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"There was a time when one old eccentric guy with a notebook could do something important to science. Now even the resources of a major university are often not enough."
- Jerry Pournelle

Variable Modifier  
  Provides the capability of altering standard jokes to fit new circumstances.  

Lester the Jester designs a robot comedian to help him with the creation of off-the-cuff jokes.

"...your order said for him to be able to be able to work out twists on the gags in the file - so they rassled up a new gimmick, what they call a variable modifier..."
From The Jester, by William Tenn.
Published by Thrilling Wonder Stories in 1951
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