Luckily, there are enough parachutes for everyone. Evacuation is orderly.
April 22, 2010 9:05 AM   Subscribe

Need some new "broken jokes," please.

I'm a huge fan of "broken jokes," as typified by John Hodgman's "Jokes that have never produced laughter":

A duck goes into a pharmacy. He says to the pharmacist, 'I need some ointment for my beak. It is very chapped.' The pharmacist says, 'We have nothing for ducks.'

... but I need some new ones. I've got a bunch of links to web pages of broken jokes, but they're all several years old.

Got any new ones?
posted by jbickers to Writing & Language (99 answers total) 106 users marked this as a favorite
 
Take my wife, for example.
posted by ODiV at 9:08 AM on April 22, 2010 [10 favorites]


"Knock knock."

"Who's there?"

"Andy"

"Great! Come on in."
posted by googly at 9:09 AM on April 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


What's the difference between a plate of chili and a urologist?

One is hot and spicy, and the other is a medical specialist.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 9:12 AM on April 22, 2010 [9 favorites]


Not sure how new this is, but possibly you might not have heard it.


Q:How many blonds can you fit in a Volkswagen Bug?
A: ....
Q: (Before A can answer). That's not the point. The point is that you can exceed the manufacturers stated limitation, and the well-built German automobile will still function. Try doing that with a Ford; doesn't work, does it? This is why we have a trade deficit.
posted by logicpunk at 9:13 AM on April 22, 2010 [65 favorites]


I have a habit of following any story about a trip with "AND BOY ARE MY ARMS TIRED"; so, "I just took the G train up to Long Island City, then switched to the E to get into Manhattan... AND BOY ARE MY ARMS TIRED"
posted by Greg Nog at 9:21 AM on April 22, 2010 [25 favorites]


No, but what Hodgman is doing is fairly easy to replicate, should you wish to.

Start with a non-broken "joke", in a traditional format. Knock-knock, A guy-walks-into-a-bar, that kind of thing. It should be a very traditional premise most people are familiar with, otherwise subverting their expectations is impossible.

Functioning joke:

A horse walks into a bar. The bartender asks "why the long face"?

Why does this joke function?

Horses do not usually enter bars.

All horses have long faces, therefore assuming they are miserable as a result is pointless.

We can break the joke at either of these points, with slightly varying results:

A horse walks into a bar. The barman immediately asks the customers to remain calm and quiet while he attempts to placate the horse and lead it back outside to its owner.

A horse walks into a bar. The bartender asks "why the long face"?

The horse regards him silently and lugubriously, reflecting mournfully on the events of several years ago leading to his wife's affair and their eventual acrimonious divorce.

The second one is, to me, obviously funnier.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 9:21 AM on April 22, 2010 [16 favorites]


Q; What do you call an elephant with a long neck?

A: A giraffe!

(Comes from a 4-year-old, can you tell?)
posted by MonkeyToes at 9:21 AM on April 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


A rabbi, a priest and a metalworker are all at their respective jobs.
posted by CharlesV42 at 9:21 AM on April 22, 2010 [15 favorites]


Why did the blonde jump off the bridge?

Because she was depressed, asshole.
posted by amicamentis at 9:23 AM on April 22, 2010 [7 favorites]




From a Neil Hamburger routine:

"So, cloning has been in the news lately ... And with good reason -- it's a great idea."
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:25 AM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Q: What's the similarity between a banana and an elephant?

A: They're both the same color except the banana's yellow.
posted by philip-random at 9:26 AM on April 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


This McSweeney's page using the standard line of "I came here to do two things: ___ and kick ass, and I'm _________" fits the style of the John Hodgman jokes you linked to.

However, I did laugh out loud, so I'm not sure if you would consider them 'broken jokes'.
posted by amicamentis at 9:26 AM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wanna hear a knock knock joke?
Sure.
Ok, you start it...
posted by iamkimiam at 9:38 AM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


We used to have a "yo momma" joke contest around the lunch table in high school. The point being to tell the most off the wall version possible. One winner:

Yo momma got so many chairs in her house, that when she ask me to sit down I said, "No."
posted by frecklefaerie at 9:40 AM on April 22, 2010 [13 favorites]


Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
A: Because it's a timeless classic.
posted by Kskomsvold at 9:43 AM on April 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


Ask any 1st grader to tell you a joke and it will probably be broken. Take for instance this gem:

Knock-knock

Who's there?

