Broughton Jokes

“You still at Broughton?”
“I’ma take you to Broughton and get my $75 and a fruit basket.”

The informant grew up in North Carolina and lived there his entire life there until moving to Los Angeles around three years ago, where he currently resides.

According to the informant, Morganton (his hometown) is known for its’ insane asylum/mental institution, within North Carolina. That institution used to be called Broughton Hospital for the Criminally Insane (potentially has been changed since then, but this was what the informant remembers it as). This place was where people who either had mental disabilities or mental handicaps and were criminally dangerous, had committed crimes, and were a danger to others and themselves, would go. It is not to be confused with their other mental institution, Jay Iverson Developmental Center, which is for those with mental handicaps who are not criminally dangerous, but need extra care.

The reason these jokes are found humorous is because social work is one of the main industries in Morganton, meaning a lot of people both work at Broughton or have worked there at some point in the past (including the informants mother).

That being said, the first joke is only said to those known to have worked there or who are working there, implying that they are a patient and not an employee. The informant first heard it while with his dad, who said it to an old friend he ran into at the grocery store. However, the informant has never used the joke because he has never known anyone who worked at Broughton of his age group.

The second joke is based off of a rumor that if someone committed someone to Broughton, they would receive $75 and a fruit basket. The informant does not believe the rumor to be true and has not used the joke probably because of that belief.

The informant relayed this to me while in the passenger seat of his girlfriend’s car as she drove us all back up to Los Angeles. I have known the informant since he moved to Los Angeles.

Both of the jokes require a connection to the culture of North Carolina, potentially more specifically of Morganton. Without the understanding of where the joke comes from, it would not be funny to you because it would not make any sense. However, those in the town not only have a connection to Broughton Hospital, but would be finding humor in something that is part of their everyday life. In a sense, you have to be part of the group to understand the joke and could potentially be considered an outsider if it was unknown.