Lightbulb joke

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A lightbulb joke is a joke that asks how many people of a certain group are needed to change, replace, or screw in a light bulb. Generally, the punch line answer highlights a stereotype of the target group. There are numerous versions of the lightbulb joke satirizing a wide range of cultures, beliefs and occupations.[1][2]

The original formulations of the joke, popular in the late 1960s and the 1970s, were used to insult the intelligence of Poles.[3][4] For instance:

Although lightbulb jokes tend to be derogatory in tone, the people targeted by them may take pride in the stereotypes expressed and are often themselves the jokes' originators.[5] Lightbulb jokes applied to subgroups can be used to ease tensions between them.[6]


Many versions of the joke are puns on the words "change"[7] or "screw":[8]

Lightbulb jokes may be responses to current events, particularly those related to energy and political power.[12] For example, the lightbulb may not be changed at all due to ongoing power outages.[13] The Village Voice held a $200 lightbulb joke contest around the time of the Iran hostage crisis, with the winning joke being:[14]


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