Joke-Filter: What is the origin of the joke with the punch-line "rectum damn near killed him"?
May 15, 2009 12:09 PM   Subscribe

Joke-Filter: What is the origin of the joke with the punch-line "rectum damn near killed him"? Bonus points if you actually have the set-up to the joke (if there is one).

This has been referenced many times in movies/tv/etc. like Black Sheep when Chris Farley's character is talking to the Rasta dudes.
posted by xdeliriumx to Writing & Language (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
"Little Johnnie's teacher asked him how his weekend was.

"Horribly, a car hit my dog in the ass," he said.

She said, "Rectum."

"Wrecked him?" Johnnie said. "Damn near killed him!" "

according to this site.
posted by soelo at 12:13 PM on May 15, 2009

I think the origin isn't with "rectum" but with any sort of word that ends in a way that makes it sound like you're doing something to someone. The word can either be funny in its own right ("rectum") or funny because you're attaching it the "...barely know her/damn near killed him!"

e.g. "Poker? I barely know her!"
posted by nitsuj at 12:15 PM on May 15, 2009

This is how it was told to me:

Johnny's twin brother was hit by a car. The next day at school, his teacher asked him where his brother was.

Johnny: "He got hit in the ass by a car."

Teacher: "You mean rectum."

Johnny: "Wrecked him? Hell, damn near killed him!"
posted by Houyhnhnm at 12:24 PM on May 15, 2009

Best answer: I decided long ago that the punchline is funnier without a set-up. That may just be me- but I've mined what I believe to be some comedy gold from just saying the punchline at the right time.
posted by Shohn at 1:39 PM on May 15, 2009

Best answer: This one time a friend and I were walking by a church. "Rector" was stenciled on a wall in the parking lot..I mentally fretted over which would have more bang.."damn near killed her" or "barely knew her".To me, they both had sexual overtones that would be made more funny with the fact that it was tied to a religious figure. Plus my being a girl would add that extra twist. Anyway, I spent way to much time over thinking and analyzing that by the time I settled on "damn near killed her", we were well past the church, and the joke had lost any frame reference. It was one of those joke that had to be done right away or it losses it punch. So I let it go unsaid. And my instinct was what I decided on..if only I had trusted myself, even if it wouldn't have been as funny as the other choice, the joke would have been said and I would have got the validation of laughter. Or not. But I would have known either way. Now don't go thinking that this is something that haunts my days and penetrates my falls into the cracks of memory until something, say this post for instance, reminds me. So thanks for that xdelimemorex, or whatever your mane is
So what is the point I'm trying to make here? I don't know. Maybe it's a lame attempt, to finally, at long last to put this baby to bed and find out if it really is a funny joke. Aslo, I'm drunk.
posted by Epsilon-minus semi moron at 3:41 PM on May 15, 2009 [7 favorites]

Poker face? I barely know 'er!
posted by jozxyqk at 4:00 PM on May 15, 2009

I'd be interested in other iterations of this joke:

as in Bangor, I barely even know her!

posted by sully75 at 4:54 PM on May 15, 2009

My favorite, for which I've lost the corresponding joke, is: "Gladiator? I'm thrilled!"
posted by Horselover Fat at 6:11 PM on May 15, 2009 [2 favorites]

Yeah, that and or "Jamaica? No, she went of her own accord"
posted by slightlybewildered at 7:25 PM on May 15, 2009

in The World According to Garp there was a joke refering to Peter Bent Hospital. A guy in obvious pain hails a cab saying "get me to a hospital"
Cabbie says"Peter Bent?" since that was the closest.
Guy says "bent? i think she bit it right off!"
posted by Redhush at 8:01 PM on May 15, 2009

my dad says (frequently): "Tissue! I don't even know you!"
posted by purpletangerine at 9:16 PM on May 15, 2009 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Seen recently on MetaChat: When the origin of a joke like that is shrouded in the mists of time, the answer 90% of the time is: vaudeville

From the NYT, 1903:
As to the vaudeville Jokes, they are of the familiar variety-puns that stretch the long arm of verbal coincidence until the joint crack.... [examples omitted] And so it goes throughout the play, with the crack! biff! bang! of double-back action puns that attest the ingenuity of their makers, and seldom fail to bring off a laugh, but are as far removed from the humor of life, on the stage or off, as is a funeral.

An earlier reference, probably, than any TV or movie is Brendan Behan's 1960s (reconstructed posthumously, first performed 1972) play Richard's Cork Leg:

CRONIN (sings to THE HERO on sofa, unaccompanied)
'Twas in the town of Wexford they sentenced him to die
'Twas in the town of Wexford they built their gallows high
MRS MALLARKEY Stop that ridiculous song. Nobody is sentenced to die. Even if the man was shot. I expect it wasn't in a vital part of the body.
CRONIN He was shot in the arse hole.
MRS MALLARKEY Rectum, rectum.
CRONIN Wrecked him ... it near killed him.

The presentation here does suggest a repeated, known joke.
posted by dhartung at 9:57 PM on May 15, 2009

"I heard you're going to Florida for your honeymoon. Are you going to Tampa with her?"
posted by Wet Spot at 5:39 AM on May 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Transportation relative;

Alarmed? When I ride/drive it, it's f'ing terrified!
posted by DrtyBlvd at 6:34 AM on May 16, 2009

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