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The evolution of your mother jokes

By John Lopes, Staff Writer

The first recordings of the classic maternal insult—or your mother joke—date back to around 1500 BCE when researchers discovered a babylonian tablet covered with jokes and insults with some pertaining to the phrase surrounding one’s mother.

The joke has been an evolving constant over the years. One of history’s greatest entertainers, William Shakespeare, was not above making the joke himself, and was seen insulting mothers in some of his works such as “Titus Andronicus.” 

Though the delivery may have changed, the joke is still driven by the same intent, to insult your mother. 

Some may view the your mother joke as a classic or something childish and dull, but across the board most people have made or encountered the notorious your mother joke at least once.

“I remember when it was really big like in public schools and before college. When we were younger, you know, it was like little things, like yo mama so fat, or something else childish,, as we got older you know we were not little kids anymore and were grilling each other’s moms,” freshman history major Justin Bielecky said. 

The your mother joke is an incredibly versatile joke that can be applied in many different situations.  Starting with typical grade school banter the format has now evolved  into dirtier jokes. Whether it be simple your mother is not up to mental standard jokes against something more nefarious, the joke can be applied across nearly every type of insult to joke.

Anybody who has played online gaming knows how far some can take the joke when behind the shelter of the screen. 

“Things would get pretty heated in the chatroom,” undeclared freshman Jake Wittzelman said. Of course we’re gonna say that stuff. When you’re angry and want to inflict something verbal, what’s better than making fun of someone’s mom?” 

Starting on Sept. 18 2005, there was a channel on youtube, known simply as Yo Mama, dedicated to your mother jokes and has even seen relevant success, still producing content today with just a little over five million subscribers. It’s fascinating to see that a simple joke can garner so much success and possibly financial benefits. An example of the type of jokes feautured on the channel is “yo mama so dumb she tried to fill her car with Vin Diesel.”

A lot of people said they even found it entertaining at an age when the your mother joke was seen as childish, though of course the joke has its critics.

“It just seems dumb,” sophomore special education major Kasey Reeser said. Like what am I twelve? Why would I even bring that up, even when I’m trying to be funny. When I hear people say that stuff I just think what an immature loser,” said Reeser. 

The your mother joke has evolved greatly from crude and insulting jokes from the very beginnings of civilization to both humorous entertainment and harsh insults. Some even profit off the phrase. The very beginning of the phrasing has always had some sort of superiority humor by defaming the rival’s mother, though of course whether it be for fun or insult, the result is the same. 

There are many opposers to the phrase who view it as childish and low brow due to its simple nature and how it is often phrased by the younger generations, but all and all, the phrase is capable of inflicting whatever the sayer is meaning and can inflict something whether humorous or insulting.

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