The Internet has long been a resource for the circulation of humorous ideas and jokes. Countless web-sites are devoted to the collection of Internet humour, and every day thousands of emails cross the world containing the text of humorous articles, or jokes about current events.
"Internet humor" is distinguishable from "Humor on the Internet" through the concept of ownership. There are definite examples of humor restricted by copyright law on the internet, examples include the cartoons of Dilbert or the newspaper columns of Dave Barry. "Internet humor" is regarded as that which belongs to the public domain.
Internet humor may also be regarded as humor that specifically relies on characteristics belonging to the Internet, and the "geek" or "hacker" humor. That is, humor that would not exist if not for the Internet.
Longstanding and widely recognized examples of such humor are:
- The Internet Oracle (formerly The Usenet Oracle) at cgi.cs.indiana.edu/~oracle/index.cgi
- The Jargon file (also known as The (New) Hacker's Dictionary )
- The cult of Kibology
- The Darwin Awards at www.DarwinAwards.com
The concept of authorship with regard to Internet humor is very difficult to define. Frequently a "list" type joke may get started but within a few generations of distribution it evolves beyond recognition. A classic example is the well-known "You have two cows" joke - after circulating in more primitive media throughout the 1980s, it seems to have first appeared on the Internet in 1993 with simple descriptions of communism, capitalism and socialism. However, the version presented within the Wikipedia has expanded to include all forms of government, regional variations, philosophical systems, and even art movements. Attempting to define an "author" of the joke hence becomes impossible, and it becomes a publicly owned resource, simply because no-one could validly claim legitimate ownership.
Though the Internet has allowed the global explosion of collectively-authored comedy, its precursors existed on bulletin boards, corporate messaging systems, and even through such low-tech mechanisms as the facsimile since at least the 1970s.
- Lightbulb jokes
- You have two cows
- Honor system virus
- Shit happens
- Evil Overlord List
- The Accidental Tourist pictures
- Huumor.Com - Online joke collection. Oldest jokes from 1993, side online since 1st April 2000.
- Funny Video Clips - A collection of funny videos, pictures and flash files.
- HarHarLinks - An archive of really funny links.
- PicPop - Funny pictures and avatars.
- Funniest jokes and pictures - Large collection of funny jokes and pictures
- Funniest Pictures Network
- Prague TV's Funny Pictures Archive - a collection hundreds of funny pictures
- Fun With Headlines - A site that has fun with real news headlines with word play.