Lately, I’ve been thinking about lawyer jokes. Over the years, I’ve heard some funny ones, others not so funny. Some of the best ones have come from my fellow lawyers.
One time, a person I had just met chose to “entertain” me with his favorite lawyer joke. It wasn’t very funny, and it was rather mean-spirited as well. I ignored it and went on with the conversation. In a way, I wish I’d had the guts to say to him, “So, do you tell ‘black guy’ jokes to African-Americans you’ve just met?”
As I’ve put more years of practicing law under my belt, I’ve found that I’m less fond of lawyer jokes. In fact, I find myself putting them into the same category of humor that makes fun of stereotypes: ethnic jokes, gay/lesbian jokes, etc. The key similarity to all of this type of humor is that it uses unfair assumptions about the person or profession that is the target of the joke.
The next time you’re tempted to tell a joke, think carefully about it. There are plenty of funny jokes that do not denigrate people or professions that you can use. There’s no need to tell lawyer jokes, doctor jokes, Italian jokes, or anything like that. George Carlin made a brilliant career out of telling jokes about language and other oddities.
And the next time you hear someone telling a joke like that, have a little gumption and let the joke-teller know that you don’t approve.