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"Joke" is a comedy sketch written and performed by English comedians Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis. It was performed live during Atkinson's 1980 tour of the United Kingdom. A live recording was made at the Grand Opera House in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on 19 or 20 September 1980 and released as the last track on Atkinson's live comedy album, Live in Belfast.
At the start of the sketch, Rowan Atkinson's character tells Richard Curtis' character he's "got a joke". He goes on to explain, "It's one of those ones where I ask a question and you say 'I don't know, dot, dot, dot, dot, dot, dot'." Rowan begins the joke by saying, "I say, I say, I say, what is the secret of great comedy?" Richard replies by literally saying, "I don't know, dot, dot, dot, dot, dot, dot." After laughing at his own wit, Richard tells the annoyed Rowan that he'll "do it again." Rowan repeats the question and Richard replies, "I don't know. What is the secret to great comedy?" However, before Richard can finish his reply, Rowan interrupts, "timing." The point of the joke is that Rowan deliberately got his timing wrong when saying that timing is the secret to great comedy; however, Richard does not understand the joke. Bewildered by Richard's stupidity, Rowan enquires, "But didn't you see?" "Sorry, was it a visual joke?" Richard replies, still confused. After trying the joke a third time, Richard still does not understand the irony of the joke. Annoyed by Richard, Rowan asks, "Don't you think that's a clever joke?" to which Richard replies, "Clever... no. Joke... no." Disheartened by his joke falling flat with Richard, he claims "it was very funny when Michael told it," then makes the excuse that his timing might be out to which Richard replies, "It could be other factors like the complete absence of anything funny in the joke." Rowan proclaims, "It's so difficult telling jokes," before suddenly exclaiming that he has another joke that is "far more straightforward" to which Richard replies, "As long as it's funny, I don't mind."
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