Meta-joke refers to several somewhat different, but related categories: "self-referential jokes", "jokes about jokes" also known as metahumor, and "joke templates".
This kind of meta-joke is a joke in which the joke itself, or rather a familiar class of jokes, is part of the joke. See also Mathematics of humor A joke is a short story or ironic depiction of a situation communicated with the intent of being humorous.
Examples of meta-jokes:
The usage of the term "meta" here is similar to that in meta-reference. Meta-reference, a Meta-fiction technique is a situation in a work of fiction whereby Fictional characters display an awareness that they are in such a work such
"Metahumor" as "humor about humor". Here "meta" is used to describe the fact that the joke explicitly talks about other jokes, a usage similar to the word metadata (data about data) or metatheatrics (a play within a play, as in Hamlet). Metadata ( meta data, or sometimes metainformation) is "data about data" of any sort in any media A story within a story is a Literary device or Conceit in which one story is told during the action of another story Hamlet is a Tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1599 and 1601
- I've often started off with a lawyer joke, a complete caricature of a lawyer who's been nasty, greedy and unethical. For the psychiatry professor see Marc Galanter (psychiatrist Marc Galanter is the John and Rylla Bosshard Professor of Law and South Asian The Chief Justice in many countries is the name for the presiding member of a Supreme Court in Commonwealth or other countries with an Anglo-Saxon justice system based on English William Hubbs Rehnquist (October 1 1924 – September 3 2005 was an American lawyer, jurist, and a political figure who served as an Associate Justice But I've stopped that practice. I gradually realised that the lawyers in the audience didn't think the jokes were funny and the non-lawyers didn't know they were jokes.
Another kind of metahumor is when jokes make fun of poor jokes by replacing a familiar punchline with a serious or nonsensical alternative. Such jokes expose the fundamental criterion for joke definition, "funniness", via its deletion. Comedians such as George Carlin and Mitch Hedberg are examples of comics who use metahumor of this sort extensively in their routines. George Denis Patrick Carlin (May 12 1937 – June 22 2008 was an American stand-up comedian, often considered one of the best of all time Mitchell Lee Hedberg (February 24 1968 – March 29 2005 Hedberg's comedy and on-stage persona gained him a Cult following, with audience members sometimes shouting out the Hedberg would often follow up a joke with an admission that it was poorly told, or insist to the audience that "that was funnier than you acted". These followups usually get laughs superior to those of the perceived poor joke and serve to cover an awkward silence. Johnny Carson, especially late in his Tonight Show career, used to get uproarious laughs when reacting to a failed joke with, for example, a pained expression. John William “Johnny” Carson ( October 23, 1925 &ndash January 23, 2005) was an American Television host and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno as appropriate --> The Tonight Show is a long-running Eddie Izzard often reacts to a failed joke by miming writing on a paper pad and murmuring into the microphone something along the lines of "must make joke funnier" or "don't use again" while glancing at the audience. Edward John "Eddie" Izzard (born February 7, 1962) is a British stand-up comedian and Dramatic Actor.
This kind of meta-joke is a sarcastic jab at the fact that some jokes are endlessly refitted, often by professional jokers, to different circumstances or characters without significant innovation in the humor. Sarcasm is stating the opposite of an intended meaning especially in order to sneeringly slyly jest or mock a person situation or thing 
Besides being a kind of meta-jokes, joke templates are an instrument in computational humor, in particular, in joke generators, such as STANDUP. Computational humor is a branch of Computational linguistics and Artificial intelligence which uses Computers in Humor research