Sunday, September 2, 2012


This is my favorite (clean) joke:

A woman at the beach is watching her toddler son play in the surf when suddenly a wave picks up the child and carries him out to sea. The woman, desperate, falls to her knees and implores God, “Oh please, please bring my child back!”

The wave stops, reverses itself, tosses the boy gently into the air and he lands in the woman’s arms. She looks at him, then up at the heavens and snarls, “He had a hat!”

This is my second favorite (clean) joke:

A man sees a sign in front of a house: "Dog for Sale."
He rings the bell and the owner tells him the dog is in the backyard. The guy goes into the backyard and sees a black mutt lying in the shade of an elm tree. The dog looks up and says, "Hi! Nice day! You gonna take me home?"
The man is astounded. "You talk?" he asks.
"Yep," the mutt replies.
"So, what's your story?"
The mutt looks up and says, "Well, I discovered this gift pretty young and I wanted to help the government, so I told the CIA about my gift, and in no time they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping. I was one of their most valuable spies eight years running. The jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn't getting any younger and I wanted to settle down. So I signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security work, mostly wandering near suspicious characters and listening in. I uncovered some incredible dealings there and was awarded a batch of medals. Had a wife, a mess of puppies, and now I'm just retired."
The guy is impressed, goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog. The owner says, "Ten dollars."
The guy says, "This dog is amazing. Why on earth are you selling him, so cheap?
The owner replies, "He's such a liar. He never worked for the CIA."

I haven't heard a new joke in years. I'm not talking about throwaway one-liners, which are both common and, for the most part, uninspired. I am talking about a full-fledged joke with a strong lead-in and a walloping punch line. 

According to the About Jokes website, the first semblances of the “Joke” is said to have been originated in ancient Greece around 1200 BC by Palamedes, who legendarily outwitted Odysseus before the Trojan War. Flash forward to 10 BC when Roman playwright Plautus suggests the use of “jest books” in some of his works. Other Romans, such as Melissus, begin compiling collections of jokes. Then, in 5 AD, the Philogelos, the earliest jokebook known to exist today, is written.  It containing 264 “jokes”, some of which are duplicated in a different form throughout the book, suggesting that it is a work containing two combined volumes. Though the Philogelos disappears from existence, humor is still seen through folktales in Islamic culture, which makes its way to the southern Mediterranean countries. Around 1300 AD, the “Joke” is reborn during the Renaissance, and in 1452 in Italy, Italian humanist Poggio Bracciolini (1380-1459) creates his best known book of jokes, the Liber Facetiarum or Facetia. This collection contains 273 humorous anecdotes, jokes, jests, puns and bons mots – taken from his travels around Europe. This is the first time a humorous work of this kind is published in Europe.

In recent times, the joke has been replaced by the sitcom one-liner, which generally doesn't have much going for it, which in turn explains why television comedy depends on a  very fast series of one-liners that barely leave watchers the time to appreciate the wit. We are served a bad banquet of for the most part not very funny observations, most based on insults (think "Yore Mama's so fat...")

Luckily, I don't watch much TV. as a matter of fact, I stopped watching comedy offerings about the same time Michael left The Office.   

My all time favorite joke right now?  Considering my present health situation, it's this one: Jacques goes to his doctor after a long illness. After a lengthy examination, the doctor sighs, looks Jacques in the eye and says, "I've some bad news for you... you have cancer and it can't be cured. I give you two weeks to a month." Jacques, shocked and saddened by the news, composes himself and walk from the doctor's office into the waiting room. There he sees his son, Alain, who has been waiting.

Jacques says, "Alain, I have cancer and I've been given a short time to live. Let's head for the bistro and have a Cointreau or two." After several Cointreaux, the two are feeling a little less somber and soon are approached by some of Jacques' old friends who ask what the two are celebrating. Jacques tells them they’re drinking to his impending end. He tells his friends, "I've only got a few weeks to live; I've been diagnosed with AIDS."
The friends give Jacques their condolences and they all have a few more beers. After his friends leave, Alain leans over and whispers,  "Papa, I thought you said that you were dying from cancer. You just told your friends that you were dying from AIDS."
Jacques replies, "I don't want any of them sleeping with your mother after I'm gone."



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