Hey, cmoj, tell that joke.
May 11, 2012 8:43 PM   Subscribe

What jokes do you know that absolutely depend on telling a good story?

Examples of current jokes I tell that fit the model. I'm not sure if it's an accident that all of these are pretty blue in one direction or another if told properly. Note that the joke may also depend on doing a good impersonation of some kind:

The Aristocrats
Norm MacDonald's Moth Joke (My favorite joke ever)
The Deaf Jewish Dog Joke. Mighta been Woody Allen, mighta been MetaFilter I got it from... i guess I'll relate a rough text version: Two guys and a dog are sitting around when one guy says to the other, "Hey, did you know my dog is deaf and Jewish?"

"How do you know?" the other guys says.

"Watch," so the first guy picks up a tennis ball from in front of the dog and tosses it across the room. "Fetch, boy."

The dog sighs and gets up and says, "Oh with that ball, always you're throwing it and it's bouncing! I don't know what you want from me I'm old! Maybe if you fed me a little better, with better portions. I see you with the schmalz in there! And me with kibble! Is a walk to much to ask? Oy." And with that the dog wanders into the kitchen and flops down.

"Okay, so how do you know he's deaf?"

"He thought I said, 'kvetch.'"
posted by cmoj to Media & Arts (45 answers total) 142 users marked this as a favorite
One night a man and a woman are both at a bar knocking back a few beers. They start talking and come to realize that they're both doctors. After about an hour, the man says to the woman, "Hey. How about if we sleep together tonight. No strings attached. It'll just be one night of fun." The woman doctor agrees to it.

So they go back to her place and he goes in the bedroom. She goes in the bathroom and starts scrubbing up like she's about to go into the operating room. She scrubs for a good 10 minutes. Finally she goes in the bedroom and they have sex for an hour or so.

Afterwards, the man says to the woman, "You're a surgeon, aren't you?" "Yeah, how did you know?" The man says, "I could tell by the way you scrubbed up before we started." "Oh, that makes sense", says the woman.

" You're an anesthesiologist aren't you?" "Yeah", says the man , a bit surprised. "How did you know?" The woman answers, "Because I didn't feel a thing."
posted by netbros at 9:04 PM on May 11, 2012 [4 favorites]

Nate the Snake

I have heard this stretched out to over 35 minutes...you'd better be a hell of a raconteur if you want to survive the subsequent beatings. :)

Seriously, it is fantastic when done well.
posted by gohabsgo at 9:07 PM on May 11, 2012 [7 favorites]

You might want to check out some of the old AskMes on "shaggy dog" jokes, which absolutely require storytelling. One I remember well is Jokes that involve the listener.
posted by Miko at 9:30 PM on May 11, 2012

"A man was on holiday in Kenya. While he was walking through the bush, he came across an elephant standing with one leg raised in the air. The elephant seemed distressed so the man approached it very carefully. He got down on one knee and inspected the elephant's foot. There was a large thorn deeply embedded in the bottom of the foot.

As carefully and as gently as he could he removed the thorn and the elephant gingerly put down its foot. The elephant turned to face the man and, with a rather stern look on its face, stared at him. For a good ten minutes the man stood frozen - thinking of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned, and walked away.

For years after, the man remembered the elephant and the events of that day.

One day the man was walking through the zoo with his son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to where they were standing at the rail. It stared at him and the man couldn't help wondering if this was the same elephant.

After a while it trumpeted loudly; then it continued to stare at him. The man summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder.

Suddenly the elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of the man's legs and swung him wildly back and forth along the railing, killing him.

Probably wasn't the same elephant."

I love that Norm MacDonald joke. The first time I heard it I was in tears from laughing so hard.
posted by littlesq at 9:32 PM on May 11, 2012 [15 favorites]

Just for clarification, are you looking for any other specific aspects? Because it'd seem like any joke with a long, detailed setup would inherently require it to be told well to maintain the audience's interest.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 9:33 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Fuck you clown.
posted by R. Schlock at 9:39 PM on May 11, 2012 [6 favorites]

In the movie 'The Aristocrats' (2005) about the aristocrats joke, Larry Miller tells another joke with the same structure about a US WWII veteran returning to Europe to get a piece of pie. Here is the youtube clip. Skip to 1:37 to get to the Larry Miller part of clip. Paul Reiser in the clip also mentions that Larry Miller is known for telling these jokes well, so maybe you can find similar jokes from his material (however, I think these are more of comic to comic backstage jokes)

Also I like, in the same clip, how Reiser describes the structure these jokes (at about 1:00 in the clip).
posted by Ommcc at 9:47 PM on May 11, 2012

Purple joke.
posted by mlle valentine at 9:47 PM on May 11, 2012

Lots of good examples on Old Jews Telling Jokes. (scroll down a bit and click "Show me all the jokes.")
posted by SisterHavana at 9:52 PM on May 11, 2012

Callback jokes require good story-telling in general, as you create a world or a situation with specific rules, so the callback works within the rules you previously established. The wiki link provided here includes an example from Eddie Izzard.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:16 PM on May 11, 2012

Another rendition of the clown joke.