Carrot.

Carrot who?

Carrot-Kevin!

(The kid's name was Kevin, and he was eating carrots.)
posted by too bad you're not me at 9:43 AM on April 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


My favorite from my sock-puppet:

Why aren't there any Mexicans on Star Trek?

Well, that's a highly debatable assumption. First, one only sees a small fraction of the Terran population on the show, so there is no reason to assume that any ethnic group is unrepresented in that vision of the future. Secondly, there have been several notable characters played by actors of Hispanic descent. Recently, these include Robert Beltran (Chakotay) and Roxann Dawson (B'Elanna Torres). Interestingly enough, Dawson seems to have changed her last name from Caballero, perhaps in order to reduce the risk of being typecast because of her ethnicity. Star Trek in general seems to be very progressive with respect to using diverse casts, as evidenced by the first interracial kiss on The Original Series, and the introduction of Chekov during the height of the Cold War.
posted by Kskomsvold at 9:45 AM on April 22, 2010


– Doctor, Doctor, it hurts when I pee.
– I'm going to refer you to a urologist. You may have bladder cancer.

A man walks into a bar and orders a triple whiskey. The barman refuses to serve him; he is a notorious alcoholic and trouble-maker.

A Catholic priest, a rabbi and a prominent atheist thinker are sitting in a pub. They have an insightful and good-natured discussion on the role of ethics in public life, then go their separate ways.

Yo momma so fat, she suffers from quite severe respiratory problems and I wish her and your family all the best at this difficult time.
posted by him at 9:47 AM on April 22, 2010 [26 favorites]


What's black and white and red all over?

This lithograph by Alexander Calder, which I find to be both playful and dynamic in its use of color and form, though on the whole I enjoy his mobile sculptures more.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 9:56 AM on April 22, 2010 [11 favorites]


Also, it occurs to me that the concept of the "broken joke" IS the joke in the old chestnut:

A man walks into a bar. Ouch!

You can elaborate on it to get the more "broken" effect--i.e., a man walks into a bar, which he had not seen before hand, and curses his nearsightedness as he rubs the growing lump on his forehead.

But it strikes me as interesting that the short version, at least, is a common enough one-liner.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:00 AM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


There once was a man from Nantucket.
He owned a sailboat.
I haven't seen him in years.
posted by Kskomsvold at 10:02 AM on April 22, 2010 [10 favorites]


There are some good ones from this long-dormant Twitter account:

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
A: Being run over would be a merciful release from the horrors of factory farming, America's shame.
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:05 AM on April 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


i_am_joe's_spleen posted these 'German' jokes quite a while ago and they seem to match your definition of a broken joke.
posted by slimepuppy at 10:06 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't really tell this type of joke, but a variation used to be one of my favorites in college: say "Knock knock" and then when the other person says "Who's there?" just stare at them, unblinking, unsmiling (not frowning or stern, but blank). Don't say anything. Breath entirely through your nose as minimally as you can. Do this for as long as you can, like at least 10 minutes. Only do this with close friends. It works great on car trips, waiting in line, and seated next to them on rollercoasters. It'll really fuck them up.
posted by Damn That Television at 10:09 AM on April 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
...The Dinosaur.

What I especially enjoy about this joke is that it actually makes sense as chickens are, most likely, descendants of dinosaurs. Grin! That joke...? It's a thinker!
posted by 2oh1 at 10:09 AM on April 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


I used to know a guy who would ask "What did one humpback whale say to the other?" and when you said "I dunno, what?" he would just stand there making imitation humpback whale noises until people started laughing out of sheer awkward disbelief.
posted by dorque at 10:10 AM on April 22, 2010 [27 favorites]


"Knock knock."
"Who's there?"
"Hello and thank you for opening the door. I'm a Jehova's Witness, and I'd like to take a moment to tell you about JEYZUS!"
posted by 2oh1 at 10:12 AM on April 22, 2010


My 3 year old cousin told me this wonderful joke:

Cover your eyes.

It's dark isn't it?
posted by teleri025 at 10:12 AM on April 22, 2010 [16 favorites]


Admiral Haddock: Also, it occurs to me that the concept of the "broken joke" IS the joke in the old chestnut: A man walks into a bar. Ouch!

