Your favorite funny anecdote
October 11, 2011 2:32 PM   Subscribe

What's your favorite funny anecdote with a twist? I'm looking for short human-nature stories i can tell in under a minute. I prefer true stories but apocryphal is fine. e.g. I like this one. "For almost two centuries, Spain has hosted an enormously popular Christmas lottery. Based on payout, it is the biggest lottery in the world and nearly all Spaniards play. In the mid 1970s, a man sought a ticket with the last two digits ending in 48. He found a ticket, bought it, and then won the lottery. When asked why he was so intent on finding that number, he replied, “I dreamed of the number seven for seven straight nights. And 7 times 7 is 48.” as told by Michael Maubossin from an article by Stanley Meisler.
posted by storybored to Writing & Language (12 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
It might help to know what you need the stories for. Are you giving a toast at a wedding? Is this to break the ice at meetings? Is this to use at bars to pick up on people?
posted by mathowie at 2:47 PM on October 11, 2011

Not sure if this is what you're looking for, but I've been reading this quote every day for a week, and every day it makes me grin.

"Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters — sometimes very hastily — but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim: I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it."

- Maurice Sendak
posted by Specklet at 3:11 PM on October 11, 2011 [23 favorites]

In Germany when I was a child it was legal to pee on the side of the road as long as your back was to traffic.

Soon after we moved my mom saw this happening for the first time and being the outspoken crazy person she is, she rolled down the window and screamed "That's GROSS!!!" The guy just looked at her with a huge grin and gave her a one handed wave. My dad then said "You know hon, you just gave that guy the biggest complement he's probably ever gotten."

"Gross" is the German word for "large".

True story.
posted by TooFewShoes at 3:21 PM on October 11, 2011 [10 favorites]

It might help to know what you need the stories for. Are you giving a toast at a wedding? Is this to break the ice at meetings? Is this to use at bars to pick up on people?

I didn't have a specific purpose in mind other than sharing stories. I read the one I gave as an example in a magazine article and thought "that's pretty cool"...and i wondered if other people had similar stories to share.
posted by storybored at 6:05 PM on October 11, 2011

Supposedly true, from the book "Jazz Anecdotes" by Bill Crow (paraphrased):

A young trombonist was in a club with a combo, trying to play a well-known Tommy Dorsey solo "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You". Two grungy looking guys in fishing gear were laughing at him. He got angry, and delivered that favorite line musicians lay on critics: "If you think it's so easy, you come up here and try it."

Fisherman #1, to his surprise, comes up and takes the trombone. "How do you blow this thing?" After "getting straightened out" on it, he proceeds to play the solo effortlessly.

Fisherman #2 says "hey, give me a try," and does the same thing.

They leave the sputtering local player as they leave the bar, talking about how they ought to get trombones themselves.

They were, of course, semi-famous studio trombonists on vacation, Joe Howard and Lloyd Ulyate.
posted by randomkeystrike at 6:22 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

In 1942 when my Uncle Ron was in the army he was stationed for a time during basic training at a garrison in the north of England, quite possibly Catterick, although I couldn't say for sure.

The King and Queen (George VI and Queen Elizabeth) were due to visit the troops before they were sent abroad, and so there was much running around like headless chickens by all and sundry to make sure everything looked perfect for Their Majesties' inspection.

Because he'd been late for drill, Uncle Ron was ordered as a punishment to paint the markings on the parade ground. So, he got some white paint from the stores, and made his way around the parade ground, re-marking the lines that were almost faded away. As he stepped back to admire his handiwork, he kicked over the tin of paint, leaving a huge splodge of white paint, as if a giant pigeon had crapped in the middle of the parade ground.

There was no way he could clean it up, and he knew that if his Sergeant-Major saw it, he'd end up in the glasshouse and not get to meet the King. But my Uncle Ron was a bright lad, and, after a moment's panic, he had a flash of genius.

He ran back to the stores and got four planks of wood, all the same size. He set them out around the spilled paint, and spread the paint out to the edges. When the planks were removed, there was a perfect white square in the middle of the parade ground.

Fast forward 50 years. In 1992 Uncle Ron attended a regimental reunion at his old garrison. Much had changed about the place, the old tin sheds they used to sleep in had gone and the food was better but there was one thing that was exactly the same.

Right there in the middle of the parade ground, exactly where he'd spilled the paint 50 years earlier, and pristinely repainted for the reunion, was that same white square.
posted by essexjan at 2:32 AM on October 12, 2011 [4 favorites]

Isaac Asimov's Treasury of Humor has a lot of funny little anecdotes from his life mixed in with the other jokes, and it's quite cheap used. (Actually, most anything of his that was republished while he was alive is full of anecdotes in the commentary, he was an awesome guy!)
posted by anaelith at 9:07 AM on October 12, 2011

"Think!" is a musical piece composed by media mogul Merv Griffin. It was originally titled "A Time for Tony," a lullaby for his son of that name. Since 1964, it has been better known as the music for "Final Jeopardy," and Griffin said at one point that the brief little tune earned him more than $70 million in royalties.
posted by jbickers at 10:14 AM on October 12, 2011

When Hillary Clinton announced in 2000 that she would run for Senate, she wanted to play Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind" from the stage. Her staffer hit the wrong button and played "Captain Jack" instead, a song about drug use and masturbation.
posted by jbickers at 10:18 AM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Also, this.
posted by jbickers at 10:25 AM on October 12, 2011

Oh, that's a nice site, jbickers, thanks! And nice stories everyone, i luv em.
posted by storybored at 1:49 PM on October 12, 2011

This was in a sociology textbook of mine, presented as true. Don't know if I believe that, but it's always been a favorite:

In the mid-1930s, Nazis were still (more-or-less) welcome in America, and often traveled around trying to drum up political support.
One day, a Nazi, and American businessman, an old woman, and a teenage girl were all sitting in a train compartment when the train went through a tunnel. The lights went out, and in the darkness there came the sound of a loud kiss and a louder slap.
When they came out of the tunnel, nobody looked at anyone else.
The old woman was thinking, "I'm glad my granddaughter knows how to handle herself. She was right to slap whomever kissed her!"
The teenager was thinking: "My grandmother is so touchy. These are nice men, and it was just a little kiss!"
The Nazi was thinking, "These American businessman certainly are clever! He got a kiss and I got slapped!"
And the American businessman was thinking: "I certainly am clever. I kissed my hand and slapped the Nazi!"
posted by smoakes at 5:27 PM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

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