The Joe Miller

Figure of speech. When Lenehan ends his limerick "I can't see the Joe Miller. Can you?" he means that he can't see the joke, since Joe Miller was a comedian. This exemplifies the rhetorical principle of antonomasia: substituting a property for a proper name, or vice versa.

JH 2023

Title page of the 1739 edition of Joe Miller's Jests, scanned from a 1963 Dover facsimile. Source: Wikimedia Commmons.