That's an interesting example. I'd argue that although the bar/ouch punchline does play on the listener's expectations of how a joke should work (making it like the other examples here), it also works on a linguistic level, making it a fairly traditional word-play joke.

In either case, the listener is the butt of the joke. In bar/ouch, the listener is being mocked for making an assumption about the meaning of a word based on its context. In a lot of the other examples here (ointment for the duck, chilli urologist, suicidal blonde), it's the listener's suspension of disbelief which is being targeted. In that sense, they're jokes about jokes, whereas bar/ouch is also a joke about words.

Why yes, I have thought about this too much. Why do you ask?
posted by him at 10:15 AM on April 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Have you seen Stevie Wonder's new house?"
No.
"Well, it's really, really nice."
posted by porn in the woods at 10:19 AM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


You'd probably like Portrait of Yo Mama as a Young Man. Most of the jokes run along the lines of "Yo mama is so fat...she's at significant risk for diabetes and other health problems. She really doesn't look well at all."
posted by electroboy at 10:19 AM on April 22, 2010


A white horse goes into a bar. He asks for a Scotch. The barman says, "aha, we have just the thing, a whisky named after you."

"What, Eric?" said the horse.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:28 AM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I shot an arrow in the air,
It fell to earth I know not where.

Actually, I've lost hundreds of f*&king arrows like that.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:29 AM on April 22, 2010


Courtesy of a tasteless coworker:

Q: How do you confuse a blonde?
A: Paint yourself green and throw forks at her.

Q: Why was the black man fired from the M&M factory?
A: Consistent late arrival & poor job performance.

Q: What's worse than finding a worm in your apple?
A: The holocaust.
posted by Aznable at 10:30 AM on April 22, 2010 [15 favorites]


Q. Why is there no aspirin in the jungle?

A. Because there isn't a sufficiently dense patient population nor the manufacturing and dispensing infrastructure to make distribution of painkillers commercially sustainable.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:31 AM on April 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


One day, I was changing a lightbulb when heard a "knock, knock" at the door. I answered with a "who's there" and on the doorstep was an Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman. We crossed the road and walked into a bar. Then I realised, my life was just one big joke, turned on my heel and walked out in front of a bus.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:35 AM on April 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Q. What do you call a deer with no eyes?

A. What kind of a sick f*&k thinks a joke about animal suffering is in any way funny?
posted by MuffinMan at 10:36 AM on April 22, 2010


Q. Why did Helen Keller fail her driver's test?
A. Because she couldn't see.
posted by moviehawk at 10:39 AM on April 22, 2010


So I was talking the other day about our wedding to my wife of 14 years.

And that's quite old for a filipina by the way.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:43 AM on April 22, 2010


In high school, we would use this broken joke on school trips and such.

This guy is driving down the road with his arm around his girlfriend. He's going 70 miles per hour, when he notices a curve up ahead. He's getting closer and closer; when he's just about at the curve he turns to his girlfriend. You know what he does? He slows down to 50."

[that "punchline" is delivered with a nudge-nudge-wink-wink]

One of us would tell this thing, and the rest would start laughing. Usually, we'd get some "What's so funny?" from somebody, so we tell it again. They don't get it, so it gets repeated, with the punchline repeated even more slowly "Get it? He slows down to 50? 50?" Almost every time, they start laughing after a couple of repetitions [usually with a light-bulb-style "oh, yeah! ha-ha-ha-ha"], and more people get involved ["Hey, you've got to hear this!"] and often you could get half of a school bus laughing hard at this piece of nothing.
posted by chazlarson at 10:50 AM on April 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


This Achewood strip came to mind.
posted by evisceratordeath at 10:51 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Admiral Haddock: Also, it occurs to me that the concept of the "broken joke" IS the joke in the old chestnut: A man walks into a bar. Ouch!

That's an interesting example.


Actually, I would argue that Admiral Haddock's example isn't broken. In my view, since we're way over the beanplate line on this anyway, is that what makes a joke work, is a shift in meaning. It's like a fork in the road, and you take the turn off the beaten path.

In Admiral Haddock's example, the double meaning of 'bar' gives an opening for the meaning shift (and hence humour), AND then that meaning shift is taken. In my view, the joke therefore 'works'.

