in Fun

Only Joking

Those of you with sensitive natures may want to avoid this entry.

I’ve never been able to tell jokes. I’m not a good orator under any circumstance. I can, however, appreciate a good joke, especially a good joke told well.

I suspect most of my audience does not read Matthew’s wonderful Defective Yeti, and thus missed the other day’s joke extravaganza.

As a public service — and because I have nothing better planned for today — here are the best jokes from the bunch, as determined by my gut. These are the ones that made me laugh out loud. (But please, when you’ve finished, go visit the site. There are plenty of others that might make you laugh even harder.)

These were all posted by various visitors to Defective Yeti. None of these are mine. If you’re worried one (or more) of these might offend you, turn back now!

Person 1: Knock knock.
Person 2: Who’s there?
Person 1: Control freak.
Person 1: Now you say “control freak who?”

Q: What’s the difference between the Vietnam War and the Iraq War?
A: George W. Bush had a plan to get out of the Vietnam War.

Two cannibals are eating a clown. One turns to the other, and says “Does this taste funny to you?”

A woman gets on a bus with her baby. The bus driver says: “That’s the ugliest baby that I’ve ever seen.” The woman goes to the rear of the bus and sits down, fuming. She says to a man next to her: “That driver just insulted me!” The man says: “You go right up there and tell him off — go ahead, I’ll hold your monkey for you.”

What has four legs and one arm?
A pit bull in a playground.

Where do you find a dog with no legs?
Right where you left him.

What do you call a dog with no legs?
It doesn’t matter, he won’t come anyway.

What do you call a cow with no legs?
Ground beef.

[I think this first made me laugh in third grade. It still makes me laugh:]

Why do ducks have flat feet?
To put out burning camp fires.
Why do elephants have flat feet?
To put out burning ducks.

[I’ve resisted the urge to include lawyer jokes, but only because I didn’t find many of them:]

What do you call 10,000 drowned lawyers?
A good start.

Two atoms are leaving a bar when one realizes that he left his electrons back in the bar. His friend asks, “Are you sure?” “Yes,” he replies. “I’m positive!”

What’s the opposite of Christopher Reeves?
Christopher Walken.

Q: Someone that knows three languages is trilingual. Someone that knows two languages is bilingual. So what do you call someone that only knows one language?
A: An American.

Q: What do you do if Michael Jackson is drowning?
A: Throw him a buoy.

Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn’t seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy takes out his phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps: “My friend is dead! What can I do?” The operator says: “Calm down, I can help. First, let’s make sure he’s dead.” There is a silence, then a gunshot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says: “OK, now what?”

Little Red riding Hood is walking through the forest on the way to see her grandmother. She sees the wolf crouching down beside the track. “What big eyes you have!” she says. “Get lost,” says the wolf, “I’m taking a crap.”

[This only makes sense if you’ve seen the film Mary Poppins:]

In the course of his religious career, Ghandi walked all over India — barefoot. He also ate very sparingly and, sorry to say, oral hygiene was not at the top of his agenda. He was the super-calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

[For some reason, I’m a sucker for lightbulb jokes. Who knew?]

How many Mexicans does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

How many lesbians does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
Three. One to screw the lightbulb in and two to sing a folk song about it.
[Kris says the above is not funny, but Nick and I think it is…]

How many feminists does it take to change a lightbulb?

How many psychics does it take to change a lightbulb?
That’s not funny at all.

How many actors does it take to change a lightbulb?
Ten. One to change it, nine to say they could have done it better.

How many divas does it take to change a lightbulb?
One. The diva holds the bulb and the world revolves around her.

How many psychiatrists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
It only takes one, but the lightbulb has to want to change.

How many kids with ADD does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

Jesus is sitting in a square in Nazareth, when a crowd approaches. They throw a woman, bound and beaten, at his feet. A man at the front says to Jesus, “Rabbi, this woman was found in the very act of adultery, and under the law of Moses such women are to be stoned. What say you to this?”

Jesus replies, “That the one among you who is without sin may cast the first stone.”

A rock flies from the back of the crowd, striking the woman square in the forehead, killing her instantly.

Jesus stands, looks over the mob, and says, “Mom, sometimes you really piss me off!”

[I don’t particularly care for dead baby jokes, not because I find them offensive, but because most of them just aren’t funny. Here are a couple that made me laugh:]

How do you make a dead baby float?
Start with a blender and two scoops of ice cream…

What’s worse than a baby nailed to a tree?
A baby nailed to a puppy.

