E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
A Joe Miller. A stale jest. John Mottley compiled a book of facetiæ in the reign of James II., which he entitled Joe Millers Jests, from a witty actor of farce during the time that Congreves plays were in vogue. A stale jest is called a Joe Miller, implying that it is stolen from Mottleys compilation. (Joe Miller, 16841738.)