You can use this to break your own jokes, but the framework that I'd propose is a bit different than suggested above. In order to have a broken joke, you just need to set up the opportunity for meaning shift in such a way that the potential for the shift is abundantly apparent, and then fail to take the shift. Voila, broken joke.
posted by kch at 10:54 AM on April 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Unfogged had a post that started:
You know, I heard your mom's so ugly, that when she was in high school, all the other kids made fun of her, sometimes playing really exorbitantly cruel pranks (like one of the popular kids would pretend to be her friend, and then humiliate her in public after inflating her hopes as much as seemed possible), so that she was depressed for much of her youth and even after graduation, and was convinced for a long time that no man would ever really be interested in her.
And went great guns along those lines in the 262 comments.
posted by Jasper Fnorde at 11:16 AM on April 22, 2010


A man is describing a lion hunt to his friends at the bar:

"I had to sneak up on a lion so I could get a good shot. I crawled slowly and silently through the tall grass, being careful not to startle him. Just as I parted the bushes to raise my weapon and shoot, the lion leapt toward me and UHHHHHHHHH!!!! I shit my pants!"

One of his friends says "Well it's a perfectly normal reaction when coming face to face with the king of all beasts to shit yourself. I know I would have!"

The man says "No no - you don't understand. Just now? When I went UHHHHHHHHH!!!!? I shit my pants."
posted by Kskomsvold at 11:19 AM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Admiral Haddock: Also, it occurs to me that the concept of the "broken joke" IS the joke in the old chestnut: A man walks into a bar. Ouch!

That's an interesting example.

Actually, I would argue that Admiral Haddock's example isn't broken.


On further reflection, I agree that it may not be broken, in that it operates on the wordplay inherent in the double meaning of "bar" here. What I think all of these "broken" jokes share is the deflation of the listener's expectations; they are each jokes in that regard. I laughed at most of them.

In each there is a quotidian non-joke punchline to a familiar set up. The bar/ouch one works because of the double meaning, but, in essence, it's the same idea.

Fascinating conversation, though, and funny jokes. Keep 'em coming.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:24 AM on April 22, 2010


"What do you call a black man flying an airplane?"
"I don't know, what?"
"A pilot, you fucking racist."
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:32 AM on April 22, 2010 [11 favorites]


Here's one I invented that seems to have circulated a bit:

"Knock knock."
"Who's there?"
"Interrupting cow."

[the most awkward pause either of you will ever endure]

"... interrupting cow who?"
"Interrupting Cow Rodríguez."
posted by decagon at 11:38 AM on April 22, 2010 [15 favorites]


And one I heard from someone else:

Q: "Wanna hear a knock-knock joke?"
A: "Sure."
Q: "Okay, you start."
A: "Knock knock."
Q: "Who's there?"
A: "..."
posted by decagon at 11:39 AM on April 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


Q: "Why was seven afraid of eight?"
A: "Because seven eight... wait. Okay, why?"
Q: "Because eight nine ten."
A: "..."
posted by decagon at 11:41 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


"What do you call a black man flying an airplane?"
"I don't know, what?"
"A pilot, you fucking racist."


This is an interesting example, because the joke seems surely more broken if the punchline were just "A pilot." The "you fucking racist" strikes me as overbreaking, and veering back into a traditional comic role of shining a light on uncomfortable subjects, in this case, racism. Most of these other jokes get to their punchline and just sort of sit there, but the pilot joke actually has a barb to it.

An eighty year old man walks into a church confessional and tells the priest, "Father, I just had sex with two 16 year olds" "I see," said the priest. "When was your last confession?" "I've never had a confession before--I'm Jewish," replied the man. "In that case, my son, why are you telling me?"

"To be honest, Father," said the man, "I've always been uncomfortable with my religion, and I think that my anxiety about my faith has led me to do many wrongs in my life, including this shameful encounter with those young women, and I think the Catholic church may have some of the answers I've been looking for all my life." He then quietly wept.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:57 AM on April 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?

A: Chickens can't communicate in any way that is meaningful to humans, so we really can't be sure. Perhaps it was looking for food or avoiding a potential menace.

Q: Why did the elephant fall out of the tree?

A: Gravity.

Q: What do you call ten thousand lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?

A: Ten thousand lawyers that have drowned, or been crushed by the pressures of the depths, or possibly both.

Q: How many [fill in the blank]s does it take to change a lightbulb?

