Around this time last year, the image of Joanne the Scammer was everywhere. She had appeared on celebrities’ Instagrams, in popular magazines, online videos, and earned a blue check mark for her iconic Twitter rants about the merits of a good scam.

Joanne the Scammer is a character created by Florida comedian Branden Miller. Bearded, wigged, and rocking a ratty fur coat, Miller’s depiction of Joanne is a ridiculous take on a classic trope—the “man in a dress.”

The image is undoubtedly funny. But there’s been a curious lack of introspection around where exactly the humour comes from. Why do we find the image of a man in a dress talking about lying and cheating and hooking so damn funny?

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