Anti-Joke Chicken

Anti-Joke Chicken

Part of a series on Advice Animals. [View Related Entries]

Updated May 31, 2012 at 01:34PM EDT by Brucker.

Added Apr 29, 2011 at 01:54PM EDT by Don.

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Anti-Joke Chicken is an image macro series featuring an image of a hen accompanied by a top line of text that sounds like the introduction of a joke, but the bottom line provides an unexpected anticlimax. The chicken is centered within a typical advice animal starburst background.


Anti-humor[1] existed well before the Internet was invented. While anti-humor comes in many forms, one of the most common is the one used in this meme: a joke-like setup followed by a non-punchline. This forms a sort of meta-joke in which ironic humor is found in the lack of any standard form of humor. One of the most well-known anti-humor jokes is the classic:

Q:Why did the chicken cross the road?
A:To get to the other side!

Dating back at least to the mid-1800s, this joke contains no inherent humor within the punchline, and is likely a partial inspiration for this meme.[2]

The above is the original photo on which the image macro was based. It was taken by the owner of the hen, professional ophthalmic photographer Marshall E. Tyler,[3] at his home in North Carolina.


A Reddit thread was created on February 20th, 2011 called “It’s the anti-joke chicken!!!!” and linked to an imgur page containing four derivatives. The poster claimed that they found the images on 4chan:

I wish I had created this meme, but I must give credit where credit is due: these images were found deep in the ugly bowels of /b/.[4]

Anti-joke threads have been popular on 4chan for several years, and the earliest 4chan archive thread dates back to June 30th, 2007.[5] The first Anti-Joke Chicken image on Quickmeme was created on February 22nd, 2011.[6]

Notable Examples


Search Interest

Search queries for “anti joke chicken” had the first spike in March of 2011.

[1]Wikipedia – Anti-humor

[2]Wikipedia – Why did the chicken cross the road?

[3]Marshall E. Tyler, CRA, FOPS

[4]Reddit – It’s the anti-joke chicken!!!! / 2/20/2011

[5]4chan Archive – ITT antihumor / 6/30/07 (Warning: some NSFW content)

[6]Quickmeme – Anti-Joke Chicken / 2/22/2011


Recent Videos 3 total

Recent Images 88 total

Top Comments


I think the analysis of this is missing one of the most important factors: “Why did the chicken cross the road?” is the original anti-joke. It’s a classic riddle that has a joke-like setup, followed by a non-funny response, and in a bizarre twist, it’s that non-funniness that is the source of a new, deeper level of ironic humor. While I of course do not know if the originators of this meme intended to reference that phenomenon, it seems to me to be incredibly likely.

Somebody add this, or I’ll be forced to do it myself, and accordance with my writing style, it will probably be a seven-paragraph subsection of the entry.


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