What are good examples of jokes with long set-ups?
August 22, 2009 9:08 AM   Subscribe

What are good examples of jokes with long story-telling set-ups?

I like setting up stories with a short punch-line. Sometimes it's a pretty good icebreaker. Can anyone give more examples of this type of joke, or what they're called?
posted by phyrewerx to Writing & Language (62 answers total) 96 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: They're called Shaggy Dog stories usually, except often those are really much longer and you can do the set up part forever. Here is one of my favorites.

Roy Rogers' Boots

One day Roy Rogers was passing the boot maker's shop when he noticed a pair of boots in the window that were the most beautiful he had ever seen. He entered the shop and told the proprietor that he must have the boots that were in the window.

The proprietor said the boots were made for someone else, but, if they fit Roy, he could have them and he would make a new pair for the other customer. So Roy proudly left the shop wearing his new boots. However, on the way back to his ranch, it began to rain and as he walked up to the ranch house, his new boots got all muddy. He left them on the porch and entered the house. While he was eating his dinner, a bob cat snuck up onto the porch and grabbed the loops at the back of the boots in his mouth and ran off with both of the boots.

Fortunately the cook saw the theft and called Roy. Roy was livid. He whistled for Trigger and took off at a gallop after the bobcat. A few hours later he returned with a dead bob cat across the front of his saddle. The once beautiful boots were hanging out of the saddle bags. They were torn to shreads. As he rode up, the cook hailed Roy.

When the cowboy drew near the cook shouted, "Pardon me, Roy, is that the cat that chewed your new shoes?"
posted by jessamyn at 9:16 AM on August 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

The Aristocrats.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 9:18 AM on August 22, 2009

Well...The Aristocrats has a long story/setup for a short punchline. But it might not be such a good icebreaker :).
posted by madmethods at 9:18 AM on August 22, 2009

posted by madmethods at 9:19 AM on August 22, 2009

I'm not convinced this is a good one, but I have weirdly fond memories of this joke.
posted by Diagonalize at 9:22 AM on August 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

The infamous Juan joke.
posted by backseatpilot at 9:22 AM on August 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Once I was in San Francisco...
posted by Sys Rq at 9:27 AM on August 22, 2009

This guy was working in a lab which had bred a strain of dolphins that would live forever as long as they were fed seagulls every day. One day the lab ran out of seagulls and the man had to run out and get some. As he neared the beach, he saw a group of lions sleeping in the path. He carefully stepped over them, dashed down to the beach and collected some seagulls, but as he was returning to the lab he was arrested for transporting gulls across sedate lions for immortal porpoises.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 9:28 AM on August 22, 2009 [21 favorites]

I've believe netbros has posted a ton of good ones as well, it might be worth getting in touch with him. I myself have a penchant for awful jokes so I am always happy to see them.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 9:29 AM on August 22, 2009

Lost in the Desert...
posted by Benjy at 9:29 AM on August 22, 2009 [5 favorites]

I like to tell the story about how when I was walking down the street in Mexico, an ambulance flew by sirens blaring. As it turned the corner it hit a bump and the rear doors briefly opened and out flew a small cooler. The ambulance continued on unaware. A small crowd gathered and when someone opened the cooler, I looked inside and there was a human toe! Which prompts the inevitable "What did you do?" To which I find great joy in replying, "I called a toe truck."

We're talking HUGE groans.

The change in facial expression from disgusted/curious to pissed off/disbelief is priceless.
posted by ElmerFishpaw at 9:37 AM on August 22, 2009 [6 favorites]

And then there's the Jesus joke that has an endless set-up about Peter, called by Jesus, trying to approach the cross and getting his ass kicked and finally when he makes it Jesus says, "Hey, Peter! I can see your house from here!"
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:40 AM on August 22, 2009 [2 favorites]

My dad's a master of telling these jokes, because he can drag out the set-up for ages with a completely straight face. He has a version of 'The Duck' that had me on the floor the first time he told it.

'Jack Dunne goes to London' is anotherone that you keep going for ages -- I remember seeing Dennis Taylor tell it on the BBC as part of a trick shot exhibition.

There's another one I've kept with me from my childhood, which is Spike Milligan's version of 'The Rarie'.
posted by holgate at 9:49 AM on August 22, 2009

Larry Lobster and Sam Clam where best friends. They did everything together. The only difference between them is that Larry was the nicest Lobster ever and Sam, well lets just say he was not so good.

Larry and Sam did so much together that they even died together.

Larry went to heaven and Sam went to hell.

Larry was doing well in heaven and one day St. Peter came up to him and said, "Larry, you know you are the nicest clam we ever had up here. Everyone likes you but you seem to be a bit depressed.

Tell me what is bothering you, maybe I can help."

Larry said, "Well, don't get me wrong Pete, I like it up here and everything, but I really miss my good friend Sam Clam. We used to do everything together and I really miss him a lot."

St. Peter looked at Larry with pity and said to him, "I tell you what, I can arrange it so that you can go down to hell tomorrow and visit Sam all day. How would that sound?"

This made Larry very happy and he got up bright and early the next morning and grabbed his wings, his harp, and his halo and got in the elevator to hell. When the doors opened he was met by Sam. The hugged each other and they were off. You see in Hell Sam owned a disco. The spent the day there together and had a great time. At the end of the day Larry and Sam went back to the elevator together said their goodbyes and Larry got back in the elevator and went up to heaven. He stepped off the elevator and was greeted by St. Peter who blocked the doorway to heaven. He looked at Larry and said, "Larry Lobster, didn't you forget something?"

Larry looked around and said, "No, I don't think so I have my halo and my wings."

St. Peter looked at him and said, "Yes, but what about your harp?" Larry gasped and said, "I Left My Harp in Sam Clam's Disco."
posted by MonkeyToes at 9:56 AM on August 22, 2009 [5 favorites]

"Fuck you, clown!"
posted by granted at 9:58 AM on August 22, 2009 [5 favorites]

Best answer: May I also suggest the feghoot archive?
posted by MonkeyToes at 9:59 AM on August 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

The Poor Conductor
posted by Aquaman at 10:06 AM on August 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Wikipedia on feghoots: "A Story Pun (also known as a poetic story joke or Feghoot) is a humorous short story or vignette ending in an atrocious pun (typically a play on a well-known phrase) where the story contains sufficient context to recognize the punning humor.[1] It can be considered a type of shaggy dog story."
posted by MonkeyToes at 10:07 AM on August 22, 2009

So a family of potatoes - a mother and her three daughters - are sitting at the dinner table one night. The eldest daughter speaks up. She says [here you use your best/worst Irish accent]

"Mother, I've got big news."
"What is it?" her mother says.
"Oh, mother, I'm gonna get married."
"Oh are you now?" her mother replies. "Who you gonna marry?"
"I'm gonna marry Irish Red."
"Oh a fine tater, a very fine tater indeed" says her mother.

Then the middle daughter speaks up: "I've got big news too, mother!"
"What is it?" her mother says.
"Oh, mother, I'm gonna get married too you know."
"Oh are you now?" her mother replies. "And who are you gonna marry?"
"I'm gonna marry Idaho Gold."
"Oh Idaho Gold, a fine tater, a very fine tater indeed" says her mother.

Then the youngest daughter, who is no more than a child, speaks up. [Here, of course, you use your young Irish accent]
"Oh, mother, I've got big news too you know."
"Oh do you now?" her mother says.
"Oh, yes mother, I'm gonna get married too."
"Oh are you now?" her mother replies. "And who are you gonna marry?"
"I'm gonna marry Dan Rather."
"Why, Dan Rather! But sweetie, he's just a common tater."

Ba-dum-ching! Comedy gold.
posted by taliaferro at 10:09 AM on August 22, 2009 [3 favorites]

Two friends were arguing in a bar one day. Harvey, the first guy, was bragging how he knew everybody. He knew everyone, and everyone knew him. There wasn't a person that he hadn't met.

Bob, even though he was his good friend, didn't believe him. "Harvey, you can't know everyone." He said. "I bet you don't know the Mayor."

Harvey said, "Sure I do." He pulled out his cell phone and dialed a number. After a moment he said, "Hi, this is Harvey. Could you tell my friend Bob here who you are?"

He hands the phone to Bob. The voice on the phone was unmistakably the Mayor, who said to Bob, "How's my old friend Harvey treating you?" Bob was taken aback. He talked to the Mayor for a few moments before he handed the phone back.

"OK, you win that one. But I bet you don't know the President!" he challenged.

Harvey smiled and dragged his friend out to the car. "We're going to DC." He said.

