Tips and guidelines for successful joke-telling; plus a sample of some pretty funny jokes!
Have you ever found yourself in an awkward social situation - perhaps thrust together with a group of near-strangers at your spouse's Christmas party - and there's that long, inevitable silence which seems to last an eternity? The acceptable decorum in cases such as this is to talk about world news, some local event, sports, the weather, or to try and ask questions to show your interest. This is great. But, face it, it can get rather dull at times. A great alternative to trite chit-chat could be to casually tell a joke. Now, before all of you reading this groan in unison, I do have some disclaimers:
- don't wear out your welcome (i.e. don't go on and on and on, thinking you're the event's entertainment);
- know your audience (i.e. before you tell a lawyer or blonde joke, for example, make sure no one is going to be offended, even if it is not meant personally);
- be sure the timing is right (not a good time to tell a "St. Peter/Pearly Gates" joke when your wife's co-worker's father has just passed away);
- and, don't interrupt a flowing conversation to tell a totally-non-related joke.
In any event, knowing how and when to tell a joke can mean the difference between sitting in awkward silence, and bringing a little levity to the situation. Along with the four "ground rules" of joke-telling I've laid out above, it's also a good idea to keep these other pointers in mind:
- know the joke you're trying to tell...bumbling the punch line is no fun for anyone;
- keep it clean;
- be respectful
- don't "ham it up" like you're one of those annoying comedians on stage;
- try to make the joke your own; for example, instead of a predictable preamble like "did you hear the one about...", say something like, "I totally know what you mean. The other day...", or something similar as a segue, and then insert the joke;
- never tell a racist joke;
- and, finally, keep it short while maintaining the salient elements of the story line.
So these are the basics of how to tell a joke, and next are 30 great jokes you can repeat. . . to anyone, or, as my title suggests, almost anyone. (Not all people appreciate all forms of humour.) When in doubt, leave it out! (Author's note: None of the following jokes are meant to discriminate against any person or group of people; this is meant purely in fun, and the content contains no profanity or racial remarks.)
1. What’s the difference between an on-line poker player and a large pizza? The pizza can feed a family of four.
2. You can buy anything on eBay. I bought the world’s oldest globe: It’s flat. (Buzz Nutley)
Doctors and Lawyers and Artists...
3. A young up-and-coming surrealist artist had just had his first exhibition at a prestigious gallery, and asked the curator if anyone had shown any interest in his canvasses. “Well, I’ve got good news and bad news,” said the curator. “The good news is that someone has enquired about your paintings, wondering how much they’d appreciate in value if you died; he bought all of them.” “And the bad news?” the artist enquired. “He’s your doctor.”
4. A guy finds an old violin and an oil painting in the attic of a house he just bought. So he takes them both to an antique shop to see if either of them has any value. The dealer asks him to leave the items with him for a week. So, a week later, the guy gets a phone call from the dealer. “Well, I’ve had both the violin and the painting appraised and I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that you have a Stradivarius and a Rembrandt.” “So what could possibly be the bad news?” asks the customer. “Well...you see sir, Stradivarius never really made it as a painter...”
5. Two psychiatrists pass in a corridor. “Good morning,” said the first. The second walked on, muttering to himself, “I wonder what he meant by that?”
6. One weekend, a doctor, a priest and an attorney are out in a fishing boat. Their motor conks out and one of the oars drifts off. Just as the doctor is about to dive in to retrieve the oar, the boat is surrounded by sharks. “I can’t go now,” the doctor says. “If someone gets bitten, you’ll need my services.” “I can’t go, either,” says the priest. “If the doctor fails, I’ll need to give Last Rites.” “Fine,” says the attorney. “I’ll get it.” So he dives in, the sharks move, he retrieves the oar, then he climbs back into the boat. The doctor and priest look flabbergasted. The attorney smiles and says, “Professional courtesy.” (Reader’s Digest, September 2010)
Some farm humour...
7. An arrogant red rooster was giving chase to a fluttery little hen. To escape him, she scrambled to the highway and was promptly run over by a truck. Two old maids on a nearby porch witnessed the accident. “You see,” said one, with an approving nod, “she’d rather die.”
8. A guy drives into a ditch, but luckily a farmer is there to help him out. The farmer hitches his horse, Buddy, to the car and yells, ‘Pull, Nellie, pull!’ Buddy doesn’t move. “Pull, Buster, pull!” the farmer shouts. Buddy doesn’t budge. “Pull, Coco, pull!” Still nothing. Then the farmer says, “Pull, Buddy, pull!” And the horse slowly drags the car out of the ditch. Curious, the motorist asks the farmer why he kept calling his horse by the wrong name. “Buddy’s blind,” says the farmer. “And if he thought he was the only one pulling, he wouldn’t even try.” (Reader’s Digest, October 2010)
Regarding Politicians. . .
