>My thread, then, is the varied (and changing) contexts in which Irish jokes
>have been 'popular'. For example, has the Irish joke been a feature of the
>American comedy scene and 'bar culture'? My understanding is that Polish
>immigrants to America have been the main focus for ridicule. What about
>Scotland, England, Wales, Canada, etc ... how have the Irish (and perhaps
>Celtic peoples generally) been represented in terms of (social and
>political) satire? Surely someone must have written a piece on this.
I'm not aware of any studies of the Irish as the butt of jokes, but the standard way they're referred to is as the least intelligent unit in a given group of people. The obvious example is the 'There was an Englishman, Irishman and Scotsman...' style of joke, where the English and Scots men do/say sensible things and the Irishman does or says the ridiculous thing. It probably stems from the perception in England that the Irish were a backward, underdeveloped, unintelligent culture compared to the rest of the British Isles. I hasten to add that I don't subscribe to that view, before another flame-war starts!
I don't recall any jokes in England of which Scots are the subject; the only one that springs to mind is actually denegrating Geordies rather than Scots. England is probably the country in the British Isles that is least able to laugh at itself, although I don't think Wales is too far behind them sometimes.