A few hours later, they pull up to the White House. The security guys immediately recognized Harvey and let him through. Just then, the President came out of the front door walking his dog. Harvey leaned out the window and waved. Then, to Bob's chagrin, the President walked right over to the car and talked with Harvey for a good fifteen minutes.

Bob was starting to get a little perturbed. He figured that maybe Harvey only knew people in the US. So he said, "I bet that you don't know the Pope...."

Harvey just grinned and drove to the airport. The next day, they were standing outside the Pope's residence. Harvey didn't think that he'd be able to get Bob in, since the security was so tight. But Bob agreed that if he saw the Pope and Harvey together in the Pope's window, then he would admit that Harvey knew everyone.

A short while later, Harvey walked out onto the balcony, arm in arm with the Pope. The Pope waved to the screaming crowds in the street. Harvey looked down into the crowd, trying to find Bob. To his shock he saw his friend collapsed in an unconsious heap on the ground. He quickly rushed down to see what had happened to his friend.

"Bob, Bob!" Harvey shook his friend. "Are you ok?? What happened??"

"Yeah. I'm OK." he replied. "But that was quite a shock."

"What? When you saw me up there with the Pope?" Harvey asked.

"No," said Bob. "When the guy next to me in the crowd said, "Hey, who's that guy up there with Harvey?""
posted by iconomy at 10:37 AM on August 22, 2009 [28 favorites]

I know a good one, but I can't tell you because you're not a monk.
posted by em at 10:37 AM on August 22, 2009 [2 favorites]

The Orange Head Joke:

A man walks into a bar, and his head is an orange.

He sits down, orders a drink. The bartender eyes him warily, but gets him what he wants. The man sits sipping the drink, idly watching the soccer game on the bar television. After a while, he runs dry and orders another.

"Tell you what," says the bartender, "this next one's on the house -- but you've got to tell me what happened to your head. I don't mean to be rude there, but..."

The man smiles. "No, not at all. I get this all the time.

Well, it started with the Gulf War. I was a young kid fresh out of high school, but I was poor. I needed money for college, and the Army looked like a good way out of the ghetto. But then they shipped me over to Kuwait. My platoon took some heavy fire during Desert Storm, and I was separated from them.

I wandered the desert for days, with only the contents of my pack to sustain me. I ran out of water, I ran out of food. I was desperate, on the virge of death -- when suddenly, I saw a glint of metal in the distance...

I forced myself onward, hoping the shining brightness was a glint of gunmetal from my platoon, or a city on the horizon, or anything. When I finally reached it, it was a piece of metal half-burried in the sand. I dug around it and excavated what appeared to be an old Persian oil lamp.

There was an inscription on the lamp, too covered in dust to read. I rubbed at the embossed lettering -- and then, a swirl of smoke and light surrounded me. Suddenly, before me, stood a ten-foot tall being, dressed in traditional Arabian garb, arms crossed.

'I am the Djinni of the lamp,' said the entity. 'For releasing me, I shall grant you three wishes. What is your first wish, my master?'

I was incredulous, of course. I deduced I must be hallucinating, that this was desert madness. I decided to test the mirage. 'Alright,' I tasked it, 'I wish for a wallet with a million dollars in it, that I can never lose, and whenever I take any money out of it the sum is immediately replenished.'

'Your wish is granted!' boomed the Djinni. I felt a bluge in one of my uniform pockets. Reaching in, I pulled out a new wallet, stuffed to bursting with crisp, new American bills. I counted them -- sure enough, it was a million dollars. I ripped up the bills, cast them to the four winds, and threw the wallet as hard as I could. The moment it was beyond my sight, it teleported instantaneously back to my pocket, refilled with another million dollars.

'What is you second wish, my master?'

I pondered the notion for a long moment, assessing my needs. 'Djinni,' I said, 'for my second wish, I want to be transported to a cool, abandoned palace, into a harem room with a hundred beautiful young virgins who will all fall madly in love with me at first sight, before a buffet table set with a feast fit for a king.'

'Your wish is granted!' Poof! I found myself in a royal harem, escaped from the heat of the desert. All around me, nubile girls eyed me with keen interest. In front of me, every conceivable type of meat was roasted to perfect tenderness, set with all the appetizers, side-dishes, salads, soups, and desserts of the four corners of the globe.

I dined until I was near-bloated, and then I had a lot of sex. I mean a lot. Several hours later, laying upon a bed of feathers, brown and blonde and red haired beauties nuzzling into me like puppies at their mother's underbelly, the Djinni stood before me, looking down in satisfaction at his work so far.

'What is your third wish, my master?'

I thought long and hard. Truly, this last wish tasked the very limits of my imagination, my beliefs, my ethics, my philosophy. Hours passed in silence, save for the gentle snoring of the ladies surrounding me.

At last, I spoke.

'Djinni, for my third wish, I want a big orange head.'
posted by jedrek at 10:41 AM on August 22, 2009 [22 favorites]

Best answer: Shaggy Dog stories usually don't have a typical punchline, so they're not exactly what you're looking for. The joke is on the listener after they spend time listening to a really long set-up, they don't get the payoff.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 10:45 AM on August 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

The Nate the Snake joke. My friend told me a different version years ago. Obviously the middle portion of the joke can vary tremendously as long as the set-up and punchline are there.
posted by falconred at 10:45 AM on August 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Illegal use of a firearm...

and of course you would rework the telling so that it was from your point of view. The point is to get them outraged at the cops misbehavior and when they're just completely incensed you hit 'em with the pun.
posted by tylerfulltilt at 10:48 AM on August 22, 2009

The story of the foo bird.
posted by knave at 10:48 AM on August 22, 2009

Here's my favorite in this genre:

Dirty Dishes
There's this guy who's in the market for a used motorcycle. Always wanted a nice big hog. So he's shopping around, answering ads in the newspaper,and not having much luck. One day he comes across a beautiful classic harley with a "for sale" sign on it. Upon inspection, he is amazed to find the bike in mint condition. He inquires about it with the owner: "This bike is beautiful!! I'll take it. But you gotta tell me how you keep it in such good shape."
"Well," says the seller, "it's pretty simple. Just make sure that if the bike is outside and it's going to rain, rub vaseline on the chrome. It protects it from the rain. In fact, since you're buying the bike I won't need my tube of vaseline anymore. Here, you can have it." and he hands the buyer a tube of vaseline.

So the guy buys the bike and off he goes, a happy biker. He takes the bike over to show his girlfriend. She's ecstatic (being a harley fan). That night, he decides to ride the bike over to his girlfriend's parents house. See, it's the first time he's going to meet them and figures it will make a big impression. When the couple gets to the house, the girlfriend grabs her boyfriend's arm.

"Honey," she says," I gotta tell you something about my parents before we go in. When we eat dinner, we don't talk. In fact, the person who says anything during dinner has to do the dishes."

"No problem," he says. And in they go. The boyfriend is astounded. Right smack in the middle of the living room is a huge stack of dirty dishes. In the family room, a huge stack of dishes. Piled up the stairs, dirty dishes. In fact, everywhere he looks, dirty dishes.

They sit down to dinner and, sure enough, no one says a word. As dinner progresses, the boyfriend decides to take advantage of the situation. So he reaches over, grabs his girlfriend, strips her naked, and they make it on the dinner table. Of course no one says a word.

"Her Mom's gotta good bod...", he thinks. So he grabs his girlfriend's Mom and ravishes her right there on the dinner table. Again, no one says a word. Then, the boyfriend notices it starting to rain, he better take care of the motorcycle. He pulls the vaseline from his pocket. The father stands up and shouts:

"All right, I'll do the f@(#ing dishes!!"
posted by milnak at 10:49 AM on August 22, 2009 [2 favorites]

In high school I used to volunteer at the VFW. It amounted to sitting around playing cards with my Great Uncle Sammy and his WWII buddies while they told jokes and talked about women, sex, and politics.

They had tons of these. Here is the one I remember best, but I will use my voice. He spoke with an Ohio River Valley accent filtered through molasses and lucky strikes, so even though his version sounds better, I have no idea how to render it in writing.

I am worried that it is inappropriate here, so if you don't like old-man jokes that are dirty, sorry.

Desert Island

There was this guy who went abroad to buy a dog. It was a rare breed and he had to go through a lot to get it. Even though it was small, it was a breed known for being protective and watchful.

So he goes, buys the dog from the breeder, and gets on a ship to come back to the States. There is a really bad storm and the ship is thrown off course. They end up in some tropical waters eventually, but the damage to the ship was too much and it sinks.

