Talking Back: An Analysis of Parrot Jokes

Greg Kelley (University of Guelph-Humber)

Since ancient times humans have been fascinated with parrots for their faculty of speech, from the storytelling parrot of the Sanskrit Suka Saptati to the exotic imported parrots that dazzled courts of Chinese Emperors to the sailors’ companions whose salty locutions were as colorful as their plumage. In the panoply of parrots in folklore and popular culture, some are helpful, clever agents like advisers to kings’ courts or the darling pets of pirates, others mischief makers and taboo-breakers. Situated within that historical and cultural context, this paper analyzes a corpus of contemporary jokes featuring wisecracking and surprisingly percipient parrots who always get the last word.

Part of 05-02 Folk Humor, De- and Re-Centered, Friday, October 14, 10:30 am–12:30 pm