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Yo Mama Jokes

Yo mama jokes are said to have made their debut in the early days of slave trading referred to as the dozens. The dozens were sets of 12 slaves who were physically or mentally handicapped either by nature or by torture from slave owners. They would be auctioned as a cheap dozen, the lowest form of slave trade. Playing the dozens refers to a verbal contest in which two people will use often ill-natured and sometimes amusing trash talk, with each exchange raising the stakes until one of them has run out of things to say. Yo mama jokes were often the most popular because of the taboo involved with slandering the mother of an adversary.

Yo mama jokes gained popularity in the 1990’s through hip hop and rap music lyrics and sketch comedy television shows that featured exchanges between people of many races and cultures, usually portrayed in a comical manner. Although yo mama jokes are typically considered predominantly African American humor, many cultures have adapted their own versions and have added to the now long-standing tradition of playing the dozens. Since then, yo mama jokes have spanned over all popular media including books, magazines, motion pictures, and the internet.

Examples of yo mama jokes are often very clever and can range from silly and humorous to the very vulgar and insulting. Many times yo mama jokes will target attributes such as weight, intelligence, height, attractiveness, appearance, or personality traits. The more complex and elaborate the joke is, the longer it may take for the adversary to come back with a better retort. Some of the more family friendly varieties of yo mama jokes include: “yo mama’s so stupid, she thought a quarterback was a refund” and “yo mama so fat when she got hit by a bus, she said, ‘who threw that rock?’"