The most common example of anti-joke is "Why did the chicken cross the road?" with the answer, "To get to the other side." The punchline is intentionally mundane. An example is:
"What do you get when you cross a muffin with chocolate chips?
"A chocolate-chip muffin."
The no soap radio joke, normally involves 3 people. Two people who know what the joke is about, and the third who is not in the know, or "the victim". The person delivering the punch line is deliberately unfunny but when the punchline is delivered the two people in the know react as if they have been told a very funny story, to pressure the person hearing the joke into pretending to find it funny. The true punch line comes if the "victim" also reacts as if the story was funny.
The shaggy dog story involves telling an extremely long joke with an intricate (and sometimes horribly grisly) back story and surreal or incredibly repetitive plotline, but ending the story with either a weak spoonerism (e.g.'Better Nate than lever!'), or abruptly stopping with no punchline at all. Versions of these jokes may take up to several minutes to tell. The Aristocrats is an adult version of this formula.
Other anti-jokes involve unexpectedly blunt and graphic punchlines shock humor or dark humor — which often reference death, infanticide and terminal illness. For example
"What did the blind deaf orphan get for Christmas?
"The police. I'm afraid there's been a serious road traffic accident; your partner is in intensive care."
Why did the boy drop his ice cream?
Because he was hit by a bus.
In writing, it is common to put a period after the punchline of the anti-joke rather than an exclamation mark to reflect its dry and superficially non-humorous tone. Anti-jokes may rely on deconstruction of the joke, deriving comedy from the unexpected or inappropriate use of technical or circumlocutional language (crossing into meta-joke):
"Three blind mice walk into a bar. They are unaware of their surroundings, so to derive humour from their predicament would be exploitative."- Bill Bailey
Anti-humor in stand-up comedy
Anti-humor jokes are often associated with exaggeratedly bad stand-up comedians. One legitimately successful stand-up comedian, Andy Kaufman, had his own unique brand of anti-humor, quasi-surrealist acts coupled with performance art.
Ted Chippington's act contained non-jokes delivered in a Midlands monotone. Jimmy Carr is noted for his anti-humor style, anti-jokes being told with a straight face and very precise delivery. Bill Bailey is also noted for his particular brand of anti/meta-humor. John Thomson's stand up character, Bernard Right-on, would deliver set-ups to un-PC jokes (in the style of Bernard Manning), but confound the audience with tolerant, deliberately unamusing punchlines, eg. "A white man, a black man and an Indian walk into a bar. What a wonderful example of an integrated society".
Alternative comedy, among its other aspects, parodies the traditional idea of the joke as a form of humor. Andy Kaufman saw himself as a practitioner of anti-humor. Other comedians known for their anti-humor are Ted Chippington, Jimmy Carr, Neil Hamburger, Tim Heidecker, Norm Macdonald, Bill Bailey, and James Quall.
Subversions of traditional jokes
These anti-jokes rely on using widely known jokes which the audience is likely to have heard before. Instead of ending the joke in the usual humorous way, a mundane substitute is used, resulting in an anticlimax.
Q: Waiter! What's this fly doing in my soup?
A: Oh, I'm terribly sorry sir, I’ll replace this with a fresh bowl of soup and I’ll have a word with the manager to see if we can deduct a sum from your bill for the inconvenience we have caused you. (Usually 'the backstroke'.)
Q: What's worse than finding a worm in an apple?
A: Rape. (Usually 'Finding half a worm'.)
I was sitting next to a man with jelly in one ear and custard in the other, so I turned to him and said "Are you a trifle deaf?" and he said "no, I'm mentally ill as it happens" ~ Paul Merton
Some jokes derive humor from wordplay and puns. They are subverted through substituting the pun with an equivalent phrase with no such linguistic device, creating a cognitive dissonance with the superficial resemblance to the original.
Q: When is a door not a door?
A: When it is half-open. (usually 'When it is ajar')
Anti-humor sometimes manifests itself in poking fun at bad humor by the way of parody.[clarification needed] An example is Jim's Journal, a comic strip by Scott Dikkers, co-founder of The Onion, which has no traditional punchlines.
Other jokes rely on parts of a joke told in the wrong order or parts of different jokes told together, creating an effect similar to non-sequitur.
Nonsense jokes lack intrinsic meaning, and become funny simply because they are absurd, as in a nonsense riddle from the 1930s:-
Q: What is the difference between a duck?
A: One of its legs are both the same.