As the ship was sinking, he grabs the dog and a few pieces of wood, but he is pretty bruised and as the ship goes under he gets knocked on the head and passes out, holding a piece of debris and the dog but unconscious.

He eventually wakes up and looks around and realizes he is in sight of land. The dog is still with him and he starts to lamely paddle. They eventually wash up on the shore and lay there for a minute before they start exploring.

Days go by, then months. They set up camp and live their life, this guy and his dog. Every day the guy goes a little farther inland to try to see if there are any people around, but he never sees anyone - just birds and small animals.

So they eat what they can pick, catch or kill, living off the land and it isn't to bad. Guy and Dog.

One day, as they were making their way inland, all of the sudden the trees open up and they come on a clearing. This is the farthest in they had ever come, and he was surprised to find a small flock of sheep grazing in the tropical sun. He thinks that there MUST be folks around if he is seeing sheep, but he looks and looks and never finds another human being.

So he gives up on finding anyone around, the sun is starting to set, and he wants to go back to camp before nightfall, but his dog has run off. He then looks at the flock of sheep and has an idea.

Now, he isn't the kind of guy who gets into animals, but he is LONELY. The feel of a woman a memory months gone and he suddenly feels urgently desperate. So he finds a female sheep, drops his trousers, and is about to do the deed when all of the sudden the dog comes tearing through the underbrush like crazy BARKING BARKING BARKING. Just nuts this dog is. So he gives up, pulls his pants back up, and takes the dog back to camp.

He tries this a couple more times and each time the dog is crazier than the last - barking and circling around him while he is standing there with his pants around his ankles - so he begins to give up on the idea.

He wakes up really early one morning and looks over - the dog is still asleep. He realizes if he ever had a chance, this is probably it. So he very quietly gets up and sneaks off to the clearing.

So he sighs and gives up. They go on as they did before, each time going more inland, but he doesn't try the sheep business again. He never finds another person and resigns himself to his loneliness - at least he has the dog for company.

One day, a few months later, he and the dog were walking down the beach to fish a bit when he sees something off in the distance. DEBRIS! Debris means people! So he picks up his pace and when he gets to the pile he can't believe his eyes! In front of him is an unconscious, beautiful, naked woman covered in seaweed and next to the log she floated on. He is dumbstruck.

He pulls her up and revives her. He brushes the long hair out of her face and looks into her eyes as she comes back to life. She is weak, but appreciative - She reaches up and returns his look, putting her hand on his cheek, and says: "You have saved me...cough cough... you saved my life! I don't know how I can repay you.... I would do anything for you...(she holds his gaze)...Anything..."

The guy looks into her eyes and says...

"Well, if you wouldn't mind holding my dog for about 15 minutes I would be right grateful..."
posted by Tchad at 10:58 AM on August 22, 2009 [7 favorites]

Pig with a wooden leg.
posted by SPrintF at 10:59 AM on August 22, 2009

The best joke in the English language:

A man is waiting in line at Grand Central Station, wanting to get back to Pennsylvania for the holidays. The line is very, very long, and he literally waits for hours. Exhausted, he reaches the front of the line, only to see the woman behind the ticket window is a gorgeous blonde woman with, quite frankly, the largest natural breasts he's ever seen.

Stunned, he blurts out, "Hi, I need two pickets to Titsburgh.'

The woman looks at him, wide-eyed, not sure what he's said. The man hasn't realized a thing, and thinks she might not have heard him. He says it again, louder, not realizing his mistake, 'I just need two pickets to Titsburgh." This time, he hears himself, and realizes what he said. The woman, convinced of what she heard, looks angrily at him.

The man is stunned, and says 'I'm so sorry, I'm really tired, I just want to get home, and I just need to pickets to Titsburgh." He slaps his hand over his mouth, stunned at what he's said. The woman is starting to call security, and the man feels doomed. Suddenly there's a touch on his elbow, from behind.

He turns around, and there's an older man, white hair, white beard, wearing a tweed jacket, with suede patches on the elbows. The man says, "Son, relax, I'm a pyschologist. what's happening to you is called a Freudian Slip. You mean to say one thing, but what's really on your mind comes out. In fact, it happened to me just last night. I meant to say to my wife, 'honey, would you please pass the salt.' Instead, I accidentally said

(the teller needs to yell this out)

posted by Ghidorah at 11:22 AM on August 22, 2009 [2 favorites]

So, a guy's walking down the beach and he walks past a woman sunbathing. Strange thing is, she doesn't have any arms or legs. As he walks past, he hears her crying. He turns back and asks, "Lady, why are you crying?"
"I have no arms and no legs," she replies. "And I've never been hugged."
Taking pity on her, the guy leans down and embraces the armless legless woman. As he starts to walk off, he hears her crying again.
"What now?" He asks.
"Well, I've never been kissed, either," she says.
Again, taking pity, the man leans down and kisses her passionately. Again, she stops crying. The guy makes it a few yards further this time before he hears her crying.
"What is it this time, lady?"
"Well, I've never been screwed," she replies.
The man leans down, picks up the armless, legless woman and walks over to the waters edge. He carries her out to about chest height and drops her in the water.
"Well, you're screwed now!"


A hunter goes out to hunt bear. He takes his rifle and wanders out into the woods. He's hunting all day and finds nothing. He's about ready to go home when he spots a bear. He takes aim, but the bear charges him, knocks the rifle out of his hands, bends him over a tree stump and rapes him! Holy crap!
Well, the hunter finally makes it home. He rests up and awakes in the morning determined to get revenge on the bear. This time, he wanders out into the woods with a machine gun. He lugs the machine gun around all day, looking for this damn bear. Ready to give up and go home, he finally spots the bear. But the bear spots him, too! The bear charges him again, knocks the machine gun out of his hands, bends him over a stump and rapes him again!
Defeated and wounded, the hunter finally makes it home late at night. He rests up and awakes with even more determination to get this bear and take his revenge. Today, he wanders out into the woods with a rocket launcher. He carts this launcher and all of his rockets around all day, looking for that bear. Finally, he spots the bear and takes aim with his rocket launcher. Same as before, the bear charges him, knocks the rocket launcher out of his hands, bends him over a stump and says,
"Something tells me you don't come here to hunt..."
posted by Jon-o at 11:24 AM on August 22, 2009 [4 favorites]

This joke's been caught in my head all week, and it fits the bill pretty well.

A frog walks into a bank and heads straight to the first teller he sees. Her name is Ms. Paddywack. In a sad voice, the frog explains that he's hit upon some sad times and he needs a $50,000 loan to get through it all.

"Do you have any collateral?", asks Ms. Paddywack.
"I have this little keychain with a little pink elephant..." says the frog.
"Oh...how about any references?"
The frog produces some paperwork to the effect that he's actually Mick Jagger's son.

Ms. Paddywack, utterly confused, goes into the back room and explains the situation to her manager. "There's a frog outside asking for a $50,000 loan, and he says he's Mick Jagger's son, and all he has is this awful ... I don't even know what this is!"

After reviewing the situation, the manager calmly says:

"it's a knick-knack, Paddywack! Give the frog a loan. His old man's a Rolling Stone!"
posted by mikeyk at 11:59 AM on August 22, 2009 [3 favorites]

My favorite:

So a frog walks into a bank ...
posted by GatorDavid at 12:29 PM on August 22, 2009

Every morning the Trids got up, ate breakfast, and marched over the bridge to Tridville to work. One morning, a troll moved in under the bridge. When the Trids tried to cross the bridge, the troll climbed up and kicked the Trids all the way back to their homes. The Trids decided to take the day off in hopes that the troll would go away, but the next morning the troll once again climbed up onto the bridge and kicked them back to their homes. In desperation, the Trids decided to ask the Rabbi for help. So the next morning the Rabbi walked across the bridge several times but never saw the troll. He went home believing the troll had indeed moved on. When the Trids tried to cross the bridge afterward, the troll climbed up again and kicked the Trids back home. The Rabbi returned to the bridge and called out for the troll. When the troll appeared, the Rabbi asked why he was allowed to cross the bridge but not the Trids. The troll replied, "Silly Rabbi, kicks are for Trids."