A: One, assuming a certain minimal level of manual dexterity.

Q: What's black and white and red all over?

A: A deck of playing cards, among other things.

Q: How does a blonde change the oil in her car?

A: She either takes it to an oil change service, or puts an oil pan underneath the car, removes the plug, lets the oil drain out, replaces the plug, changes the filter, and replaces the oil. (Procedure may differ depending on the blonde's make and model of car.)

Thanks, I'll be here all week. After all, I work here.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:04 PM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


A topical, in-thread broken joke from yours truly.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:07 PM on April 22, 2010


It's worth noting that "Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side" is itself a broken joke.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:08 PM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


One of us would tell this thing, and the rest would start laughing. Usually, we'd get some "What's so funny?" from somebody, so we tell it again. They don't get it, so it gets repeated, with the punchline repeated even more slowly "Get it? He slows down to 50? 50?" Almost every time, they start laughing after a couple of repetitions [usually with a light-bulb-style "oh, yeah! ha-ha-ha-ha"], and more people get involved ["Hey, you've got to hear this!"] and often you could get half of a school bus laughing hard at this piece of nothing.
No soap radio!.
posted by zamboni at 12:19 PM on April 22, 2010


Me : "Say knock knock."
Victim : "Knock knock."
Me: "Who's there?"
Victim : (confused)
posted by Afroblanco at 12:22 PM on April 22, 2010


Q : What do you call a black lawyer?
A : A lawyer, you racist fuck!
posted by Afroblanco at 12:28 PM on April 22, 2010


Also --

Q : Why did my friend just name his cat Chairman Meow?
A : Because it killed 20 million people.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:29 PM on April 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Q: How many mice does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

A: Two.
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 12:36 PM on April 22, 2010




I was first introduced to this by Mad and their Non-Jokes. I'm pretty sure that I read the article billy_the_punk talks about here back in the mid-90s. But I do love these jokes:
The town was so small, the Ferris wheel was painted green!

She was so fat, her sister worked for the phone company!

I come from a town so small, the hooker wore a helmet!

I went out with this girl that was so fat, I didn't know whether to take her to a movie or to a Met game!

My wife talks so much, when she coughs it costs me $22!

Our town was so small, the police precinct had a screen door!

She's so fat that when she leaves a nude beach, she has to show a receipt!

My school was so rough, the yearbook was shaped like a canoe!
posted by Kattullus at 12:40 PM on April 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


Why can't Fred sing?
He's a goldfish.

Why can't Todd turn around in the hall?
He's driving a tractor.
posted by zamboni at 12:56 PM on April 22, 2010


I learned this from Stephen Fry:

Holding both your right and left hands on your hips with your elbows out, begin to recite "I'm a little teapot". Indicate one elbow as your handle, then look to the other one and say "oh bugger, I'm a sugar bowl".


I just did this with my co-workers, and it worked a little too well: my labmate interrupted me before I got to the punchline to point out that I did not, in fact, have a spout, but two handles. Clever girl.

Next time if such interruptions persist, I will be ready to say, "huh, I guess I'm actually a sugar bowl".
posted by Cold Lurkey at 1:06 PM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Knock Knock

Who's there?

Interrupting worm

Interrupting worm who?

...
posted by Miss Otis' Egrets at 1:33 PM on April 22, 2010


I loved Pastabagel's take on the "yo mamma" joke:

Your momma so fat that one day she got sick and had to go to the hospital. Her young son and daughter stayed with her there and watched her fall asleep. But she didn't wake up. The doctors said it was a diabetic coma, and that there was nothing they could do. Her little children stood at her bedside and slip from the coma and pass away.

She was their whole world, their safe harbor. Now momma was gone and it broke their hearts. Yes, momma was fat, but she tried so hard and she never gave up on them. Not once. When she was laid off last November, her son and daughter were sure there'd be nothing for them that Christmas. And they were okay with that, because as momma said still they had each other against all the world, and that was all you ever needed was a strong family. But one night that December they saw momma pull a jar full of crumpled bills and coins from behind the stove, and a week later they had new toys under the Christmas tree. Even though momma got paid next to nothing, she still managed to save for the rainy days.

