble post has stirred some sort of revelation in you, then I am honoured πŸ™‚


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