That is a condensed version, you can really drag it out by making the Rabbi a traveler who can explain to the Trids the breadth and depth of his experience, and why he can help them, and also add a conversation between the Rabbi and troll(before the punchline) about how and why the troll doesn't want the Trids crossing the bridge. Ad lib!
posted by owtytrof at 12:32 PM on August 22, 2009

A divorced mom took her young daughter to the zoo. One of the elephants had a huge, huge erection. 'Mommy, what's that?' asked the shocked and confused daughter. 'Nothing', replied the embarrassed and flustered mom.
The next month, Dad took the daughter to the same zoo. The same elephant had the same huge, huge erection. 'Daddy!! I saw that with Mom. What is that??'
Dad, trying to be careful, asked 'What did your mom say it was?' Daughter replies 'she said it was nothing'.
Dad stares at the erection and says 'Just like your mother--never fucking satisfied!'

I'm always tempted to tell this story when I have to listen to constant complainers.
posted by Pennyblack at 12:50 PM on August 22, 2009 [4 favorites]

A young southern gentleman moved to New York City to find fame and fortune. There he met and proposed to a Yankee girl. His very prim and proper elderly mother came to New York for the wedding festivities.

She was invited to a luncheon for the wedding party, and found herself seated next to a woman to whom she had not been introduced. She very politely turned to the woman and said

"Let me introduce my self, I'm the mother of the groom. And where are you from?"

The yankee lady stuck her nose in the air, and in a condescending tone replied

"Well, I'm from an area where we know better than to end our sentences with a preposition."

The elderly southern lady sat quietly for a moment and then replied

"How silly of me, you are so right. Let me rephrase that question.

So, where are you from, bitch?"
posted by raisingsand at 1:21 PM on August 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

A man riding across Russia on the Trans Siberian Express, gets off to stretch his legs during one of the train's refueling and crew change stops. The village at this stop is a tiny, one street settlement, in the middle of the vast steppes, with a few desultory shop fronts facing the street. The man walks past one of these, that is filled with watches, and he pulls out his own, to check it against local time, only to find that his own watch has been stopped for some hours. He tries to set and wind it, but it does not run.

"How lucky for me, if my watch was going to break, that I've found a watch shop to fix it, in the middle of nowhere." the man thinks to himself. So, seeing a man in a black suit, and black hat inside, he goes in to inquire about having his watch repaired.

Once he was in the shop, the man behind the counter greeted him in Hebrew, and it was clear from his dress, demeanor, and speech that the shop owner was a practicing Jew. As soon as the man began to inquire about having his watched fixed, the shop owner put up his hands, and made it clear that he didn't repair, sell or trade any kind of watches.

"So," said the man, "if you don't repair watches, what do you do? And why do you have all those watches and clocks in your store window?"

The shop owner said "I am a mohel, and I do the circumcisions at every bris around here, as far as the eye can see."

"I see." said the man. "Well, I'm sorry you can't fix my watch. But what I don't understand is why you have a display window full of watches, if you never sell them, and don't repair them as a primary business."

"Yes, I see your point." said the mohel. "But if our places were reversed, and you were the mohel, what would you put in the storefront window?"
posted by paulsc at 1:23 PM on August 22, 2009

OMG, the clown joke. I've been telling it since 1996 and I've made it longer and more complicated with every telling. I've had drinks thrown at me more than once for wasting peoples' time at parties.

My other favorite joke of this nature is a card trick. I shuffle the cards, tell someone to pick a card, and that card is "the princess". Build a pyramid of cards, slip the princess in, this is the castle. The king (place card down), hires three knights (place three cards down) to guard his princess. One night a spy (place spy card down) sneaks into the castle and abducts the princes (move princess and spy cards off to the side....everything is face down at this point, just a visual reference point for the story). The knights chase after him, the spy burns the castle down (collapse the pyramid of cards into a pile). Shuffle everything multiple times while making up more details of the story. The princess is kidnapped again. A knight dies. Build sets, tear them down, and shuffle the cards, the whole time never looking at the cards.

There's no sleight of hand, no trickery, just great storytelling and you need to be handy with cards. It's impressive at this point to cut the deck with one hand. On and on and on and on and on until...................................

THE PRINCESS IS RESCUED! And you pull the top card off the deck, place it down, and say "Sir, is THAT your card?".

Of course it isn't, and then you scream "GODFUCKINGDAMMIT! IT NEVER FUCKING WORKS!" and storm out of the room pissed off.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 1:37 PM on August 22, 2009 [11 favorites]

Mr. Steven Blevins and Mr. Robert Jackson worked together as executive officer for Meezorp Corp. One day after work Mr. Blevins had to get a message to Mr Robert Jackson. He called his office, but Mr. Jackson has already gone home for the day. This was a very important message. So Mr. Blevins calls his assistant to track down Mr. Jackson's home phone number.

He dials the number and lets it ring three times. On the fourth ring, a person picks up the other line.

"Hello?" says the voice on the other end.

"Hello, this is Mr. Blevins, I'm looking to speak to Mr. Jackson," said Steven into the receiver.

"I'm sorry, my daddy isn't home right now," said the little boys voice on the other end of the phone.

"Well, that's ok, please take this message ....

[fill in long and important message information about meetings changing, product demonstration changing, needings to pickup Sally and Joe from different airports, etc.]

"Did you get all of that?" asked Mr. Blevins.

"What was your name again?" says the voice on the other end.

"I'm Mr. Blevins", Steven replied.

"How do you spell that?" asks the child.

"B-L-E-V-I-N-S" said Steven.

"And how do you make a B", asks the voice on the other end.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 2:46 PM on August 22, 2009

I love this refrigerator joke.
posted by cali59 at 2:56 PM on August 22, 2009 [4 favorites]

A man and his heavily pregnant wife are walking through the park. By the side of the path, they see a large, steaming dog turd. The wife stops.
'What is it?' her husband asks.
'I don't know why,' she says, 'but I've got a real craving to just eat that dog shit straight off the ground.' He laughs nervously. She stares at him.
'You're... serious?' he says.
'Yes. I don't know what it is, I just really want to. I'm going to do it.' She starts to bend down and he puts a hand on her shoulder.
'Whoa, hang on, hang on. You're not going to do this. I can't believe you're serious.' She glares at him.
'My body knows what it needs. If I'm craving it, there must be a good reason.' Seeing that she means it, the man decides to humour her.
'Okay, okay,' he says. 'We'll take it home and cook it and then you can eat it. I'm not having you eating dog shit off the ground.' So he picks it up in his handkerchief, wraps it tightly and puts it in his coat pocket.
As they walk home, he tries to distract her. He points out a red squirrel. He talks about space exploration. He pretends to forget her middle name. But as soon as the front door closes, she turns to him.
'Where's that dog shit? I really want to eat it. I've been thinking about it all the way home.' He frowns.
'I thought maybe you'd go off the idea,' he says. 'You still want to do this?'
'Look,' she says. 'How many times have you been pregnant?'
'How many times?' He sighs.
'None. Exactly. So you don't know what it's like. You have to be in tune with your body. If I'm craving something, that means that the baby needs it. This is for the wellbeing of our child. Do you understand?'
'I just think...'
'Do you understand?'
So he goes into the kitchen and unwraps his handkerchief. The turd sits there, fat and glistening. The smell of it makes him gag.
'How do you want this done?' he calls through to the front room.
'It's up to you,' his wife shouts back. 'Just make it quick. I really want it.' So, he dusts a chopping board with flour and puts the turd in the middle. He starts to roll it, coating the outside. He adds paprika, cumin, pepper - anything to mask the smell. When it's covered in flour and spices, he heats some oil in a pan, adds garlic and drops the turd in. As soon as it hits the heat, a disgusting stench fills the kitchen. It's all he can do not to throw up.
'Smells good,' his wife shouts from the next room. He rolls the turd over in the pan. It sizzles. After a few minutes with his hand over his nose, he decides it's done and slides it out of the pan and onto the centre of a plate. It sits there gleaming like a huge dead slug. He carries it through to his wife and sits down at the table opposite her.
'Listen,' he says. 'I know you're dead set on doing this, but I'm asking you - I'm pleading with you - please don't. I don't think you know what you're doing. Please, darling, don't do this.' She stares at him across the table for a moment. Then, with barely suppressed rage in her voice, she says:
'Listen. I know that this is what our child - our unborn child - needs. That may not mean a lot to you, but it means a hell of a lot to me. So I'm going to eat this dog shit whether you think it's a good idea or not. Because you know what? This isn't your decision to make.' They stare at one another for a few seconds. Then he nods.
'Okay,' he says. 'I... I understand.'
'Thank you,' she says.
He sets out a knife, a fork, a glass of water and the plate in front of her. By now, the smell has filled the whole house. She picks up the knife, picks up the fork and stares at the turd. A flicker of concern passes across her face. She hesitates.
'What if...' she says. 'What if it makes me ill?' Her husband says nothing. 'I mean, I know I want it, but what if it makes our baby ill?' She looks up at him. 'You need to try it.' It takes him a moment to register what she's said.
'You need to try it. To make sure it's okay. Please. For our child?'
'I...' He looks at her. He looks at the knife and the fork and the plate and the turd. 'I...' He thinks of all they've been through together, all they've got to look forward to. He thinks of his baby girl. He doesn't know it's a girl, but he can feel it, he can just tell. 'I...' And the turd, lying in the centre of the pristine white plate. He takes a deep breath. 'Okay. Yeah, I'll do it. For you. For us. All three of us.'
She pushes the plate towards him. He picks up the knife, the fork. Carefully, tentatively, he cuts a slice off the end of the turd. As he cuts into it, the stench hits him again. He gags and nearly cries. He spears the slice on the end of the fork and lifts it to his mouth. In the moment before he takes it, he makes eye contact with his wife. Then he closes his eyes and pushes the slice of turd into his mouth. He bites down on it and it covers his tongue. He clenches his jaw. Flecks of brown form at the corners of his mouth. There are tears rolling down his face. A surge of vomit rises into his throat and he swallows as hard as he can. It all goes down - the vomit, the turd, the tears. When his mouth is empty, he gasps like a diver surfacing for air. He grabs at the table to hold himself upright. He hacks and coughs, frantically trying to get rid of every trace of the flavour.
'How was it?' asks his wife. He gasps and wipes the tears from his eyes.
'That was... the single... most disgusting experience... of my life. The taste! Oh god, the taste! I thought the smell was bad, but once I tasted it, I just... In that moment, I wanted to die, just so wouldn't have to taste it any more. I felt like I was going to pass out, it was so bad.'
'Oh,' says his wife. 'Right.' She looks at the turd. She looks up at her husband, struggling for breath. She looks back at the turd. 'Well,' she says. 'I don't think I'll bother then.'
posted by him at 3:11 PM on August 22, 2009 [7 favorites]

