This July 3-9 is the week we’ve been anticipating all year—Be Nice to Joisey (oops, Jersey) Week! We have to admit, the state does get a lot of undeserved heat. New Jersey Jokes go far back before the state even existed in its current form—they started in the 17th century, when the state was promised to two people who split it in half. Cue the identity crisis jokes, which only escalated throughout the years. Enter Lauren Barnett, editor of Lone Star Publications of Humor in Texas, who declared the week-long holiday in 1985 to stop the madness. While we can say with certainty she did not succeed, we can at least pause the madness for one week. So join us in trying your hardest not to make fun of what’s (probably) a very nice state!
Be Nice to Jersey Week Activities
1. Take a trip
Appreciate New Jersey in the flesh this week, even if you're just staying there for easy access to New York. Who knows, you might actually like it! And if you don't, it's more fodder for your jokes.
2. Apologize to a New Jersey-an
Follow the suggestion of this week's esteemed founder, Lauren Barnett, and issue an apology to friends and family living in New Jersey. If you don't have any, she suggests directing a letter to New Jersey's local government. This is your opportunity to put your Jersey feud behind you and be the bigger person.
3. Listen to some Bruce Springsteen
You can credit this man for singlehandedly ending Jersey's reputation as simply the punchline of a joke. With his honest depictions of Jersey life, he made the city—gasp—cool again. The least you can do to repay his efforts is listen to some tunes!
Why We Love Be Nice to Jersey Week
A. We get to make fun of other states
During any normal week of the year, Jersey would get all the heat. But have you thought about how Texans love Texas so much recently? Or how tiny Rhode Island is? There are lots of states to make fun of, and this week is the perfect time to do it.
B. It forces comedians to branch out
One of the common complaints with Saturday Night Live in 1975 was how much their comedians relied on jokes about New Jersey. Sure, New Jersey jokes are funny, but this week reminds comedians around America not to get lazy. Everyone needs a little push to innovate once in a while!
C. We can appreciate Jersey's merits without judgement
We understand that this is a controversial opinion, but we at National Today actually like New Jersey. From its beautiful brick edifices to its proximity to New York, there are lots of good parts of New Jersey that get lost in a sea of derogatory jokes. And this is the day we can appreciate them without judgement from our peers. Photo by The U.S. National Archives