It's probably my favorite joke ever. My version is longer and spans Johnny's lifetime training as a clown and reaching enlightenment upon a mountaintop in the Himalayas...but that's a story for another time. and too long to type up.
posted by AltReality at 10:35 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: "shaggy dog" jokes

I think what I'm asking for is not quite a shaggy dog joke. I think of a shaggy dog story as being a long winded thing that with a totally absurdist punchline. I'm talking about a punch line that hinges on the execution of a (possibly long) performance. Selling the depravity of the act makes the title, The Aristocrats funny. The deep depression of the moth makes the idea that he goes wherever the light is on funny. Etc.

Just for clarification, are you looking for any other specific aspects? Because it'd seem like any joke with a long, detailed setup would inherently require it to be told well to maintain the audience's interest.

This is true, but I'm going for something a little more specific. It seems what you're thinking of falls under the shaggy dog umbrella, but I want a close relationship between the performance of the story and the punchline. Like, if the moth goes to the doc and says, "I'm depressed," the doc says, "I'm a podiatrist," and the moth says, "your light was on," that's not funny (ok that's kinda funny), but the whole, "I don't love my son any more" spiel makes the light gag funny.

Jokes are hard. I hope I'm helping.
posted by cmoj at 10:40 PM on May 11, 2012

What about the one about the guy who's set to inherit his dad's fortune. He meets a gorgeous woman at a bar and tells her of his impending good luck. He asks her to marry him. She's suspicious and says she needs proof of the forthcoming riches. The guy takes the woman to meet his dying, billionaire father. She's convinced everything he said is true and three days later she becomes his stepmother.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 10:58 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Moth joke is a shaggy dog story, same with the Aristocrats. The moth doesn't go there because it's open, he goes because the light was on. The premise being that moths are attracted to lights.

These jokes work because of the build up. They leave the audience waiting, the more detailed you make the world of the joke the higher their expectations become. And then the punchline is nearly thrown away. If the moth joke was shorter, it's not as funny, it's the details that create a false expectation which is then subverted, that makes it funny.
posted by borkencode at 11:01 PM on May 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

Here's my personal favorite from Larry Miller -- the hippo joke. I think the set up is pretty free-form and if you can paint a really detailed, elaborate picture of the hippos in their surroundings the punchline is just that much funnier.

YouTube says that this was Johnny Carson's favorite joke. I don't know if that's true but by golly is it funny.
posted by That's Numberwang! at 11:05 PM on May 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

I once stretched the Sam Clam joke over an hour.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 12:06 AM on May 12, 2012 [4 favorites]

An elder couple was travelling across the country in their car. The wife was very hard of hearing. They pulled into a gas station with an attendant, who came up to the driver's window.

"Hi folks," he said, "What can I help you with today?"

"Fill her up please," said the man, and his wife said, "What'd he say?"

"He wanted to know if he could help, and I told him to fill up the gas tank," the man hollered.

"Oh," she says.

The attendant filled the tank, and came back to the window. "Will that be cash or charge?"

"Charge it please," said the man, and his wife said, "What'd he say?"

"He wanted to know if it was cash or charge. I told him to charge it!"

"Oh," she says.

When the attendant returned, he said, "I see from your license plates you're from Florida. I went to Florida on vacation once, and all I can say is I met a girl down there who was the lousiest lay in history."

The man nodded, and his wife says, "What'd he say?"

"Says he thinks he knows ya!"
posted by halfbuckaroo at 3:36 AM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

The brass rat is a classic.
posted by TedW at 3:56 AM on May 12, 2012

The peg with the wooden leg. You'd need to extend the "rescuing" bit.
posted by arzakh at 5:55 AM on May 12, 2012

Hahah, I clicked into this thread to post the moth joke, :). Everyone watch it if you haven't already
posted by User7 at 7:18 AM on May 12, 2012

Sam's had a rough day - his wife left him, he was fired - and he heads to his favorite bar, which is on the top floor of the tallest skyscraper in Manhattan. He downs a couple quickly, and then slows down, and just as he orders his third, a smooth-looking man sits down next to him.

"Rough day?" Sam nods. "I come here when I'm down, too."

"Yeah?" Sam asks.

"Yeah. I'm the architect of this building, and it makes me glad to see it. Want to know something neat?" Sam nods again. "I designed it in such a way that if you jump from this floor, over that balcony, the air rising off the street will catch you right before you hit the ground, and carry you up to the top of the building."


"No, I'll prove it. Hold on." The man jumps up, turns, and throws himself over the balcony. Sam screams and goes to the edge; he watches the man fall down, down, down, and then just when he should hit the street, whoosh! He's lifted back up to the balcony, where he gives Sam a grin.

"Oh my god," Sam whispers. "It's...that's amazing. I have to try that." He climbs over the railing and jumps. He falls down, down, down, and then just when he should hit the street, splat! He does.

The smooth-looking man looks down with disinterest and then goes back to the bar. The bartender looks up at him and shakes his head. "You know, Superman, you're really a dick when you're drunk."
posted by punchtothehead at 7:48 AM on May 12, 2012 [5 favorites]

It's late fall and the Indians on a remote reservation in South Dakota asked their new chief if the coming winter was going to be cold or mild.

Since he was a chief in a modern society, he had never been taught the old secrets. When he looked at the sky, he couldn't tell what the winter was going to be like.

Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, he told his tribe that the winter was indeed going to be cold and that the members of the village should collect firewood to be prepared.

But, being a practical leader, after several days, he got an idea. He went to the phone booth, called the National Weather Service and asked, 'Is the coming winter going to be cold?'

'It looks like this winter is going to be quite cold,' the meteorologist at the weather service responded.

So the chief went back to his people and told them to collect even more firewood in order to be prepared

A week later, he called the National Weather Service again. 'Does it still look like it is going to be a very cold winter?'

'Yes,' the man at National Weather Service again replied, 'it's going to be a very cold winter.'

The chief again went back to his people and ordered them to collect every scrap of firewood they could find.

Two weeks later, the chief called the National Weather Service again. 'Are you absolutely sure that the winter is going to be very cold?'

'Absolutely,' the man replied. 'It's looking more and more like it is going to be one of the coldest winters we've ever seen.'

'How can you be so sure?' the chief asked.

The weatherman replied, 'The Indians are collecting firewood like crazy.'
posted by jabes at 7:57 AM on May 12, 2012 [21 favorites]

The Pope was visiting a large city. During this visit, his mode of transportation was a limousine. As he sat in the back seat, he got a little bored. He asked the driver, "Could I drive the limo for a bit?" The driver was a bit shocked, and said .. "I'm not so sure that's a good idea." The Pope continued to plead for a turn at the wheel, and finally the chauffeur gave in.

As the Pope happily drove along, he saw police lights appear in the rearview window. He pulled over and greeted the police officer, "Yes, my son." The police officer, shocked, told him to hold on a bit, went back to his police car and radioed his captain.

"You're not going to believe who I have here." he told his Captain. "It's somebody big."
His captain was curious. "The mayor?"
"No. Bigger."
"Bigger than the president?" The captain said, "I give up, who do you have?"

"I don't know .. but the Pope's driving."
posted by duckus at 9:21 AM on May 12, 2012 [5 favorites]

Do these meet your criteria, OP? BEcause I feel like I could list another 20 similar jokes, but what they depend on is not storytelling, but just a setup + building the setup further + followed by a punchline that reverses expectations, often using "rule of three." to deliver the punchline when the expectation has been built through two or more interchanges. They have basic joke structure.

I really do think that it's the "shaggy dog" variety that are just about storytelling - because there really is no payoff in the punchline, the point of the performance is creating the engrossing story. In fact, people who can't tell a story well absolutely can't tell shaggy dog jokes, because the audience gets fed up with them and asks them to get to the point already.
posted by Miko at 9:56 AM on May 12, 2012

Isaac Asimov's classic The Death of a Foy.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:23 AM on May 12, 2012

Another in which the setup could be expanded indefinitely...

Sherlock Holmes and Watson are called to investigate a case way up in Yorkshire. As they travel north, it is getting late and they decide to camp in a field for the the night. After a long days' travel, both fall into sleep quickly and soundly. But in the middle of the night, Watson is suddenly roused by Holmes' elbow in his side.


"Yes, what is it Holmes?"

"Look! Look up there at the stars! What do you see?"

Watson thinks for a moment. "Well, astronomically I see that Jupiter is rising."


"And meteorologically I see that we can expect a clear day tomorrow."


"And I suppose, well, theologically it makes me realize that we are but one tiny speck in a vast and expanding universe. Why, Holmes; what do you see?"

"I see that someone's stolen our tent!"
posted by transient at 10:49 AM on May 12, 2012 [6 favorites]

Much like Fuck You Clown, Pink Pingpong Balls can be spun up to an adventure tale of how much effort the father goes through to get the pingpong balls.

But I just can get over the feeling that the real funny in every spoken joke comes from story telling ability.

A penguin has car trouble and pull into a repair garage. The mechanic pops the hood and tells the penguin to give him an hour to see what the problem is. The penguin walks around the neighborhood a bit, decided to buy an ice cream cone, and since he has no thumbs makes a mess of it getting ice cream all over his face. When he returns, the mechanic says "You blew a seal." The penguin responds "Oh, no, that's just ice cream."
posted by Ookseer at 4:09 PM on May 12, 2012 [3 favorites]

My favorite joke goes as follows:

A duck walks into a bar and orders a beer. The bartender is astounded by the talking duck, can't believe it.

"Dude, you're awesome, you should head down to the circus, they could use a guy like you." says the bartender.

The duck sits and thinks for a moment. "The circus, that's a tent, right?"


"And it's got a dirt floor?"

"Yeah," said the bartender.

"That tent, made of canvas?"

"I assume so."

"And no standing walls, right? They move all over and just set up the tent from town to town?"

"Yes, that's right."

The duck looked at the bartender. "Then what the fuck would they want with a plasterer?"
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 6:46 PM on May 12, 2012 [13 favorites]

A young boy approaches his teacher one day during recess.

He asks the teacher, "What does 'satin love' mean?"

The teacher grabs him by the ear, hauls him to the principal's office, and before leaving the office, tells him she never wants to hear him talk that way again.

The principal asks him what he said, that so upset the teacher.

He says, "I only asked her, 'What does "satin love" mean?"