Quasimodo is retiring from Notre Dame Cathedral and is auditioning bell-ringers.
He runs an ad in the French Gazette. A guy from a nearby village applies. Quasi explains to the applicant that to ring the bell, he must grab the rope as high up as possible, pull it down to the floor and then let go.

"Go ahead, try it!" he says.

The guy grabs the rope and pulls it down to the floor, but fails to let go and the rope yanks him up and he bangs his head on the bell on his way up, knocking him unconscious. He falls out of the window to the street below, and to his death.

A crowd gathers below and Quasi runs down to where the dead applicant is lying dead in the street. A passerby asks, "Hey Quasimodo, you know this fellow?"

"No," says Quasimodo, "but his face rings a bell."

About a month later, the brother of the dead applicant comes to the Cathedral to apply for the same job. Again, Quasimodo explains how to ring the bell.

"Try it!" he says.

And again the applicant grabs the rope but forgets to let go, banging his own head on the bell and falling to his death on the street below.

Again, Quasi races down to the street and another pedestrian asks, "Yo, Quasimodo, you know this guy?"

"Nope, but he's a dead ringer for his brother."
posted by cerebus19 at 3:23 PM on August 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

God was sitting on a cloud looking glum one day, and Jesus noticed, hopped over, and asked, "Father, what troubles you?"

God said, "My son, I sent you to earth only two thousand years ago, and look! Already, your message has been forgotten. Debauchery runs rampant, heathens and sodomites are praised and elected to office, and our names have become the punchlines of jokes! Why, I fear that if I sent you back to earth right now, you wouldn't even be recognized!"

Jesus replied, "I too am concerned about the short memory of our flock, but surely some would know who I am upon seeing me again. Listen - I will take a short trip to earth, find someone who recognizes me, and put your worries to rest."

So Jesus came down to earth and began walking the streets of the city. He came upon a little bakery, entered, and approached the baker.

"Baker," said Jesus, "Do you recognize me?"

The baker studied Jesus. "Oh dear," he said, "I'm afraid I don't."

"Really?" said Jesus. "You don't recognize me at all?"

"No, I can't say I do. Should I? Where would I know you from?"

Jesus sighed. "Nowhere," he replied, and walked out.

He then came upon a grocery, and strode towards the grocery.

"Grocer," said Jesus, feeling slightly tense. "Do you recognize me?"

The grocer gave Jesus a good look, and then shrugged. "Nope."

Jesus frowned, and then replied, "Are you sure?"

The grocer looked a bit embarrassed and offered, "Uh...wait. Maybe...Bob? Bob from Michigan?"

Jesus just shook his head, muttered, "No," and left.

The next place happened to be a bank. Jesus hesitated, but he was running out of options at this point and starting to get frustrated. He entered, went up to the banker, and said, "Banker, don't you recogni...."

The banker interrupted him, "Don't even start with me, buddy. I get that scam ten times a day."

Jesus stomped off. He was just starting to lose faith in humanity when he came upon his final stop - the workshop of the old Jewish cobbler.

He rolled his eyes, but told himself, "well, if there's one thing I've learned, it's that people are full of surprises." He strode in and approached the cobbler.

"Jewish cobbler," said Jesus. He sighed. "...Do you recognize me."

The cobbler looked up at Jesus. He squinted.

"Wait. Stand back," he asked Jesus.

Jesus obliged.

"No," said the cobbler, squinting again. "stand back a little farther, against the wall."

Jesus did, his hopes rising.

The cobbler stood up with his chin in his hand and studied Jesus for a minute.

"Now," said the cobbler. "Hold your arms out. Like this." He demonstrated.

Jesus held his arms out.

The cobbler nodded. "Now...just put your chin down..."

Jesus did.

And then the cobbler nailed Jesus to the wall and said, "Gotcha again, sucker!!!"
posted by granted at 3:57 PM on August 22, 2009 [6 favorites]

(This part can be as expansive as you can bear to make it.) Carrot and Cabbage are bored on a Friday night, so they nip out for a few pints. On the way back, drunken Cabbage stumbles into traffic and is hit by a passing truck. Frantic Carrot calls an ambulance and rides with them to the hospital. Cabbage is immediately wheeled into surgery. Hours pass. Finally the surgeon comes out, looking grim.

"How is he, Doc?" asks Carrot.

The surgeon replies, "He'll live. But he'll be a vegetable for the rest of his life."
posted by BitterOldPunk at 4:05 PM on August 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Wow. Thanks everyone!
posted by phyrewerx at 4:18 PM on August 22, 2009

Best answer: I'm a little confused. Why did you mark jessamyn's answer as best when it was an example of a different sort of joke? (That is, the one you linked to was actually very funny, but jessamyn's was a shaggy dog story which typically don't have funny punchlines or are merely droll.)
posted by wackybrit at 4:29 PM on August 22, 2009

Gettin' busy with a ghost?
posted by fuse theorem at 4:55 PM on August 22, 2009

Best answer: IMO a real shaggy-dog story doesn't have a punchline at all, and jessamyn's wasn't one. The classic shaggy dog story ends with the line "that's not so shaggy" or "I didn't mean that shaggy"; ending with a lame play on words is something different, even if there's a setup that goes on and on forever.
posted by kenko at 5:46 PM on August 22, 2009

A little boy is exicted because the circus has come to town. They had a parade with a band and animals and clowns! Oh, the clowns were fabulous! He was so excited that he got a ticket right away.

The show began and there were stunts and people on the high wire and trained animals. Then out came a tiny car and out from it poured a endless stream of clowns who did the funniest things you ever saw. It was absolutely hilarious. Then all of a sudden the clowns stopped and started looking around, all puzzled. They searched high and low and still they kept going. Finally one clown stopped and addressed the audience, "we seem to have lost our horse and we need help finding him. Would the person in row 32 seat H please stand up?" The boy notes that he is in that seat so he stands up! The clown says, "Ah! We've found the horse's ass, now we need to find the rest of the horse!"

The audience roars with laughter and the boy turned beet red. He tore from the tent in humiliation, mostly because he didn't know what to say! He decided that would never happen to him again. He pulled out his most recent copy of Boy's Life and found an ad for a book for snappy comebacks, so be bought it. It arrived and he proceeded to memorize it in its entirety. He had he local librarian borrow similar books that he also memorized.

As he grew up, he practiced his snappy comebacks, but was he ready? No! He went to a college that allowed you construct your own major, so he majored in Snappy Comebacks. He studied Moliere, Shakespeare, Henny Youngman, Phyllis Diller, all the greats. He earned his major. Was he ready? No. He went on to get a PhD in snappy comebacks. Was he ready? No. He started publishing papers presenting a full taxonomy of snappy comebacks, classifying them by type, cultural reference, social import and final impact. Was he ready? Yes.

