An in-joke, also known as an inside joke or in joke, is a joke whose humour is clear only to people who are in a particular social group, occupation, or other community of common understanding. It is an esoteric joke which is humorous only to those who know the situation behind it.
In-jokes may exist within a small social clique, such as a group of friends, or extend to an entire profession such as the film or professional wrestling industries, or a particular sporting endeavour.
In-jokes are cryptic allusions to shared common ground that act as triggers; only those who have shared the common ground provide an appropriate response. An in-joke works to build community, sometimes at the expense of outsiders. Part of the power of an in-joke is that its audience knows that there are those who do not understand the joke.
An in-joke can also be used as a subtext, where people in the know may find humour with something not explicitly spoken. They may even apologise for doing so to outsiders, directly or indirectly stating that what they were laughing at was an in-joke.
In the computer industry some computer programmers hide in-jokes within the code of software in the form of Easter eggs, i.e., hidden content that can be revealed only by following a specific sequence of inputs.
The Jargon File is a glossary of hacker slang, much of which is in-jokes or is based on in-jokes.
Many TV shows, like The Simpsons and Family Guy, insert numerous in-jokes per episode, often referring to other TV shows, movies, or even self-referencing the show itself.
The 2009 movie Star Trek contained multiple references to the 1960s Star Trek TV series, with the references constituting in-jokes for those familiar with the series.
Noticeable in many animated films is A113, a classroom used by graphic design students at CalArts, whose alumni include John Lasseter and Brad Bird.
- ^ Randy Y. Hirokawa and Marshall Scott Poole (1996). Communication and Group Decision Making. Sage Publications Inc. pp. 96. ISBN 076190462X.
- ^ Paul Brooks Duff (2001). Who Rides the Beast?: Prophetic Rivalry and the Rhetoric of Crisis in the Churches of the Apocalypse. Oxford University Press. pp. 81. ISBN 019513835X.
- ^ Ben Tousey (2003). Acting Your Dreams: Use Acting Techniques to Interpret Your Dreams. Ben Tousey. pp. 118–119. ISBN 1414005423.
- Humor research
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