[Drum roll please…my favorite joke of the bunch, the one that made me laugh the most, and perhaps the tackiest of the lot:]

A Buddhist monk, a Jewish rabbi and a Catholic priest are in an orphanage when the fire alarm goes off. The Buddhist monk exclaims, “A fire! We must save the children!” The rabbi says, “Fuck the children!” The Catholic priest says, “No time!”

Now that I’ve shared all those, and maybe one of you is left unoffended, I have to ask: why do so many jokes come at the expense of one class of people or other? Many jokes play on cultural stereotypes and prejudices in order to derive comedic effect. Would the “How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb?” be as funny — and it is funny — if it didn’t play on popular conceptions (and misconceptions) about feminists?

For the most part, I’m okay with this aspect of humor. True or gentle humor at the expense of a class of people seems acceptable. But why does it so often cross the line? If you read through the Defective Yeti joke thread, at some point the jokes stop being funny and start being offensive. And where is this line? Is it different depending on the audience? Depending on the teller of the joke?

What’s truly disturbing is how many of these offensive jokes use women as their butt. I live in some happy little world where equal rights for women have been achieved. Moreover, women are treated with respect. I’m fooling myself; upon reading through the 258 jokes it became clear that there is a hell of a long way to go yet. (And that racial intolerance is still with us, not to mention a great deal of homophobia.)


On 26 October 2004 (08:43 AM),
Denise said:

Who is Michael Jackon?


On 26 October 2004 (08:48 AM),
J.D. said:

Oops. I tried to correct all the spelling/grammar errors, but missed that one. Curiously enough, it was originally “Micheal”, but I caught that error. I wonder how missed the Jackon? I fixed it now.

Incidentally, Kris’ Aunt Jenefer just left a great comment on yesterday’s entry, a story about a partially domesticated blue jay. Go read it. It’s great.

On 26 October 2004 (09:32 AM),
Joel said:

I laffed at several, thank you.
I read an article some months back (and how many conversations do I start with that phrase? From now on it’ll just be “IRAASMB”) about the history of jokes and, after going back to the first recorded joke book (ancient Greece, I think, who apparently found lettuce to be very risque’) and working their way forward, the authors wound up largely agreeing with you. Most jokes revolve around agression toward women.
Why? Because they’re scary!

On 26 October 2004 (09:38 AM),
Amanda said:


I’m not an overly PC person to begin with, but when it comes to jokes I make an effort to turn off the social conditioning. The reason jokes about women and minorities are sometimes funny is, well, because they are! Stereotypes exist for a reason. I’m not saying that makes them good or bad, but I figure laughing is good for everyone.

On 26 October 2004 (09:57 AM),
Denise said:

I am warped. I love the Little Red Riding Hood one.

On 26 October 2004 (10:02 AM),
Lisa said:

Many of these are truly funny. My childhood favorite theme was the no arms and no legs jokes… What do you call a man with no arms and no legs in a swimming pool? Bob. On a wall? Art. Etc.

You haven’t one aspect of humor that doesn’t rely on demeaning people: the element of surprise. I think that people often laugh because they weren’t expecting the punchline. I often laugh for that reason, as well as pleasure at a well-turned phrase or reference.

On 26 October 2004 (10:08 AM),
Lynn said:

What? No pirate jokes? AARRGGHH!!

On 26 October 2004 (12:12 PM),
Dana said:

Q: Why did the turtle cross the road?
A: To get to the Shell station.

Q: How many surrealists does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: A fish.

Q: How many software engineers does it take to change a lightbulb?
A1: Only one, but the house falls down.
A2: None, that’s a hardware problem.

Q: How many smurfs does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: Two, but they screw in little houses, not in lightbulbs.

Q: Why did the monkey fall out of the tree?
A: It was dead!

Q: How do you drown a crossdresser?
A: Put a mirror at the bottom of a pool.

Q: How many Marxists does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: None. The light bulb’s own internal contradictions will inevitably lead to revolution.


The joke itself is pretty long, but the punchline to the greatest Physics Joke of all time is:

“First, assume a spherical chicken.”

On 26 October 2004 (12:47 PM),
Dana said:

Q: How many mystery writers does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Two. One to put it most of the way in, and one to give it a surprise twist at the end.

Q: How many policemen does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: None. It turns itself in.

Q: How many gods does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Two. One to hold the lightbulb, and one to rotate the Universe.

Q: How many mathematicians does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: None. The problem is left as an exercise for the reader.

On 26 October 2004 (01:15 PM),
Dana said:

Q: How many mathematicians does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: One, who gives it to two Mystery Writers, thus reducing this to an earlier joke.


An astronomer, a physicist and a mathematician (it is said) were holidaying in Scotland. Glancing from a train window, they observed a black sheep in the middle of a field.