Without another word, the principal spanks him with a paddle and sends him home, and tells him never to talk that way in school again.

So the boy goes home.

His mother asks him what he's doing home from school so early.

He tells her he asked the teacher a question she didn't like, and when he told the principal what the question was, the principal spanked him and sent him home.

His mother asked what the question was.

He says, "What does 'satin love' mean?"

His mother, horrified, washes his mouth out with soap, and makes him promise never to talk that way in front of her again.

Later that week, the boy is out in the back yard with his father. Mom's not around, so he thinks he's safe.

He asks his father, "What does 'satin love' mean?"

His father belts him and sends him to his room, makes him promise never to talk that way in front of him again.

So the boy decides that he has to be careful about who he asks.

He's in high school before he musters the courage to ask again.

He goes to confession, and says to the priest, "Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. I cannot get a question out of my head, and it seems like a terrible question, but I must know the answer."

The priest says, "What is the question, my son?"

He says to the priest, "'What does "satin love" mean?'"

The priest tells him that he does not know the answer, and that the boy must perform an act of contrition.

However, he believes he knows where the boy can find the answer.

"You didn't hear it from me, but if you go to a certain red house, in a certain part of town, they may be able to tell you the answer to your question." The priest gives the boy an address.

The boy thanks the priest, prays a bit longer in the church, and goes on his way.
He goes straight from the church to the red house across town, and knocks on the door.

A woman answers the door, and says, "What do you want, young man?"

He tells the woman that he has a question, and he heard that the answer might be here.

"Ask your question", she says.

"Couldn't I come inside, first? I don't want anyone to overhear."

She lets the boy inside.

"Ask", she says.

He looks around, and says, "What does 'satin love' mean?"

The woman looks outraged, but she says nothing for a long time.

Finally, she opens the door, without a word, and points outside.

"Don't come back here again", she says.

The boy goes out, head low.

As he starts to walk back home, he hears a voice hiss to get his attention.

He sees a strange man standing in an alley.

He reluctantly approaches the man.

"Kid, you ain't gonna get nothin' in there! You gotta go to a classier joint than that to get anything good. I know a place." He gives the boy some directions. They're not too far, so the boy decides to go straight away. Before he leaves, he says,

"Hey, Mister."

"Yeah, Kid?"

"Do you know what 'satin love' means?"

The man screams at him and chases him down the street, shouting at him that he thought the boy had class, and how no classy joint's gonna let a bum like you in, and don't ever let me catch you here again, and so on, and so forth.

The boy follows the strange man's directions, and arrives at a fancy hotel.

He goes inside, and reaches the top floor of the hotel, and goes to the room the man told him.

He knocks on the door, and a very beautiful woman answers the door.

"Come inside", she says.

The boy hesitates, says he's afraid she will just throw him out again.

The very beautiful woman asks him what he wants.

"I just want to know, what does 'satin love' mean?

The beautiful woman says nothing. The boy turns to go, head low.


The boy stops.

The beautiful woman approaches him.

She says, "I cannot answer your question. But I know who can."


"They are very far away. There is a brothel in Paris, France, where they can tell you the answer to your question." She writes an address on the back of a card.

As she hands him the card, she says, "I think you know, you can never return here again."

The boy nods, and he leaves, putting the card in his wallet.

The boy does not have enough money to fly to Paris on such short notice, and he can't borrow the money from his parents without telling them why, so he decides then and there that he needs a job.

He gets a job at a local car wash, and he saves his money for the rest of the school year, and all summer, and he signs up for French classes the following year, so he can get around on his trip.

He keeps working at the car wash the whole next school year, and most of the following summer, and when there are only a few weeks left before the new school year starts, he has enough money for a round-trip ticket to Paris, plus enough money to pay for a hotel, plus a decent amount of spending money.

He hopes it will be enough.

The boy books a flight to Paris, and he gets a cab from the airport straight to the address on the card he got from the beautiful woman at the fancy hotel.

He stands outside for a moment, before ringing the doorbell.

An old woman answers the door.

He steps inside, and says to her in his practiced French, "I have a question that I feel like I've been seeking the answer to for my whole life. I was told that I could find the answer here."

The old woman nods, but says nothing.

"What... What does 'satin love' mean?"

The old woman nods, but says nothing for a long time.

She answers, in English, "I do not know the answer. It seems the address on your card is a mistake. You should go to the house across the street, for I know they know the answer there."

The boy is so excited, he runs outside, runs into the street, and is hit by a garbage truck and killed.

