Monday, February 20, 2006

Three Generic Ethnic Stereotypes Walked Into A Bar

I'm really, really bad at telling jokes, which is a problem, because I also really, really love telling jokes. Where the conventional method of telling a joke usually consists of a person telling a story and then finishing it with a punchline, my method is more like me telling a story badly, and then finishing it by getting in the way of someone else's punchline. I get all the times, dates, names of characters, setting, and order in which they arrive confused, making for a very oddly-ordered joke. So, for instance, where a normal person will tell a joke in this order:

a) Introduce characters
b) Tell the story, omitting no crucial detail
c) Tell funny ending to story.
d) Be recipient of warm laughter and applause.

Here is my way of telling the joke.

a) Forget to introduce the characters
b) Tell the story
c) Forget to tell crucial detail
d) Remember to introduce characters
e) Tell funny ending to story
f) Remember to tell crucial detail
g) Be recipient of scorn and oppobrium.

The funny thing about my desperate unfunniness is how easy it is to tell the joke in the right way. Being funny is for most people something that gets easier after a few drinks. For me, my inability to jest stays the same, no matter how much I have drunk.

The other thing I do, of course, is get my jokes confused. I'll start off telling a wonderfully entertaining story about Dorothy Porter, get her mixed up with Peter Porter, and end up telling an anecdote about Oscar Wilde instead.
The pity of it all is that I like to tell weird jokes anyway. And the weird thing about telling weird jokes is how they, just as much as any other, rely on timing and structure to be funny weird, and not just weird weird.

'A duck walks into a grocery.
'Got any bread?' says the duck.
'No', says the grocer.
'Got any bread?' says the duck.
'No," says the grocer.
"Got any bread?' says the duck.
"no," says the grocer. "And if you don't fucking shut up, I'll nail your bill to the counter!"
"Got any nails?" says the duck.
"No," says the grocer.
"Got any bread?" says the duck.

Other jokes in my repertoire include a charming story about a big brown bear; two friends and an awful smell in the church; something that is just up the stair, round the corner, through the corridor; and a fable about a chicken who reads books.
Then again, maybe I can solve all of these problems by inventing a new category of joke: the unfunny weird joke. Whereas the normal joke is designed to inspire merriment and jollity in a company, the unfunny weird joke is designed to make people feel suicidally depressed. As such, it could be of great therapeutic use in an asylum for over-optimists, or even a euthanasia ward ....

Why did the chicken cross the road?
It was either that or not cross the road.

Two legs walked into a pair of pants and stayed there.

Three generic ethnic stereotypes were at a place doing an activity.
"Oh," said the first generic ethnic stereotype. "Something"
"Oh," said the second generic ethnic stereotype. "Something better."
"Oh," said the third generic ethnic stereotype. "Something witty!"

What takes longer to screw in a lightbulb, a tonne of bricks, or a tonne of feathers?

Why did the chicken?
Because the duck. *

What's the latest Irish invention?
The oxy-acetylyne torch.

What's the difference between a pen and a dog?
One is used for writing, and the other is a mammal.

'Knock knock'
'Who's there?'
'John who?'

'Knock knock.'
'Who's there?'
'Arthur who?'
'Arthur Jones. I'm here about the dead cat in the toilet?'
'Oh, come in!'

A guy walks into a bar. "Ouch," he says.


With these jokes, I could make millions! Millions of enemies, that is.

*This joke was actually told to me as a kid, as an example of 'zen comedy'. It has since become one of my very favourites.


Caz said...

On the up side, you can get a really good street price for oppobrium.

There are still living people who tell Oscar Wilde stories?!

You jest, surely you jest. Tee, hee.

Aunty Marianne said...

Typical Belgian apolitical joke (the political ones are worse):

What's the difference between the Belgian town of Steenokkerzeel and the Italian town of Florence?

Well, if you go to Steenokkerzeel you'll probably meet a girl called Florence, but if you go to Florence, it's not very likely you'll meet a girl called Steen...

My the winter evenings just fly by here in Brussels.

TimT said...

Caz, didn't Oscar Wilde ingest oppobrium himself from time to time? Smart guy, anyway. He came up with a tonne of one-liners.

Aunty Marianne - If that's an example of one Belgian joke, then I'd hate to see a Belgian sitcom. Do they even have sitcoms? Or even a word for sitcoms?

The Lioness said...

Oooh, I love them! LOVE THEM! Inane enough for me, it seems.

A bloke walks into a bar - ouch. BRILLIANT!

Aunty Marianne said...

Yes. The Flodders. A joint Flemish-Dutch production.

Don't. Just don't.

TimT said...

Aunty, sounds like a continental version of The Fokkers. Or maybe The Royle Family.

Aussies are terrible at sitcoms. Our last successful local production was probably this godawful one called 'Hey Dad'. Famous mostly for 'That Little Fat Kid', you know, 'The one from Hey Dad'.
Australians know what I'm talking about, even if nobody else does.

Lioness - glad you liked 'em. More where that came from ...

Q: Why did the pilot crash the aeroplane?

A: Because he was a cream pie ...

Got told that one last year.

Jellyfish said...

Okay, if you haven't already, you absolutely must go and see 'The Aristocrats'. Or promise me you'll get it on video. It's all about how a joke can be funny simply by virtue of the delivery.

I liked the first duck joke. I've always been a fan of

What did the zero say to the eight?
Nice belt.

and the Yo Yo Ma joke.

TimT said...

Oh, I've seen the Aristocrats. But I only really liked four or five versions of the joke - Sarah Silverman was good.

Another favourite:

'Why was 6 sad?'
'Because 7 8 9.'

What's the Yo Yo Ma joke?

Jellyfish said...

I admit, not all versions of it were funny, but that just kind of made it all the more interesting. Sarah Silverman was AWESOME. I also liked the guy who said the other suitcase had 'tylenol' in it, and thought Paul Reiser did a pretty good job. Plus a few of the other ones who were more obscure (to me). Like the mime! The mime was cool.

I saw it with my brother which led to an embarrassing moment when he asked me who the guys from 'The Onion' were, and I explained it was an online satirical newsletter to which he replied, 'That figures, they all look like your friends.'

I'll tell you Yo Yo Ma next time I see you. It is lame yet irresistable, as it involves the teller doing a funny voice.

BillyWarhol said...

Cornier than Oprah's Stool after the 4th of July!!!



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