Now the little boy and girl are all grown up and have little boys and girls of their own. But they still miss their momma. Especially on the rainy days.

posted by Rhaomi at 1:43 PM on April 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


Q: what's brown and sticky?
A: a stick.
posted by Freen at 2:20 PM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I am a big fan of the situational Your Mom joke, turned around to not be about how I am having sex with your mom.
Unwitting victim: It was very surprising.
Me: I surprised your mom last night! I walked into the kitchen and she jumped really high and I was all "Oh, sorry, didn't mean to startle you!" I walk really quiet.
UV:....

My husband tends to do this, then turn them around to be about sex again. Double-reverse-your mom jokes. I prefer the single-entendre version, because I enjoy confusing people.
posted by Adridne at 3:47 PM on April 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Marxist-Socialist jokes from McSweeney's.
posted by Gilbert at 4:07 PM on April 22, 2010


New York, New York: a city so nice, they named it again.
posted by Gilbert at 4:12 PM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Another McSweeney's link: Terrible Poetry Jokes.

Wordsworth and Coleridge are watching the Lakers game. They can't get service at the crowded bar. Coleridge smiles and says to Wordsworth: "Lager, lager everywhere, and I can't get a drink." Wordsworth says to Coleridge: "I have pleurisy."

****
A horse walks into a bar where Walt Whitman and Ezra Pound are drinking.
BARTENDER (to horse): Why the long face?
WHITMAN (to everyone): I, too, am a horse.
POUND (to Whitman): Shut the fuck up.

posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 4:17 PM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why does this thread have 4 links to McSweeney's?

Because that publication seems to specialize in exactly the kind of joke you're looking for.
posted by Jaltcoh at 4:31 PM on April 22, 2010


New York, New York: a city so nice, they named it again.

I’m a poet, and I didn’t even know that I am one.
posted by Widepath at 4:44 PM on April 22, 2010


Here's a ton.

I like: So, there were an Irishman, an Englishman and an American wrecked on an island. One day, they found a bottle, and when they opened it, a ghost came out and offered them each a wish. However, even though they wished for different stuff, nothing happened, as the three guys of varying nationalities were just having shared hallucinations from hunger.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:42 PM on April 22, 2010


Damn, y'all gonna make me type out one of my Dad's favorites.

The local small town ladies' cultural committee decided they needed to get something big, someone of note to come to town - it was decided that they could host a reading of great literature. It also happened that Sir Lawrence Olivier would be in the region, and through a series of circumstantial connections, they were able to contact his agent, and he agreed to come for one night.

The ladies were very excited, and there was a great deal of publicity and excitement about Mr. Olivier's appearance. The big night arrived, and after the hubbub of locals had thanked each other on stage, Mr. Olivier climbed the steps and took the microphone.

"To be...or not to be...", he began in a booming voice, when a voice cried out from the back.

"I want to hear Melancholy Baby!" It was the town drunk, leaning precariously in the door.

Sir Lawrence ignored the intrusion, and continued,"...to be or not to be....that is the question..."

The drunk hollered out, "Melancholy Baby! I want to hear Melancholy baby!"

Sir Lawrence was not one to be flustered by such amateurish heckling, composed himself, and started again.

The drunken heckler again demanded, "Melancholy Baby! You gonna sing, or not?"

Sir Lawrence realized he had to take the matter head on. In a stern and authoritative voice he announced ,"Sir, I am not going to sing Melancholy Baby, or any other tune you have heard in the local pubs. I was asked to give a reading, I am here to do my best at that, and I can solidly assure you that I will not be entertaining catcalls from the audience. If you would excuse yourself, please, I will continue - uninterrupted!"

The crowd heaved a sigh of relief. Sir Lawrence took a breath and was about to deliver the rest of the monologue, when the drunk blurted out,

"Well then! How about you show us your dick?!!"

posted by Xoebe at 6:19 PM on April 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


A man walks into a bar and he sees that the barkeep has a huge, round, Florida orange for a head. Shocked, the man asks “Hey buddy, what’s with that orange for a head?”

The bartender replies,

“When I was a young man I was walking down the beach and I found a magic lamp, and inside was a magic genie who granted me three wishes.

For my first wish, I asked to never be lonely again. At that moment a girl’s frisbee hit my feet, we struck up a conversation and we are still married going on 30 years.

For my second wish I wished to be content in my work for the rest of my life. The next day a long lost uncle died and left me this bar in his will. I have never been happier tending bar here and chatting with the regulars.