The moral of the story is: Always look both ways before crossing the street.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 11:43 PM on May 12, 2012 [25 favorites]

Okay, I got one that I think fits what you're looking for. It is my favorite joke ever and I think depends primarily on how well the story is told. The basic outline, which can be elaborated on both thematically and in the details:

A penguin is living in the North Pole and starts to get a sense of wanderlust. He's bored with the same old tired routine of snow and fish. So he takes a chance and hops on an iceberg which winds up floating all the way to a beautiful tropical island, where the penguin decamps. He has the time of his life. Drum circles, hammocks, martinis, dancing until the sun comes up. Eventually though he starts to get homesick and decides that he'll leave. But before he goes he stops by the general store to pick up a souvenir. He's browsing around confused and finally decides to ask the clerk for a recommendation. The clerk sighs and gives the penguin a look, like he's seen more than his share of touristy penguins, and says, "I dunno, penguin, what about a thermos?" and the penguin is like, "Yeah! A thermos! What's it do?" and the clerk, exasperated, is like, "It keeps hot things hot and cold things cold, penguin." So the penguin buys his souvenir, hops back on the iceberg and travels up to the North Pole where he regales the penguins with his stories of tropical island life. Finally, he's like, "And! I brought you guys back a souvenir, this thermos!" And all the penguins are like, "Yeah! Neat! What's it do?" And the penguin is like "Keeps hot things hot and cold things cold." And the penguins are all clamoring to get a better look, and one penguin is like, "What'd you put in it?" And the traveling penguin replies, "Some soup and a popsicle."
posted by ajarbaday at 3:03 PM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

From another shaggy dog joke thread, my favorite joke. I hope it is what you are looking for:

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 for a head.'
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 4:49 PM on May 17, 2012 [14 favorites]

Fuck You Clown was my husbands favorite joke to tell. He could tell it so well that I never tired of hearing it. If you are telling it to a group, pick one person that you are telling the joke to, it's important for the ending. Make eye contact with everyone a little bit of course, to keep them engaged, but focus on that one person you are telling it to. The key is to build compassion for the kid and tell the middle part about traveling the world and learning all the cultures with a sense of wonderment bordering on delirium. As you get to the punchline you should be calm and composed, like everything is right with the world. The only way to properly deliver the punchline, whether in an intimate setting with a few friends or in a restaurant full of people is to stand up suddenly, point your finger at the person you picked to tell the joke to and yell "FUCK YOU CLOWN!!!"

There is a not so fine line between having the ability to tell a "shaggy dog" joke and not. I can not. My husband was the master of it.

So, yeah, fuck you clown.
posted by mrs holdkris99 at 5:43 PM on May 18, 2012 [4 favorites]

I just realized Jay Thomas does this sort of thing every Christmas on Letterman, with his Lone Ranger story, although it's more an anecdote than a joke. But I can't find a good transcript, and am not about to try. (And it's kinda funny that a couple years ago, he actually forgot to include the last line.)
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 3:03 AM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

I found it online, and have repeatedly told this - the story of the man on the hunt for the best tea in the world. His travels take him worldwide — little inns in England and Ireland, tea stands in tea-producing regions like India or China — but while he finds several high points on the way, something spurs him to keep looking.

Over time, he keeps on hearing about the tea at this little town named "Mercy" in the Australian Outback, and one day he finally gets to go there and try a cup. It's exactly as good as advertised, and he spends an hour savoring it — but then as he is sipping the last drop, he is thrown by the sight of hairs lacing the bottom of his cup.

He complains to the waitress, who hems and haws a bit — and then admits that the hairs are supposed to be there; they are hairs from the inn's pet koala. It seems a few years back, some of his hair got into the tea, and it gave their tea a certain something — so it became a regular feature of the brew. And surely it was worth it, wasn't it? The man grudgingly agrees, but then says how disconcerting the sight of hair in the cup can be — so why don't they strain the hair out before serving?

The waitress indignantly replies: "Sir, the koala tea of Mercy is NOT strained!"

....Usually when I tell it, this joke a five minute monologue, complete with funny voices and acting things out. By the time I'm done the punch line gets me death threats. The best reaction came from a good friend who was in a completely different room while I told it (I was asked to help set up the sound levels for a stage show, and decided to just tell that joke as I skipped from mike to mike) - when I got to the punch line, and everyone else in the room was reacting, a moment later my friend who'd been working on lights in a completely different room walked in, walked up to the edge of the stage, and just looked at me for a full three seconds, then turned on his heel and walked back out of the room.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:52 PM on May 22, 2012

Earl the Polliwog. I think I read that in the original thread, and have told it many, many times. I can barely keep a straight face when I tell it, I personally find it so hilarious. But for some reason, FOR ALL THIS TIME, I had completely blanked on the fact that the story was being told in a bar by a guy with a giant orange for a head. I just thought it was some completely dadaist non-sequitur punchline. Well, dayyum!

For my contribution to the question - I find I can go for about half an our on fish-related puns alone during the lobster ball segment of the the crab and the lobster princess.
posted by Sparx at 8:15 PM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Okay, here's one my brother's friend made up as a teenager, and any entertainment value in it comes completely from the performance, as the punchline is awful (and in fact it was a joke made up specifically to fit the punchline, as per some radio contest a thousand years ago.) The way I learned it and tell it is to say it micro-machine-man-fast and build an odd sort of rhythm/rhyme scheme with it. Anyway, The Bear Joke:

A bear walks into a bar and says to the bartender, "hey, 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 outside all day, I'm hot, I'm thirsty, I'd like a beer!" The bartender says, "Nooooo, you're a Scandanavian bear with hair, we don't serve your kind in here." The bear says, "what?! I'm not Scandanavian! I'm a regular bear and of course I have hair, I'm a bear! I'm a regular bear, I'm outside all day, I'm hot, I'm thirsty, now gimme a beer!" and the bartender says, "Nope! You're a Scandanavian bear with hair, we don't serve your kind in here."