“How interesting,” observed the astronomer, “all scottish sheep are black!”

To which the physicist responded, “No, no! Some Scottish sheep are black!”

The mathematician gazed heavenward in supplication, and then intoned, “In Scotland there exists at least one field, containing at least one sheep, at least one side of which is black.”


What is the shortest mathematicians joke?
Let epsilon be smaller than zero.


A mathematician, a biologist and a physicist are sitting in a street cafe watching people going in and coming out of the house on the other side of the street.

First they see two people enter the house. Time passes. After a while they notice three people leave.

“Well, look at that,” said the biologist. “They must have reproduced!”

“No,” said the physicist, “the initial measurement wasn’t accurate.”

“Well, I’ll tell you one thing,” said the mathematician. “If one more person enters, it’ll be empty!”

On 26 October 2004 (01:17 PM),
Drew said:

A baby nailed to a tree. I’m in stitches.

On 26 October 2004 (01:28 PM),
Johnny said:

I was making love to this girl and she started crying. I said, “Are you going to hate yourself in the morning?” She said. “No. I hate myself now.” (Rodney Dangerfield)

On 26 October 2004 (01:32 PM),
Denise said:

…may he rest in peace…

On 26 October 2004 (01:59 PM),
Susan said:

From my 7 year old daughter:

Q: What color is a Chili dog?
A: Blue.

Q: Why is the mad scientist never lonely?
A: He can easily make new friends.

On 26 October 2004 (02:02 PM),
Amanda said:

From a 4-year old I ran into in the vet’s waiting room:

Q: Why is 6 afraid of 7?
A: Because 7 8 9!

On 26 October 2004 (02:52 PM),
J.D. said:

Dana’s “empty” joke is my favorite of those in the comments. That’s pretty damn funny. 🙂

On 26 October 2004 (10:02 PM),
Andrew Parker said:

I’d always heard it as a “perfectly spherical horse”…

On 26 October 2004 (10:52 PM),
Lynn said:

Ok, fine. I guess I’m the only one who’s into pirate jokes.

A pirate walks into a bar. He sits down and orders a drink. The bartender gets his drink and as he hands it to him, he says to the pirate, “Do you know that you have a steering wheel sticking out of the zipper of your pants?”

“Arggghh, matey,” says the pirate. “It’s drivin’ me nuts.”

On 27 October 2004 (07:23 AM),
Dana said:

I’d always heard it as a “perfectly spherical horse”…

Sure — it’s a variation on the same joke. I’ve also heard it as “assume a perfectly spherical cow.” It’s the same joke, just slight variations.

On 27 October 2004 (07:52 AM),
J.D. said:

Now that I’ve searched out the joke, neither chicken nor horse make much sense. The punch-line is, “First assume a perfectly spherical cow…”

Don’t believe me? Google is your friend:

“perfectly spherical chicken”: 2 results
“perfectly spherical horse”: 8 results
“perfectly spherical cow”: 83 results, including this page of math jokes, on which you can find the joke in question (which really is amusing, though not as funny — to me — as some of the above)

On 27 October 2004 (08:43 AM),
Dana said:

It’s still the same joke, no matter what animal is involved…

On 27 October 2004 (08:53 AM),
Johnny said:

Imagine a perfectly spherical Johnny…

On 27 October 2004 (09:30 AM),
Jeff said:

I’m offended! …because you left out Mennonite jokes.

Q: How was copper wire invented?
A: Two Mennonites were fighting over a penny.

On 27 October 2004 (11:08 AM),
Courtney said:


We choose not to make a statement either in favour of or against the need for a light bulb. However, if in your own journey, you have found that light bulbs work for you, that is fine. You are invited to write a poem or compose a modern dance about your personal relationship with your light bulb. Present it next month at our annual Light Bulb Sunday Service, in which we will explore a number of light bulb traditions, including incandescent, fluorescent, 3-way, long-life, and tinted, all of which are equally valid paths to luminescence.

On 27 October 2004 (12:21 PM),
Amanda said:

Courtney takes the cake.

On 01 March 2005 (10:11 AM),
alauddin said:

sent me jokes which make laugh and question also

thanking you
yours faithfully


On 07 March 2005 (01:19 AM),
Annie said:

OK– I have lightbulb jokes, if you can stand one more post.

How many Conservative Republicans does it take to change a lightbulb?

Two– One to screw the bulb in and one to steady the chandelier.

How many Liberal Democrats does it take?

Two– One to change the bulb and one to stop his knees from jerking.

How many Libertarians does it take?

None– If he wants to sit in the dark that’s HIS business!