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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Joke-a-nalysis!

Just to break the silence of the longtime listener, first time caller, we'll discuss now why certain jokes are funny, thereby utterly killing any chance of actual humor to be had:

An Army of One
This is the joke where a single individual, engaged in single combat, keeps besting his/her opponents by approaching them and yelling, "Stab stab stabbity stab!" (which later became a band name, and is the reason that I ever heard this one). His/her reign of terror ends when (they) finally encounter a person who yells, "Tank tank tankity tank!"

I am fond of this joke because it seems to be the product of a particularly drunken (or glue-filled) evening between friends who knew each other well. The fact that it made it out into general population in what sounds like its original form is further testimony to its greatness.

Scenes From 'A Bar'
A rabbi, a priest and a horse walk into a bar. The bartender takes one look at them and says, "Get the fuck out of here."

This one works just as well, of course, with any grouping of stereotyped characters familiar from jokes. An alternate ending for this one is the bartender saying, "What is this, a joke?", but I like this one better for its economy of form, and the sudden reversion to What A Person In This Situation Would Probably Do.

Or, 'The Hawaii'
It is well known that James Montagu, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, was a constant figure at the gambling table. History further recalls that he unwittingly revolutionized cuisine one day when he was taken with a powerful hunger, yet could not bear to leave the gaming table. So he instructed his manservant to place a slice of meat between two slices of bread, and bring it to him henceforth. This is why, to this day, we refer to that popular lunchtime dish as 'the manservant'.

That one's actually one of mine. (It turns out I don't actually know that many jokes.) It raises questions of class-consciousness, while hitting you-BOING!-with that surprise left hook that all yer best jokes do. It is best to deliver it as deadpan, History Channel-style as possible, to add to the BOING! effect.

Famous Last Words
"(something in German)" were Einstein's last words, as recorded by his nurse, who spoke no German. Imagine the possibilities, huh? Like what if he finally worked out the Unified Field Theory or something! Guess we'll never know...

Turns out this one isn't really a joke. Makes ya' think, though.

The Entire Presidency of William Jefferson Clinton, Forty-Second President of the United States and Bishop of the District of Columbia (I think) but in particular this early, evasive answer to the question, "Have you ever smoked marijuana?"
"Yes, but I didn't inhale."

HAW HAW HAW! Very few people at the time saw this one for the brilliant piece of political meta-humor it actually was. For one thing, it sort of made him all things to all people: of course I did, you tool. Haven't you noticed what generation I'm from? But also: Sigh. Alright. If you want to know how I feel about the whole legalization thing, I'm as aware as anyone is that the War on Drugs is lucrative as hell to certain sectors of our economy, and isn't going away, probably ever. In this way, he showed himself as the embodiment of America itself.
His trope here was familiar to those Smokers of the Pot like myself; tell the most ridiculous lie to avoid detection/opprobrium by the hysterics we live among. It'll probably work.
This also laid the groundwork for a later joke, "Don't Ask/Don't Tell", which may very well be the only example of return humor I've found in the annals of the presidency.

The Fact that Men have nipples
I mean, what the fuck is up with THAT, right? This is a favorite joke of relatively unimaginative people everywhere, although I did use it to create a little too much laughter directed at an unwise antagonist once.
In those days, with hair down to my ass, I often carried a woven Guatemalan bag ("Wha-at? IT'S MY LUNCH!"), and this fool I work with asks me, in front of a roomful of co-workers, "Are you aware you're carrying a purse?"
And I fire right back, "Are you aware that you have nipples on your chest?"
The crowd went wild, and dude sat there with his head down, knowing he'd been beat.

George Carlin, doing his usual schtick about slang and modern usage, throws in this one:
"Why isn't there a perfume for lesbians called 'Fuck Off, Mister'?"

This one comes back to me a lot, in the city I live in with the bars I tend to frequent. It's simple, but again, that's why it works. Also, he said it in 1974 or something, so points for being ahead of the curve.

Don't Look Up Here...
The joke's in your hand.

(Sorry.)

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4 Comments:

Blogger CatsDigMe said...

Spontaneuos situational humor is my forte'. Can't remember a joke for shit. Ah, crap, can't think of a situational bit now either. There goes that theory.

Too dry?

Love Carlin from 74. Have you noticed how pissed off he is at EVERYBODY these days?

7:36 PM  
Blogger disco boy said...

well, yeah, i'm pissed off at everybody nowadays myself.

especially myself.

but that's neither here nor there. what's brown and sticky?

a stick.

out there in the internetdom, that was realized as the funniest joke ever, according to some website or another where the average age of the average user was maybe 11. but i do find myself repeating it often, mostly because it's a sort of half-joke, where there might be humor within, or it could leave us tugging our beards with a useless "a-ha" look on our faces. it's stupid. it's a waste of time and breath, but frequently... that's life!

and now, in the spirit of brevity, here's just the punchlines:

"hey man, that's nacho cheese!".

"no man, it says 'welcome to jamaica, and have a nice day'".

"he's the one with sesame seeds on his buns".

"nothing you didn't try to tell her twice already"

and of course, the all time classic: "no, i was taking inventory; spectacles, testicles, wallet, cigars!"

11:03 PM  
Blogger Aunty Christ said...

Howard Bunt's blog provided this joke today:

"This is an old, standard joke. What day is Pesach this year? Answer: The same as always. The 15th day of Nisan."

About as funny as anything Lynn Johnston ever wrote, doncha think?

8:40 PM  
Blogger George said...

Yur right about Carlin, Cat's. I agree with him, but the rage is so over the top it's kinda off putting. Same thing happened late in Lenny Bruce's carreer. I can see why, the people keep laughing, but if the stuff these guys are talking about remains just a joke, then people must not be getting it. I can see it driving you around the bend after awhile.

Brown and sticky = stick
Is genius of Zen master preportions, as far as I'm concerned. That says a lot about me, I guess.

I'm reminded of james E's intent to market a new toy called, STICK: for hitting and poking!

Oh, hey also, I'm making feeble posts on zee blog, for any and all interested... Pictures from recent trip to portland and other stuff.

http://skookumchuckmemoirs.typepad.com/skookumchuck_notebook/

8:26 AM  

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