9. While Hillary Clinton is out jogging one morning, she passes a small boy with a boxful of puppies. Curious, she stops to ask what kind of puppies they are. “Oh, they’re all Democrats,” replies the lad. Hillary was so pleased that she had to run right home and tell her husband the story. About a week later, Bill Clinton is out for a jog along the same route when he, also, saw a young boy with a box of puppies. So, Bill stops and asks him what kind of puppies they are, to which the reply is, “These puppies are all Republicans.” Bill is kind of confused and asks him if he was the same boy that had told Hillary about his Democrat pups. The boy answers, “Yes.” “Well then, is this a new box of puppies?” enquires the President. “Nope. They’re the same puppies,” says the boy. So Bill asks, “How can they be Democrats last week and Republicans this week?” Came the innocent lad’s reply, “Last week, when they had their eyes closed, they were Democrats. Now that their eyes are open, they’re Republicans.”
10. A businessman, disappointed in his career, decided to volunteer for the first brain transplant. A brilliant surgeon offered him a choice of three samples from his brain bank: one from a leading brain surgeon at $10,000, one from a leading NASA scientist at $10,000, and one from a retired politician at $50,000. He enquired why the last one was so much costlier. “It’s never been used,” replied the surgeon.
11. Why do so many people take an instant dislike to politicians? Because it saves time.
12. What’s the difference between Premiere Campbell and a Lear jet? The jet stops whining when it reaches Ottawa. (This is Canadian humour. You could substitute any capital city and politician especially known for whining.)
13. There are two squashed corpses in the middle of a very busy highway. One is a dead rabbit, the other a dead politician. What’s the difference? There are skid marks in front of the rabbit.
The joy of aging...
14. Two sweet, old ladies are out for a Sunday drive. Mable is in the passenger seat, and Martha is behind the wheel. As they approach a stop sign, Martha doesn’t slow down at all and blows right through the intersection. A little farther down the road, Martha goes through a red light. When this happens a third time, Mable exclaims to her friend, “Martha! Why are you running all the red lights and stop signs?” Startled out of her calm repose, Martha replies, “Oh dear! Am I driving?”
15. An obviously distraught 75-year-old man is sitting on the steps of the library, crying his eyes out. A police officer sees him and goes over to offer his assistance. “What’s wrong, sir? Are you hurt?” asks the officer. Through his sobs, the old man manages to reply, “I have a very beautiful, 25-year old wife, who is madly in love with me, waiting for me at home in bed.” “So what’s your problem then?” asks the cop. “I can’t remember where I live!”
16. Three old friends are sitting around the table playing cards and lamenting the decline of their faculties. The first one says, “I think the worst thing is to lose your hearing. I am passionately fond of music, but now I can hardly hear a note.” The second one nods, but says, “Even worse, is to lose your sight. I have a large collection of beautiful paintings and photographs, but now my eyes are so dim I can barely make them out.” The third friend gives a rap on the table and says, “Well, knock on wood, none of these ailments have bothered me yet, so I guess I should count my blessings. . . hey, is one of you gonna see who’s at the door?”
17. While riding the train home, a woman is reading a magazine and is so astonished by a story on life expectancy, she turns to the stranger beside her and says, “Did you know that every time I breathe, somebody dies?” “Fascinating,” he answers, “ever try mouthwash?”
Just for fun...
18. Two vampires walk into a bar. One orders a blood, the other, a plasma. “Hey,” the waitress yells to the bartender, “I need a blood and a blood light.” (Reader’s Digest, May 2008)
19. I dressed my dog up as a cat for Halloween. Now he won’t come when I call him. (Reid Faylor)
20. There were three guys and a dog playing poker. One of them comments on how remarkable it is that the dog knows how to play. Another remarks, “Well, I don’t know – every time he gets a good hand he wags his tail.”
Light bulbs (Sorry...)
21. How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb? Fish.
22. How many Judges does it take to change a light bulb? None. The Judicial system hasn’t changed anything for years.
23. Why does it take three women with PMS to change a light bulb? Because it just does, all right?!?!!”
And, I can’t help but finish up with a few blonde jokes. . . because I’m blonde. . . and I can. . .
24. What does a blonde call a bottle of brown hair dye? Artificial Intelligence.
25. What do you call a brunette standing between two blondes? An interpreter.
26. What do you call a smart blonde? A golden retriever.
27. Why did the blonde take a clear lunch box to work? So she would know whether she was going to work or coming home.
28. How do blondes’ brain cells die? Alone.
29. What do you call 100 blondes standing in a parkade? A vacant lot.
30. Why are all blonde jokes one-liners? So men can understand them.
See my Related article on the Art of Fine Conversation.