The Joker is believed to have been introduced into playing cards in the United States by Euchre players in the 1860s. The original German spelling of Euchre is Juker or Juckerspiel, hence Joker.
The Joker has been compared to the Fool card in traditional Tarot decks, and although there are similarities (both cards often serve as Trumps in many games), the Fool’s function in esoteric Tarot is more important, as he serves as an Archetype in many narratives and in fortune-telling.
He has often been lumped in with the Harlequin figure in Italian commedia dell’arte, although the two characters are very different.
DC’s villain the Joker is almost as old as the Batman comic (he first appeared as the Dark Knight’s nemesis in 1940).