So the bear storms out of the bar and kicks over a trashcan and a Hawaiian shirt falls out. He puts it on and goes back into the bar.

"Hi I'm just a regular guy," he says. "I'm a regular guy who wants a beer." The bartender says, "I'm sorry, we don't serve your kind in here." "What?!" says the bear, "I'm just a regular guy, I'm outside all day, I'm hot, I'm thirsty, I want a beer!" The bartender says, "no, you're a Hawaiian Bayan, we don't serve your kind in here." The bear says, "what?! Is it the shirt?! No, I'm not Hawaiian, and plus, what the hell is a Bayan, is that just something that rhymes?" And the bartender says, "Sorry, you're a Hawaiian Bayan, we don't serve your kind in here."

So the bear rips off the shirt and runs across the bar and grabs a waitress and says, "I'm a regular bear, I'm outside all day, I'm hot, I'm thirsty, I just want a beer." And the waitress points to a sign above the door and says, "oooh, sorry. You're a Scandanavian bear with hair. We don't serve your kind in here."

And so he eats her.

The bear runs back to the bartender, mad as all hell, and says, "I'm just a regular bear, I'm not from Scandanavia, I'm not from Hawaii, I'm just a regular bear who's outside all day, and hot, and thirsty, and I want a beer, and now you've seen how serious I am." The bartender says, "I'm sorry, we don't serve drug addicts in here." The bear says "what?! I'm not a drug addict! I've never used a drug in my whole life!" and the bartender says, "what about that barbituate?"
posted by Navelgazer at 10:43 PM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ok, maybe it doesn't 100% rely on the way you tell it, but this is my favorite joke ever, and hamming up all the characters really does make it a lot funnier. The joke is The Refrigerator Joke, and the characters are St. Peter as a not so smooth fast talker just trying to stay out of trouble, Man 1 as an aggrieved, depressed cuckold, Man 2 as an energetic exercise fanatic, and Man 3 as a burly, hairy, Jersey dock loader type, puffing on a cigar.

So St. Peter is sittin' at the Pearly Gates and this guy walks up. Before the guy says a word, St. Peter goes, "Listen, you go ahead and tell me your story, that's the deal, but I gotta tell ya, the Big Guy is telling me I'm lettin' too many folks in, and it's gettin' crowded. So it'll have to be good."

The guy sighs, "My wife. 15 years we're married. Then I hear she's cheating. I dunno what to do. Finally I decide I have to know for sure. So this morning, I decide I'm gonna catch her. I leave work early, head back to our apartment. I even run up sixteen flights of stairs so she won't hear the elevator. I bust open the door....and there she is just sittin' on the couch, playin' dummy, askin me 'Whatcha doin home form work hon?' But I can tell. I can see it. I go crazy. He's hidin', and I'm gonna find him. I look everywhere. Under beds. In closets. But he's nowhere. I get so desperate I start looking in desk drawers. There's no guy. I'm a heel. I step out on the balcony to get some air, ready to turn around and give my wife the apology she so richly deserves....when I see these fingers. Fingers on the edge of the balcony. That sunuvabitch is HANGIN there, waiting for me to leave. No way. I step on his fingers, of course. He falls. And, this is crazy, I don't know how he did it, but he hits the ground - then gets up, dusts himself off and STARTS TO WALK AWAY. But I can't let that happen. I run inside and the first heavy thing I see is the refrigerator. I manage to push it out on the balcony and then over the rail and, well ... I think I hit him, but between the stairs and the fridge, I had a heart attack, and here I am."

St. Peter says, "Oh my Gawd, that's AWFUL! Terrible! You're wife cheating gave you a heart attack? C'mon in, c'mon in, we'll find some room, I think there's still a bungalow or something."

A little later a second guy walks up. St. Peter says, "Look, tell your story, but I'm already over quota, man, I can't promise anything, I'm in trouble as it is. But what happened? Why you here?"

This guy says, "I don't even know! So, ok, here's my story. I LOVE to work out. Love it. Every day. I do push ups, I do jumping jacks, stationary bike, all that. At the end of my workout I go out to my balcony, lower myself over the ledge, and do five pull-ups. I know, I know, it's kind of dangerous since I live on the 18th floor, but I just love it. So I'm doing that today, same as always, when all of a sudden I slip! Then, even crazier, I manage to catch myself the next porch down! Of course, I'm terrifed, and completely incapable of doing anything but hang there. I scream and yell til my voice is gone, but no one comes. Just as I'm worn out and about to let go, though, finally, I do see someone! But just as I think I'm saved, this guy starts STEPPING ON MY FINGERS! Well, of course I fall, life flashes before my eyes and all that...but then I hit some bushes, and miracle of miracles, except a couple scrapes and bruised fingers, I'm totally ok! I jump up, cross myself, and start to walk I don't even know where I'm still so dazed, when I see this shadow...and I look up, and there's a refrigerator coming at me. That's the last thing I remember."

St. Peter says, "Wow, you were just doin' exercises and then a fridge hit ya? Wow, no way the Big Guy will be mad about this, come on in, we'll put up some cots in the tennis courts or something."