For my third and final wish, I asked the genie to give me a huge orange for a head."
posted by Widepath at 7:33 PM on April 22, 2010 [14 favorites]


A horse walks into a bar.

The bartender asks, "why the long face?"

The horse responds, "I have AIDS."




Q: What's worse than finding a worm in your apple?

A: AIDS.


AIDS breaks a lot of jokes.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:01 PM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was researching someone else's Beavis and Butt-Head question and came across this gem, from 0:44 to 0:59.

"Why did Mickey divorce Minnie?"
"Uhhh... I dunno, why?"
"Check it out, this is funny. Because she was... uhhhh. Doing Goofy."
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 10:35 PM on April 22, 2010


Brak's Comedy Gold from Cartoon Planet (aka That Other Space Ghost Show). First joke goes: "Who's that lady I saw you with last night?" "Oh, that was just my wife."

I'm pretty sure those fall within the actual definition of broken jokes, but Brak's amusement of his jokes is what makes the bit particularly funny.

And I have to say that many of the broken jokes in this thread had me in stitches, whereas the ones that veer towards actual jokes, or anti-joke jokes, are a bit underwhelming.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 12:51 AM on April 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why does this thread have 4 links to McSweeney's?

Here's another one: "Jokes." by Andy Richter.

Same idea as Admiral Haddock's "joke" about the elderly Jewish man who goes to Catholic confession.
posted by mullacc at 1:22 AM on April 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Q: Why does a fireman wear red suspenders?

A: They're part of the uniform.


Johnny: It was so hot today...

Ed: HOW HOT WAS IT?

Johnny: I was so glad I have an air conditioned limo.


A horse walks into a bar...

...but the door's too low and knocks his rider off.


A priest, a reverend, a rabbi and an imam all meet at the entrance to Heaven.

And some of them were badly disappointed.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:48 AM on April 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


This may not be truly broken, but there was an old Albert Brooks comedy album with a bit where he was on a radio talk show with people calling in asking him questions about being a comedian (actually, he was doing all the voices).

Caller: So how important is delivery?
Albert: Can't you go pick it up yourself?
Caller: Uh, okay...

Caller: What do you think is the most important thing in comedy?
Albert: Would you ask that question again?
Caller: What do you think is the most im...
Albert: TIMING!
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:53 AM on April 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Q: What's long and hard and full of seamen?

A: An engorged penis.

Thank you, I'll be here all week.
posted by motown missile at 2:52 AM on April 23, 2010


Buzz Killington from Family Guy does that. Example:
Buzz Killington: Oh, on the contrary, I've quite a mastery of the humorous yarn (laughs). For example, do any of you know the tale of how cornmeal came to be?
Cleveland, Quagmire and Peter: No, No, uh-uh no.
Buzz Killingon: Neither did the miller when he left his house that morning.
posted by Kattullus at 4:52 AM on April 23, 2010


Q: What do you get when you cross an elephant and a rhino?
A: A rhinelephant.

Q: What's green and smells like yellow paint?
A: Green paint.
posted by dephlogisticated at 11:45 AM on April 23, 2010


From the pen of Robert Benchley (if I recall correctly) ...

A man arrives at his boarding house in the wee hours of the morning, leading a horse. He brings the horse inside and starts up the stairs to the second floor. Finally, after making enough racket to wake the dead, the man manages to squeeze the horse into the second floor bathroom. As he does, the landlady appears.

"Was that a horse?" she asked. "Yes," he replied. "Well, why on earth are you putting it in the bathroom?"

"Well, tomorrow morning at breakfast everyone is going to be saying 'My goodness. There's a horse in the bathroom.' And I want to be able to say 'Yes, I know.'"
posted by John Borrowman at 12:32 PM on April 23, 2010


Emma Thompson's favorite joke:

"An elephant walking along the jungle path meets a mouse coming in the opposite direction. They stop and look at each other with interest. The elephant finally breaks the silence and says, 'Why are you so small?' And the mouse looks up and says, 'I've not been well.' "

When I first heard this it was from a friend, who had the mouse first asking the elephant why he was so big, and him explaining, IE, "Elephants are very large, as a rule. I was born this way," etc. Also I think the mouse said, "I haven't been well." Now my friends and I will randomly repeat this last line


Also:

A guy walks out of his house and sees a snail on the sidewalk. The snail looks up at him and asks, "can I have a moment of your time?"

