1 See Lauter (ed) 1964

2 The multidisciplinary HUMOR, International Journal Of Humor Research has been published since 1988.

3 See McGhee 1980 for the development of humour in children, and Brownell & Gardner for some neuropsychological aspects of humour.

4 Woody Allen and Jackie Mason also come to mind here.

5 That old folk saying ‘Laughter is the best medicine’ has now become a form of alternative therapy. See, for example, Holden 1993. Also note the recent increase of laughter clubs, a phenomenon originating in India.

6 See Hillenbrand 1995.

7 See Dolgopolova 1983 for a collection of jokes from the USSR.

8 See Pilger 1996 and Hilbreth 2002.

9 See Christen 1998, and Janik (ed) 1998.

10 See Husband 1988.

11 I draw on Milroy 1980 here.

12 This model is two-dimensional and static. To more accurately represent the connections it needs to be three-dimensional and mobile.

13 See Willis 2003 for full transcript and discussion.

14 See Schutz 1995 for a blunt discussion of  ‘political correctness’ and humour.

15 The death toll subsequently rose to 21.

16 She was re-instated in the parliamentary party in March 2004. In July 2004 she was re-selected by her constituency party in Congleton, Cheshire to stand again at the general election.

17 This is not to draw a picture of Chinese people as innocents. Chinese humour also, unsurprisingly, deals in stereotypes (see Kowallis 1986); further, after the attacks on the USA in September 2001 the following joke about the event was in circulation in Shanghai: Bush asked the attackers why they destroyed the World Trade Centre, to which they replied, ’Sorry, there’s no World Trade Centre on these maps of ours. They must be out of date.’ This was a reference to the US excuse for bombing the Chinese embassy in Belgrade during the Balkans conflict, which killed a number of Chinese (Groffman 2001).