MILLER, JOE (JOSEPH or JOSIAS( (1684-1738), English actor, first appears in the cast of Sir Robert Howard's Committee at Drury Lane in 1709 as Teague. Trinculo in The Tempest, the First Grave-digger in Hamlet and Marplot in The Busybody, were among his many favourite parts. He is said to have been a friend of Hogarth. He died on the 16th of August 1738. After his death, John Mottley (1692-1750) brought out a book called Joe Miller's Jests, or Wit's Vade Mecum (1739), a collection of contemporary and ancient coarse witticisms, only three of which are told of Miller. Owing to the quality of the jokes in Mottley's book, their number increasing with each of the many subsequent editions, any time-worn jest has, somewhat unjustly, come to be called " a Joe Miller."
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)