The guy's in a hurry, so he's pretty irritated. He takes the snail and hurls him into the backyard as hard as he can.

The snail is nearly killed. His shell is split open, so he wanders around the garden for a while, trying to find another shell. Finally he gets settled again, and makes his way back up to the front of the house. Eventually, a year later, he makes it up onto the porch, and once again the guy walks out of his front door and notices him.

"Hey man," says the snail, "what-- what was that all about?"
posted by Isingthebodyelectric at 2:48 PM on April 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Ask me if I'm a dinosaur."
"... Okay. Are you a dinosaur?"
"No."
posted by jabberjaw at 2:51 PM on April 23, 2010


You know what happens when you assume? You are often correct if you base your assumption on sound logic and observation.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:43 PM on April 23, 2010


That reminds me of one I made up...

When you assume you make an ass of David Hume, noted Scottish philosopher.
posted by Kattullus at 8:04 PM on April 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


My favorite broken joke


A naked blond walks into a bar, with a poodle under one arm, and a two foot salami under the other. She lays the poodle on the table. Bartender says, "I suppose you won't be needing a drink." The naked lady says...
posted by will wait 4 tanjents at 1:41 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


This one is only sort of broken (it's funny if you get it, but almost no one gets it):

A duck walks into a bar. The bartender says, "Hey mister, your pants are down!"
posted by Eshkol at 8:04 PM on April 24, 2010


What's brown and rhymes with Snoop?
Dr. Dre
posted by porn in the woods at 10:02 AM on April 25, 2010 [7 favorites]


How do you get an elephant into a refrigerator?

Open the door and shove him in.

How do you get a giraffe into a refrigerator?

Open the door, take the elephant out, and put the giraffe in.

All the jungle animals get together and have a party, but one's missing - which one didn't show up?

The giraffe, 'cause he's still stuck inside the refrigerator!

You're running through the jungle, being chased by cannibals, and you come to a river infested with man-eating crocodiles. You can either be eaten by cannibals, or try and cross the river and be eaten by crocodiles. Which do you do?

You cross the river; the crocodiles are all at the jungle party!

Also, this one from my little sister.
posted by po at 2:57 AM on April 27, 2010


Q: What's the difference between an elephant and a dozen eggs?
A: If you don't know, I am not sending you out for eggs!
posted by jcruelty at 5:13 PM on April 27, 2010


Depending on the audience, this is either The World's Greatest Joke, or a Broken Joke:

{Someone/Something} walks into a bar; the bartender sez, "Is this a joke?"
posted by Tuesday After Lunch at 3:45 PM on April 28, 2010


{Someone/Something} walks into a bar; the bartender sez, "Is this a joke?"

That's more of a meta joke, if anything. (But I prefer the version that goes, "A priest, a minister, and a rabbi walk into a bar. The bartender goes, 'Hey, what is this, some kind of joke?'")

And something like the Dr Dre joke is a pun. A funny one, but still not broken. Think "Starts out like a joke, but doesn't end like one."
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 11:54 PM on April 29, 2010


TheSecretDecoderRing is right -- some of these jokes are missing the point (by having a point!).

Another example: the "What do you call a black lawyer?" joke isn't broken. It may be an innovative joke because it turns the tables on the audience, but it's still a joke. It's actually quite clever, because the listener is set up to expect a conventional joke, but their expectations are dashed by the joke-teller getting angry about the racist insinuation that the audience was tricked into making (namely, that there's something odd about a black lawyer). It does have a "meta" quality in that it plays on the very idea of telling jokes, but it's still not a broken joke. The listener doesn't experience any moment of "Wait a minute, what's funny about that? Oh, I get it -- what's funny is that there's no punchline."

A broken version of this joke would be:
"What do you call a black lawyer?"
"I don't know."
"An African-American attorney."
(Admiral Haddock made a similar point about the black pilot joke.)
posted by Jaltcoh at 1:27 PM on May 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sorry, the link for that last sentence should be:

(Admiral Haddock made a similar point about the black pilot joke.)
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:37 AM on May 14, 2010


RokkitNite's contribution to a limericks thread on the blue a couple of years ago takes the same kind of turn.
posted by logopetria at 3:38 PM on September 25, 2010


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