He returned to his home town and waiting for the circus. When it arrived, they had a parade with a band and animals and clowns! Oh, the clowns were fabulous! He got a ticket right away for the same seat.

The show began and there were stunts and people on the high wire and trained animals. Then out came a tiny car and out from it poured a endless stream of clowns who did the funniest things you ever saw. It was absolutely hilarious. Then all of a sudden the clowns stopped and started looking around, all puzzled. They searched high and low and still they kept going. Finally one clown stopped and addressed the audience, "we seem to have lost our horse and we need help finding him. Would the person in row 32 seat H please stand up?" The boy notes that he is in that seat so he stands up! The clown says, "Ah! We've found the horse's ass, now we need to find the rest of the horse!" And he says in a loud, steady voice, "fuck you, clown!"
posted by plinth at 5:53 PM on August 22, 2009 [3 favorites]

I'm a bonehead. Missed the posting of 'fuck you clown'.
posted by plinth at 6:07 PM on August 22, 2009

The World-Famous Brick Joke needs two people to tell it properly:

Bob -- the first person (imagine lots of embellishment): A man inherits a billion dollars, but only on the condition that he use up an entire trainload of bricks to build things. He builds a house, a garage, a shed, patios, mailbox, sidewalks, etc. until he's down to one last brick and no ideas. He ponders the problem for a while, then goes out and rents a big dump truck, puts the brick in the back, drives the truck to the edge of a cliff and jumps out just as the truck goes over the edge. (Laughter from Bob and Ted and vacant stares from the audience.)

Ted -- the second person (this is told several hours or days later to the same audience): A man is riding in a train compartment when a woman with a yappy lapdog enters. He tires of the yapping and decides he will drive the woman out of the compartment by smoking a cigar. She glares at him and wrinkles her nose, but does not leave. At the end of his patience, he grabs the dog and throws it out the window. She reacts by grabbing the cigar and doing the same. They get into a fight that ends when the conductor ejects them at the next station. They are still arguing when the dog runs up to the station and guess what the dog had in its mouth?

Someone in the audience will invariably say, "The cigar!", to which Ted replies (deadpan preferable), "Nope -- the brick from Bob's joke."
posted by joaquim at 6:59 PM on August 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

A guy I kind of knew in high school would tell, during a yearly camp for cross country runners in high school, one of these types of jokes. I THINK it was the "Herm and Derm" joke, but I can't remember exactly and I didn't see anything when I did a search just now.

Anyway, the set up is you have two horses who keep being put into races where one horse (either Herm or Derm) always beats the other horse. This can go on for as long as the teller wishes because, after all, you can have a lot of races. At the very end a dog goes up to the two horses and says something about their last race at which point the punch line goes: one horse looks at the other and says "oh look... a talking dog".

Yeah. Just awful. It's a testament to the joke that it was told like 3-4 years in a row just to put the new people in the group through it.

I actually played a part in the final time this guy told the joke (that I'm aware of) during his senior year. He played a ventriloquist and I played his dummy. That of course was much funnier for the joke, thanks to a combination of purposeful humor and my idiocy at forgetting what sound a rooster made. I'll give you a hint: it isn't ka-kaw.
posted by Green With You at 9:24 PM on August 22, 2009

A guy goes out for a drive in the country and goes up a hill, down a hill, up a hill, down a hill, up a hill, down a hill, up a hill, down a hill, up a hill, down a hill, and runs out of gas. He walks to a nearby farmhouse where he asks for some gas, and the farmer gives him some but insists he stay the night because it's too late to walk back to his car. The man agrees and spends the night. In the morning he's about to leave when the farmer offers him some Cheerios for breakfast. The man accepts, eats his Cheerios, and leaves.

The next day a guy goes out for a drive in the country (repeat the above 5 times or more, as you see fit, but make one man refuse the Cheerios.)

Moral of the story? 4 out of 5 guys likes Cheerios.
posted by IndigoRain at 10:07 PM on August 22, 2009

I fucking hate this kind of joke, but I've got a very good reason.

In 1992 I spent a few months as a policy advisor in the office of Ros Kelly AO, who at the time was the Minister for the Arts, Sport, Environment, Tourism and Territories. Australian readers may remember Ros as the Minister at the centre of the 'sports rorts' affair in 1993-94 in which it was revealed a suspiciously large number of Federal sporting grants were made to marginal electorates. The explanation went something like "Well, we have this big whiteboard, you see...". The whiteboard affair was after my time, I swear.

Anyways, I was still a very junior analyst, and most of my day was spent reading the paper, answering the phone and taking minutes for meeting where senior policy analysts actually got on with the work of the office. Ros seemed to take a shine to me, though, and seemed genuinely interested in what I was working on, my family, hobbies and interests and so on.

One Friday afternoon all the senior bigwigs wandered off to the members bar at Old Parliament House for a few drinks, as was tradition. I had my brief case packed and was ready to walk down the hill to catch the 300 express to Woden when Ros tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I would like to join them. Well, there was much eyerolling from some of the senior analysts, but I figured what the hell and said sure, I'd love to come.

There was more eyerolling in the car park as it became clear I'd upset some sort of natural order about who drove with who, and in the end I said that it was OK, I'd just walk the whopping couple of hundred meters downhill to Old Parliament House. (Here, you can see it on Google Maps - it's not a marathon.) This seemed to please my bearded, leather-elbowed overlords until Ros floored them by saying "Yes, I could do with a walk myself. Obiwan and I will see you there in a bit." She took my elbow - my elbow, for Christ's sake - and off we went.

I guess I froze up on the conversation front, because after a bit Ros sort of half-laughed and asked if I knew any good jokes. Well, of course I did, but anyone who's been in a similar situation knows there's no way in hell anything remotely worthy was about to pop into my head at the time. Never mind, said Ros, Peter Reith had told her 'a doozy' - would I like to hear it? My first thought was 'Um, no actually - I'd rather hear why the shadow Treasurer was telling jokes to a Cabinet minister", but I just grinned like an idiot and said "Oh, sure, go ahead."

By this time we were on the lawns between New and Old Parliament house. It was covered with ducks, which struck me as peculiar because they're usually hanging around down by the lake near the High Court and National Science Centre. Ros started her joke. "One day there was a little..." - she looked around - "well, I was going to say bird, but ducks will work better. Yes, one day there was a little duck." God, I thought, she's going to improvise a joke she heard from Peter Reith. This is going to be even more awful than if I'd heard it firsthand from Captain Fightback himself.

"Yes, why do you think there are all these ducks here today?" I blurted. "What?" said Ros. "Sorry, it's just that I've never seen ducks on this lawn before. They're always down by the lake. I mean, it's not far from here, I've just never seen them here before." "Oh, I know," said Ros, "they cored the lawns today and the ducks are all here looking for grubs that have been brought to the surface." "Oh, that makes sense," I said. "Sorry, please continue."

"So as I was saying," she chided, "there was a little duck."

At that moment she slipped on a large slick of duck shit. Her feet went straight up in front of her and she came crashing down - still holding on to my elbow. I was half trying to hold her up and half trying to keep my own balance so I didn't end up in the shit with her (ha ha). It didn't work, and down I went in my lovely new blue suit. And then we started to slide downhill.

You probably can't tell from the Google Maps link above - this one might be better, as you can see the vast football-field length of turd - but Old Parliament House is downhill from New Parliament House, and the walk down the lawns of Federation Mall is actually quite steep. Wet grass plus rain plus duck shit plus steep slop equaled the most disgusting water slide in history as we tobogganed down the hill on our wet, wet arses.

I reached over to try to stop Ros, grabbed her arm, slipped, grabbed her arm again, slipped again, then almost somersaulted over my legs. She'd spun half around and was looking at me wide-eyed and open mouthed as we accelerated down the hill. I reached again and grabber her ankle. I leaned back, trying to dig my heels in, trying to bring us both to a stop, pulling her leg as hard as I could...

Just like I'm pulling yours now.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 10:42 PM on August 22, 2009 [8 favorites]

Purple Socks

Nathan was nervous on his first day of middle school. He'd just moved to town, didn't know a soul, and was desperate to fit in. During his lunch break he picked the clique of kids that looked friendliest, and went to introduce himself. They were cool and instantly accepted him into their circle. Lunch progressed in the usual jovial fashion, and eventually one of the kids, Derek, noticed Nathan gazing across the lunchroom and realized the new kid was scoping out a table populated by the cutest, smartest, and nicest girls in the 7th grade.