A third guy strolls up, puffin on a cigar. St. Peter says, "Listen, we're really full, I just don't think -"

"Listen," says the guy. *Puff* *Puff* "So I'm hidin'." *Puff* "Naked." *Puff* "In this refrigerator...."
posted by solotoro at 7:58 AM on May 23, 2012 [4 favorites]

Earl the Polliwog, this is my favorite joke as well, and I tell people it's the only joke I know.

When I tell it, I make each of the genie's wishes mess up slightly - for the first wish, he wishes for unlimited money, but this money is always in swiss francs. for the second wish, he wishes that any woman he wants would be attracted to him, but it is only gorgeous women who are attracted to him, and not plainer ones. and for the third wish? "Well, I wished that instead of a head, I'd have a navel orange, but the stupid genie fucked up and gave me a blood orange instead."
posted by taltalim at 12:11 PM on May 23, 2012

Response by poster: Great jokes, everybody. My local bar has been groan central for the past few days.

This is from a mefite who preferred to remain nameless:
These two best of friends set out to hike the entire length of the Appalachian Trail together. You know how long the AT is, right? I mean this is a long journey.

Well it turns out they're not actually such perfect friends after all. It just takes a week or two of constant side-by-side companionship until they're at each other's throats. They're bickering, fighting, totally sick of each other.

One evening they sit down for yet another campfire dinner full of seething silence. One of them sits there fuming until he finally sputters out, "OKAY FINE ENOUGH OF THIS SHIT. TOMORROW, WE'RE GOING TO WAKE UP AND GO OUR SEPARATE WAYS. I WILL GO EAST. YOU GO WEST. WE SPEND THE DAY APART AND MEET BACK UP HERE AT NIGHT."


In the morning they eat their oatmeal while casting the occasional stony glares at each other and then head off.

As the twilight deepens and the crickets begin to sing they find themselves arriving back at their camp. They go through the motions of making their dinner and you can see that there's a little less tension in their bodies. In the flickering light of the fire one of them finally stops eating for a minute and said, almost sheepishly, "Hey."


"Listen, I'm sorry I've been such a jerk. It's just that l-"

"No, don't worry about it. It's been me too."

They resume eating in silence. Then after a few minutes:

"So how was your day, anyway?"

He sighs, takes a deep breath. "Actually, it was pretty good. I wandered off to the east for a while, maybe a mile, mile-and-a-half. Eventually I came to a small waterfall that was feeding a pool at the base of a huge oak tree so I just sat there and relaxed and watched the butterflies dancing around. Read a little bit of Thoreau. Very zen. It ... was nice."

"Sounds it."

"And you?"

His face perks up a bit as he says, "Well, I headed off west and eventually came to this old railroad. I dunno, old logging railroad? It was heading more or less in the direction I wanted so I walked along it and up ahead in the bend I saw something and didn't believe it but right there was a beautiful woman tied to the tracks."

"No shit?"

"No shit."

"What'd you do?"

"Well of course I ran over there and untied her immediately. Then I took her off in the woods and we had sex."

"Incredible! Did you get a blowjob?"

"No, I couldn't find her head."
posted by cmoj at 5:03 PM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

Here's my favorite, but I know of quite a few more.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 7:34 PM on May 24, 2012

Here's my favourite. If you're Scottish, I apologise in advance.

One night after a very pleasant evening in the pub, Donald and Angus are walking home. At one point, Donald has to take a crap, so he heads off into the bushes. A few minutes later, he calls out to his friend,

"Angus! Have you got any paper?" To which Angus replies,

"For fucks's sake, Donald -- leave it there!"
posted by sneebler at 10:37 AM on May 27, 2012

A Soviet scientist came to England for a visit. On the evening of his first day in England, he went to a restaurant. A waiter approached him and said, “Sir, here is a note for you.”

“From whom?”

“The table at the window.”

“But there’s nobody at that table.”

“Right. They gave me this note and left.”

The note was in English. “Translate it,” the guest said. The waiter read the note, his face became pale and he said, “Sir, it’s an ultimatum. You have just five minutes to leave. Please, leave at once.”

The scientist paid hastily and left. He returned to his hotel and asked the man at the front desk to translate for him the note. The man read it, his face displayed fear, and he said, “Please, Sir, you must leave our hotel at once! Hurry, please!”

The scientist hurriedly collected his belongings and left. In the street, he approached a bobby and asked to translate the note. The policeman read it, opened his mouth, and then said, “I am sorry, Sir, you must leave England immediately. Please, don’t argue, you have just a few hours to leave the country.”

Frightened, the scientist rushed to the nearest port, purchased a ticket, and boarded a ship bound for Russia.

When in the open sea, he made acquaintance with the captain who knew English. The scientist showed the note and asked to translate it. The Captain became pale. He changed the course of the ship, headed to an uninhabited island and told the scientist to leave the ship at once.

On the island, the scientist encountered numerous hardships, and barely survived until, three years later, another ship came by by accident and took him aboard. He returned to Leningrad, where he enrolled in the University to study English. After a while, already capable of understanding English, he remembered about the mysterious note, and found it on the bottom of a drawer. All characters on the note turned out to be obliterated by rain.
posted by [@I][:+:][@I] at 2:59 PM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

Nigel is standing at the bus stop on Sesame Street, waiting for the bus. The bus arrives, Nigel hops on and the driver says "Hi, welcome aboard, what's your name?". Nigel replies "I'm Nigel". "Great, go have a seat." The driver hands Nigel his ticket and he goes and sits down at the back.

