Archive for the ‘Jokes’ Category

The elephant and plum

April 9, 2021

Not Frog and Peach, but Elephant and Plum, in a kid joke as told by Ruthie in the One Big Happy strip from 2/22 (in my comics feed on 3/21):

(#1)

Four things: kid jokes, of which the Elephant and Plum variant above is a particular clever example; the saying about elephants on which it depends; elephant jokes, of which the joke above is not the classic Elephant and Plum exemplar; and the ambiguity of “When did you laugh at it?”, which turns on the defining property of deictic elements like the interrogative when.

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Don’t ask!

January 31, 2021

Today’s morning name, but it comes with crucial context. The Don’t ask! in question is not the neutral use of the negative imperative, advising the addressee not to ask someone about something (Don’t ask them about the ducks in the kitchen; that just makes them crazy), but instead is a formula of Yiddish-influenced English, normally used only by (American) Jews (or gentiles culturally close to this community), when someone has in fact just asked about the matter in question (the tsuris tsores ‘troubles’); the speaker doesn’t go on to avoid this sensitive matter, but instead embraces it, launching into kvetching ‘complaining’ about it.

The formula Don’t ask!  then serves as an announcement — a kind of alarm bell, if you will — that the speaker is about to go off on a (perhaps extended) kvetch.

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The library hookers and booze joke

September 25, 2020

The joke, which was new to me and entertained me enormously:

(#1)

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The soup fly

September 1, 2020

Take a frog to dinner.

The Wayno/Piraro Bizarro for yesterday riffs on a conventional joke:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 4 in this strip — see this Page.)

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Flies met cute

August 9, 2020

The Wayno/Piraro Bizarro from 8/7 features a housefly couple telling the story of how they met:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 5 in this strip — see this Page.)

Where to begin? Well, it’s a decidedly meta cartoon, in which the characters know they are cartoon characters and comment on that fact. And it’s a cartoon in which parallel worlds are aligned and translated from one to the other: a world of conventional American  domesticity (in which couples meet and form relationships, and entertain friends in their home); and a world of fly jokes, turning on the appearance of houseflies in soup at restaurants.

All this held together by a story type in film-making: the meet cute form, in which unlikely accidents of meeting lead to romantic involvements.

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If a man does it, …

June 11, 2020

(A number of jokes, but also some seriously technical linguistics.)

A joke going the rounds on the net recently, here from a exchange posted on Facebook on 3/24 (yes, yes, I am incredibly far behind on my postings; life has been very difficult):


(#1) Anaphoric do it : ‘(a man) sleeps with 10 men’ (the gay reading) vs. ‘(a man) sleeps with 10 women’ (the Don Juan reading)

In a similar vein, this Stone Soup cartoon of 6/17/11:


(#2) Anaphoric do the same, with at least three readings (discussed below), one of them gay

The phenomenon at play here is called sloppy (vs. strict) identity. The gay readings above involve strict identity.

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A priest, a rabbit, and a minister

February 26, 2020

… walk into a bar. And into a Walk Into Bar joke, which then goes doubly meta. The rabbit brings a really big beer to the event. The joke has been around in print, in one form or another, for maybe 20 years. The image is a fantasist painting “Bunny with Beer” (from 2017) by the artist Omar Rayyan. The two joined in happy union by an unknown hand, during the past few days, in the form of a texty cartoon:

(#1)

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Revisiting 31: That’s Good / That’s Bad

August 26, 2019

My 7/22 posting “Oh that’s good” looked at Archie Campbell’s That’s Good / That’s Bad joke routine from the tv show Hee Haw. Now Tim Evanson points out a somewhat later appearance of the routine, in an episode of The Simpsons.

(#1) From “Treehouse of Horror III”, The Simpsons S4 E5 (first aired 10/29/92)

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Exception-triggered alternation

August 25, 2019

Exhibit A: the joke routine That’s Good / That’s Bad from an Archie Campbell comedy sketch — discussed in my 7/22/19 posting “Oh that’s good”.

Exhibit B: the principles that predict when a N + N compound in English has primary accent on the first (modifier) N (front stress, or forestress) and when that accent falls on the second (head) N (back stress, or afterstress) — discussed in my old paper “Forestress and afterstress”, (OSU Working Papers in Linguistics, 1986, viewable on-line here).

From a sufficiently abstract point of view, these two phenomena can be seen to be manifestations of a single scheme, which I’ll refer to as exception-triggered alternation.

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The opossum joke

July 30, 2019

(I posted a version of this under the heading “The opossum” on July 30th, but by a WordPress glitch the link to that posting was later re-directed to the next posting in line, “Ralph at the Port Authority” (here), so that my earlier posting disappeared completely. I lamented this loss on Facebook, and eventually archivist and quote investigator Garson O’Toole magicked up a Google Cache version of the text for me. Thanks to Garson, here’s a reconstituted version.)

(Totally baffled addendum. WordPress has published this revised posting with the date 7/30, though it was actually posted on 8/1.)

A very sweet One Big Happy from 6/30: Ruthie and her grandfather:

(#1)

A granddad joke — well, actually, two of them in sequence, the first sledgehammer simple (a classic dad joke), the second delightfully subtle (a meta-joke in which the audience response becomes a crucial part of the joke).

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