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Arrg, this's been driving me nuts!

So on the way to Steak 'n Shake, inmysocks told the pirate joke with the steering wheel on his crotch for the five hundredth time, and wondered why on earth it was funny. I mean, sure it's a classic, but we've all heard it a million times. Then I remembered there's the same issue with quoting movies and tv shows we like. Again, where does the joy come from? Some of the best laughs I get are derived from a well placed reference to something I liked.

And then I realized, that's it. It's not the joke, it's the concept of the joke. inmysocks could've said "pirate steering crotch" and gotten a similar effect. It was a good joke, and we remember it that way. More importantly, we like to remember it because it brings back that feeling of the first time we saw it. I've seen it we people make Holy Grail references - the movie was lousy and the jokes were not presented overly well; the ideal of the jokes are amplified and made better through retelling. Firefly's similar: we loved it, and referencing it brings up that feeling.

So if the idea of something is funny, then referencing the idea is funny too, right? If I got a transcript of conversations around here, I'm sure very little would make sense without the needed base knowledge.