The bus drives along the street, stops at the next stop. A very overweight lady steps on board. "Hi, welcome aboard, what's your name?" asks the driver. "I'm Patty." she replies. "Great to meet you Patty." And Patty goes and sits down at the front.

At the next top, another large woman comes onboard. "Hey, welcome aboard the Sesame Street bus, what's your name?" asks the driver. "My name's Patty" the woman replies. "Another Patty! Welcome aboard!" replies the driver. She takes a seat, and the bus continues down the street.

A few stops later, the bus pulls up and a young boy comes on board. "Hey there fella, what's your name?" asks the driver. "I'm Ross, and I'm Special!" says the boy. "Great to meet ya Ross, take a seat!" says the driver. And Ross goes and sits down by a window.

The bus continues around a bend, and pulls over at the next stop. A very old man, with grey hair and a beard steps on and goes to buy a ticket. "Welcome aboard the Sesame Street bus, sir, what's your name?" asks the driver. "I"m Lester. Lester G!" the old man tells him. He takes his ticket and goes and sits up the back near Nigel. The old man proceeds to take off his shoes, and socks, and start picking his bunions.

The bus continues down the street, approaching an intersection with a delivery truck runs a red light and slams into the side of the bus, tipping it over. Nigel manages to climb out the emergency exit, onto the sidewalk, bruised by okay. The police have arrived and an officer speaks to Nigel;

"Sir, are you okay? We need to know how many people are on the bus, do you know who they are?"

Nigel replies, "Yep, sure. Two obese Pattys, Special Ross, Lester G, Picking Bunions on the Sesame Street Bus."
posted by Jimbob at 8:34 PM on August 17, 2012

This frog goes into a bank and asks for a loan. The bank clerk, Patricia Whack, asks to see some collateral. The frog goes into his bag and picks out a snowglobe. Patricia says that is insufficient collateral for the requested loan.

The manager walks by and sees the frog. He bursts in and says "Wait a minute... You're Mick Jagger's son aren't you?"

The frog croaks.

Patricia says "So why is he trying to give me a snowglobe as collateral?"

The manager says "It's a knick-knack, Patty Whack. Give the frog a loan. His old man's a Rolling Stone"
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:43 PM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

(stolen from Drew Carey; you can spin this joke out as long as you care to, in order to maintain the mounting tension, etc)

There's a guy who lives in Ohio. One morning, he hears a voice in his head. The voice says, "Quit your job, sell your house, take all your money, and go to Las Vegas." He ignores the voice.

Later in the day, he hears the voice again. "Quit your job, sell your house, take all your money, and go to Las Vegas." Again, he ignores the voice.

Soon he hears the voice every minute of the day. "Quit your job, sell your house, take all your money, and go to Las Vegas." He can't take it anymore. He believes the voice. He quits his job, sells his house, takes all his money, and flies to Las Vegas.

As soon as he steps off the plane, the voice says, "Go to Caesar's Palace."

He goes to Caesar's Palace.

The voice says, "Make your way to the roulette table." He goes to the roulette table.

The voice says, "Put all your money on red 23." He puts all his money on red 23.

The dealer spins the wheel. It comes up black 17.

The voice says, "Fuck."


This next one, I originally heard in a much longer version which I can't find. But if you're a decent storyteller, again, you can spin it out:

O'Brien loved to play golf and would go out alone to a course and get paired up with any group that needed a fourth. One day he went to his favorite course and the pro said, "I'm sorry O'Brien, but the only group I can put you with is one with three Hasidic rabbis."

O'Brien says, "That's fine with me."

He joins the group and tees off. His shot is about 200 yards out and off to the right rough. Reb Moshe tees off 300 yards straight out into the middle of the fairway. Reb Yitzchak's shot is about 290 and Reb Yaacov's is 300, but slightly off center. O'Brien has trouble getting out of the rough and four-putts, while the rabbis' approach shots are right on the pin, and each two-putts for par.

The rest of the round is the same, with the rabbi's scores either par or under par, while O'Brien has a 95. He says to them, "You guys must play and practice all the time."

Reb Yitzchak says, "No, we study all the time and only play once a week. But, on our Sabbath, while we are in shul, we say a prayer asking G-d to give us one good round of golf each week."

O'Brien is so impressed that he goes home and tells his wife that they are converting. They study, convert, join a shul, and go to services every Shabbat. About a year later, O'Brien runs into the threesome of rabbis at the same course and they invite him to play with them.

Almost immediately, he sends his ball into a sand trap. This sets the tone for the entire game - once again, he gets defeated handily.

At the end, O'Brien says to the rabbis, "I don't understand it. I converted, I joined a shul, I pray every week."

Rabbi Moshe says, "You joined a shul? Which one?"

O'Brien says, "Beth Shalom."

Rabbi Moshe says, "Oh! Yeah. You want Beth Hakodesh. Beth Shalom is for tennis."
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 6:46 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

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