See anything you like? asked Derek.

Jolted out of his reverie, Nathan stuttered a bit and finally spit out, Who's that girl? The one over there with the red hair and green eyes and button nose covered in the cutest freckles a boy's ever seen?

Oh, that's Nancy. She's the sweetest girl in our school. Quick as a whip, too. Think you like her?

Yeah. Oh yeah! Nathan could feel his blood pressure rising, his cheeks pinkening, maybe even a little rustle behind his fly. If I could just talk to her for a minute, I think my life would be complete.

Well, Nate, it's your lucky day! Derek smirked, and winked across the table at his friends, who'd one by one tuned in to the developing scenario. I happen to know two little words that will open doors with Nancy to hallways of lust and desire you haven't even fathomed. Utter this little phrase to her and she'll be yours for as long as you'd like.

Really? And you'd do that for me? Let me use the words? Dude! What are they? WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO MY FRIEND?

Calm down, Nathan. All you have to do is go over to her, introduce yourself, and tell her you have a secret. Get real close, lean right into her ear, smell her hair, and whisper these two little words. And Derek leaned in real close, smelled Nathan's hair, and whispered the words to his new friend.

Nathan looked at his new pal askance. That's it? What the hell does that have to do with anything? Or 'hallways of lust and desire' or whatever? I don't get it, dude! What, is this some kind of joke?

No joke, Nathan.

Purple socks, really?

Derek hurriedly shushed Nathan. Keep it down man. This is a phrase for whispering, so keep it to yourself until you get over there. Wouldn't want just any chick passing by to get the wrong idea, ya know?

Of course, of course. So, uh, should I go now?

Yeah! Do it! And so Nathan disentangled himself from the crowded lunch table and edged nervously around the edge of the room until he was standing awkwardly at the head of Nancy's table.

Uh, hi. Um, uh, hmm, well, uh, my name's Nathan, and I'm new here. I couldn't help but notice you across the room, and the second I saw you, Nancy, I knew I had to talk to you. In fact, his confidence growing with every word, I have a secret for you Nancy. Can I tell you?

Nancy, being fully the sweet, understanding youth Derek made her out to be, nervously poked her hair behind her ear, tilted her head towards Nathan, and said, Sure!

Nathan leaned in close, smelled the sweetness of her red hair, and with all his courage gathered from down in his toes and fingernails up into his lungs, whispered into his crush's delicate earcurve, Purple socks.

He'd barely got the words out before her open palm was smacking across his cheek and she was up in a huff, storming across the room with tears streaming out behind, plopping wetly on the gaggle of worried friends that trailed behind her. Just as she reached the cafeteria door she spun around and screamed, YOU ARE A BAD PERSON! HOW COULD YOU SAY SUCH A THING TO A GIRL LIKE ME? TO ANYONE?! I'M REPORTING YOU TO THE PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE RIGHT NOW, YOU SLEAZEBAG. STAY AWAY FROM ME.

[At this point the joke shifts gears. The principal calls the bewildered Nathan into his office even before he can get back to his lunch table, and offers a similar reaction to Nancy's when Nathan tells him what he said to the girl. Nathan gets expelled, no questions, nothing further, get out. Which is also the reaction of his father, the cop who finds him on the street, his court-appointed attorney, the judge, and anyone else he comes into contact with before beginning his 22-year jail sentence (for saying Purple Socks to the judge, of course). This is really the part you can stretch out. In jail Nathan finally gets a clue and clams up. He eventually makes a friend, and they spend the next 22 years getting to know and love one another. They're BFFs, you know? But Nathan never tells his BFF why he's in jail.

Finally, the last day of Nathan's sentence rolls around, and he and his BFF are walking out of the jail. (It's BFF's last day, too, doncha know.) BFF is like, Hey, Nathan, now that we're out and looking to get on our feet in the real world, I feel like I deserve to know what got you into that place. Why were you in jail?

Nathan stops in his tracks, bows his head, and appears to be deep in thought for a few moments. I've never told you because everyone I've ever told has immediately forsaken me, even to the point of having me jailed for what seemed to me to be nothing at all. The littlest thing. But apparently it's a big deal. So I'm going to tell you, but only if you promise that the bonds we've created doing time together are stronger than any I've ever had with anyone before, even my father, and that you won't fuck me over for telling you.

And, of course, BFF is like, Dude, you know me. I'd never do anything like that to you. You're all I've got out here, and we're going to brave the outside world together. Just tell me!

So he does, and the instant Purple Socks is out of his mouth BFF punches him in the nose, pulls out a shiv, stabs him in the side, steals his wallet, and runs off never to be heard from again. As he's bleeding in the dirt Nathan hears BFF call out over his shoulder, You damn sleaze, you deserve to go back in for another 22! Nathan is broken, and just lays in the road hoping to die.

But he doesn't die. After a while he realizes he's not going to bleed to death there. That eventually he'll have to pick himself up and get on with his life. And thinking a little further down the line he also realizes what he must do. So he gets up and begins his search for Derek, the boy who told him to whisper a magical phrase into Nancy's ear, a phrase that would open doors onto hallways he couldn't even imagine. The boy who, like him, would now be 35 years old.

After much searching, Nathan finally locates Derek in his hometown (via the phonebook, of all places!) and gives him a call. When Derek picks up Nathan launches into a vehement tirade, accusing Derek of ruining his life and leaving him broken, bleeding, and alone at every step of the way. Derek is, of course, initially confused, and asks Nathan what he did to inspire such a rage?

You told me to whisper into Nancy's perfect little ear a phrase that would open doors onto hallways of lust and desire I hadn't even fathomed. You said to tell her Purple Socks.

As soon as the phrase was out of his mouth, Nathan felt relieved. Derek just laughed.

Why are you laughing? Those two words ruined my life, ASSHOLE, and I don't even know why! What the heck does Purple Socks mean?! and why does everyone hate me for saying it? I HAVE TO KNOW AND YOU WILL TELL ME OR ELSE.

OK, OK, I'll let you in on it Nathan, just don't freak out. Look, you got me out of the phone book, right? Right. Well my address is in there too. It's an apartment on the third floor of that address. There's a park bench across the street from the building. Go sit there tomorrow and keep an eye on the 7th window from the left. When the blinds open, you will know the significance of Purple Socks.

So Nathan goes, and he watches that window without blinking for hours on end. Nothing happens, no movement, no nothing, just some closed blinds and traffic. He begins to lose hope, begins to think that Derek's only played him for the fool again, begins to convince himself that nothing's going to happen when—TA DA! the blinds open.

And holy shit, it's crazier than he'd ever thought. Purple socks? Purple Socks! PURPLE FUCKING SOCKS?!?! He can hardly believe it, hardly contain himself, and he jumps up and starts to run across the street. That's when the bus come in, POW! and turns out Nathan's lights forever. Killed instantly.

The moral of the story, my friends? Look both ways before crossing the street.
posted by carsonb at 10:46 PM on August 22, 2009 [7 favorites]

I see now that 'Purple _____' is the example given under 'Lengthy' at jessamyn's wikipedia link in the first comment. Even with the bus ending. Sigh. Oh well, it was fun to tell again.
posted by carsonb at 11:41 PM on August 22, 2009

I've heard a LOT of these types of jokes. But the absolute worst was "the tiz glass". When I was in high school, my friends told me I had to hear the tiz glass joke. So, one lunch period, this girl Barry proceeded to tell it. It went on FOR THE ENTIRE LUNCH PERIOD. And had multiple mini-jokes built into it (someone stationed overseas with the British Thermal Unit, "bricking" a camel, etc.).

But the gist is... A guy wants to marry the daughter of some Important Man. So the Important Man gives the potential groom a task - to find him a rare antique called a Tiz Glass. There are only five in the entire world, each in a remote location - desert, jungle, etc. The guy goes through great hardships, each more arduous than the last. But always manages to drop/break the glass through some mishap. Finally, after recovering the fifth glass, and bringing it back to the Important Man, he is brought into his inner sanctum. The Important Man brings out an elaborate wooden case containing five similar glasses. Each glass is set on a small pedestal. There are three glasses, an empty pedestal, and two more glasses. The Important Man gingerly takes the Tiz Glass, and places it on it's waiting pedestal. Then he produces a small golden rod from the case, and taps out:

I could have killed her.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 10:25 AM on August 24, 2009

Carson: Way back in seventh grade, I met a kid who now, coincidentally, posts to Metafilter under the name Orville Sash. And he told me that purple __ joke, though his was "purple squiggle." In it, it had the same lead up—the girl, the romance, the horrible realization that he'd offended her. His life was school life was ruined, he dropped out.

He got rousted by a cop and mouthed off, trying to explain the purple squiggle that had led him to his destitute life, but the cop would brook none of that language. He was locked up, then arraigned. His own counsel was horrified and barely represented him—if the joke was told now, I'd insert a lengthy discussion on the Innocence Project and ACLU, but for the sake of argument assume that neither would represent him.

He went to jail, and, after answering the de riguer question, "What are ya in for?" he was locked up in solitary confinement. The legislature changed—while this isn't in the original joke, remembering that he was saying this not too long after Bush the Elder held office and the Tough on Crime Reagan rhetoric was still strong—and Republicans rewrote the law to mandate death for prisoners who used such language as was obliquely referenced in the bill. I might now do some sort of Schwarzenegger impersonation, but back then he was only just The Terminator.

But that poor kid, now a poor adult, was crushed under the gears of the Republican joke telling machine, and after a particularly ill-advised attempt at explanation to the parole board, he was sentenced to die. When his fellow prisoners heard what he was in for, they said, good riddance. Child molesters had an easier time.

He was fried; he died. He went to Saint Peter, who tallied up his life and was about to let him in, as it seemed that the Holy Scroll on which men's deeds are kept prior to judgment was scant on the details—this theological mistake possibly because Orville Sash came from a predominantly Jewish background and perhaps didn't know the proper mythology, but I certainly didn't correct him or question it at the time. Now, with a liberal arts degree, I demand a little more verisimilitude in my jokes. I mean, I can easily grant a talking duck or a kid going to an Insult College to learn how to deal with a taunting clown, but these details seem false to me now.

Saint Peter pulled the lever that opened the trapdoor in the clouds—the antechamber to Heaven working on the same architectural principles as a community theater set—and the poor kid, who we might as well call Doug, though I assure you that the end of this joke does not and did not function as any sort of pun on Doug's name, it's just that I can't really remember the joke as Orville Sash told me, not exactly, not after 18 some years. I mean, kids who were born after I was told that joke can now vote—they couldn't vote for Obama, sure, but they can vote in any of the upcoming municipal elections, which are often just as important to actual quality of life—the poor kid finds himself in Hell.

As Satan is preparing to send the kid off to whatever ironic punishment is held in store for kids who say "purple squiggle"—which I have to believe, based on my memory of Dante, is to lie on burning sand amongst the others who are violent against God—the kid, Doug, says, Satan, I'll accept my punishment, I'll lie on the sand, with those flaming flakes raining down on my skin, I'll do that without complaint if you can just tell me what "purple squiggle" means.

Satan, with nary a blanch, says, look, kid, do you really want to know? It's not going to make you feel better.

And Doug says, yes, I really want to know.

Okay, kid, says Satan. It's a ten paragraph joke with no punchline.
posted by klangklangston at 5:10 PM on August 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

(In the original, which Orville Sash really did tell me back in seventh grade after he transferred to our middle school, the last line is, "Okay, kid—it's a thirty-minute joke with no punchline.")
posted by klangklangston at 5:12 PM on August 25, 2009

An old friend of mine used to tell the glowballs joke, the likes of which I don't see here & the details of which I can't find online. But a guy goes off in search of glowballs and has to bring them back to his home. The first time, he travels far to obtain them, puts them in his pocket, and when he gets home: they're not there. So he goes back the long distance, puts them in a bag, and when he gets home: they're not there. etc etc Containers within containers within containers you get the picture. So after all this travel, he's thirsty, and goes to a drinking fountain. (Long buildup about his getting to the drinking fountain, bending down...)
Joketeller: He hits the button, and guess what comes out of the fountain spout?
Audience: GLOWBALLS!?!?!
Joketeller: No, water!

There's another about a duck that keeps going into Agway asks, "Got any duck food?" They don't, and the proprietor gets annoyed every day: "No, we're an Agway, of course we don't have any duck food!" (According to my web searches just now, Agway DOES carry duck food. Substitute a Starbucks or similar for your purposes.) On the 5th/8th/nth day, the cashier says "Listen, if you come into my store one more time asking for duck food, I'm going to nail your feet to the ground!" Duck comes in the next day, asks "Got any nails?" "No, we're an Agway, of course we don't cary nails!" "... Got any duck food?"
posted by knile at 12:33 PM on August 26, 2009

St. Peter has to run an errand and asks Jesus to cover the Pearly Gates for him one day. "It's not too hard," says St. Peter. "Just ask them a few questions about their life -- what they did, their family, that sort of thing."

So Jesus opens the gates and starts talking to people, sending some down and letting others in. He's getting to the end of the day when he sees an old man shuffling up.

"Tell me about yourself, good sir."

"Well, I was alone for a long time. But a miracle happened! I hadn't even been with a woman, but I had a son! And not only that, he did amazing things -- miraculous things! He was famous! But then, tragedy struck me: he was taken away from me at a young age. But then yet another miracle happened! He came back to life! And he did things even more amazing than before!"

Jesus can't believe what he is hearing. He decides to ask another question. "And what job did you have when you were alive?"

"I was a carpenter," says the old man.

Jesus can't take it anymore. He kneels down and looks into the man's eyes and says, "Father?"

And the old man squints and says, "Pinocchio?"
posted by Madamina at 8:50 PM on October 20, 2009 [16 favorites]

Oh god I know so, so many of these. I even tried writing a spec screenplay based around one before running out of steam because that might not have been the most well-conceived idea I've had in my life come to think of it.

The first one I learned from my much older brother when I was about twelve. His friend, who later starred on Austin Stories, is credited with making it up when they were teenagers listening to the radio have a "punchlines with no set-ups" contest. Print won't do it proper justice, as it really requires the teller to get down the rhythm and patter and say it at auctioneer speed to get everyone in earshot to pay attention, so try to imagine it that way. It took me a while to master it.

"A bear walks into a bar and says to to the bartender, 'Hi I'd like a beer.' The bartender says, 'I'm sorry, we don't serve your kind in here.' The bear says, 'what? I'm just a regular bear, I'm outside all day, I'm hot, I'm thirsty, I'd like a beer.' The bartender says, 'noooo! You're a Scandanavian bear with hair! We don't serve your kind in here.'

"'Scandanavian?! I'm from Philadelphia! I'm just a regular bear, I'm outside all day, I'm hot, I'm thirstu, and I want a beer! And all bears have hair! What the hell are you talking about?' 'Nooo, you're a Scandanavian bear with hair I'd bet my life on it, and we most certainly don't serve your kind in here.'

"So the bear storms outside and kicks over a trashcan in rage and out pops a discarded Hawaiian Shirt! How the poor bear's fortunes have changed! So he pops on the shirt, heads back into the bar and tries again.

"'Hi, I'm just a regular bear, I'm outside all day, I'm hot, I'm thirsty, I'd like a beer.' The bartender says, 'I'm sorry, we don't serve your kind in here.' The bear says 'what? I'm just a regular bear, I'm outside all day, I'm hot, I'm thirsty, I'd like a beer!' And the bartender says, 'nooo! You're a Hawaiian Buy-in, and we don't serve your kind in here.'

"'A Hawaiian Buy-in? What the fuck is a... ARGGHHH! How can I even personify as abstract a concept as a buy-in? And this is just a damned shirt!' The bear rips off the shirt and starts screaming, 'I'm just a regular bear, I'm outside all day, I'm hot, I'm thirsty, I want a beer!' The bartender backs away from the bar and glares. 'Holy shit, it's another Scandanavian bear with hair.'

"The bear goes into a frenzy and runs down to the other end of the bar, where a comely young woman is serving the patrons at that end. 'I'm just a regular bear, I'm outside all day, I'm hot, I'm thirsty, I'd like a beer.' he says. 'Oooh, no, sorry sorry, but you're a Scandanavian bear with hair, and there are these strict policies, dontcha know?'

"The customers all nod in agreement and the bear mauls her to death and devours her.

"The bear then runs down to the first end of the bar and stares down the bartender. 'I'm just a regular bear, I'm outside all day, I'm hot, I'm thirsty, and I think I've proven that I'm willing to do anything now. Gimme a damn beer.' The bartender says, 'nooooo... we don't serve drug addicts around here.'

The bear says, 'what? no! I'm just a regular bear, I'm outside all day, I'm hot, I'm thirsty, but I've never used a single drug in my life!' and the bartender says, 'well, what about that barbituate?"

Say it out loud people.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:04 PM on April 8, 2010

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