Yes, folks, today, January 24th, happens to be Global Belly Laugh Day. (Where the heck do they come up with these things, anyway? Could we invent a Global “Sit Around and Eat Donuts and Read Mysteries” Day? If so, I’m in!) So, to observe this momentous (and silly) occasion, we are sharing some of our favorite–or perhaps merely most groan-worthy–jokes and funny stories.
I am a terrible joke teller. I always think I remember something really funny, tell the other person it’s hilarious, they’re gonna love this, and plunge straight into the story. Unfortunately, I get so caught up in trying to embellish things, I never remember the actual ending. But I’ve got total recall on this one:
A mushroom goes into into a bar, settles himself on a stool, and orders a drink.
Bartender: Sorry, buddy. We don’t serve your kind here.
Mushroom: Hey, why not? I’m a fun guy.
I think that’s how it goes, anyway. Something like that. Wokka-wokka!
In the early 1980s, I worked as an assistant at the Dramatists Guild. The Guild board was loaded with the most legendary playwrights, lyricists, etc., of the day, from Stephen Sondheim to Edward Albee. At a DG cocktail party, the late, legendary Peter Stone – book writer of huge musicals, screenwriter of one of my favorite movies, Charade – told this joke to me and John Guare.
A reporter is interviewing Mother Theresa. “Mother Theresa,” he says, “you’ve done such extraordinary things in your life. You’ve helped the poor. Saved lives. You’re even being considered for sainthood. Is there anything you haven’t done that you’d still like to accomplish?” “Well,” says Mother Theresa. “I have thought about directing.”
Needless to say, this is a very inside joke, the joke being that no matter what anyone in show business is actually doing – acting, writing, producing – what everyone really wants to do is direct. (Except me. Zero interest. Too much work.)
Not surprisingly, I enjoy writer humor — especially on days when writing (or not writing) makes me want to cry. My husband describes me as the Lucy Ricardo of joke-telling, but here goes.
Why did the author call himself Mont Blanc? …..Because he wanted to use a pen name!
Did you hear about the author in prison? …..He completed all his sentences!
And this gem: How many mystery writers does it take to change a light bulb? …..Two. One to screw the bulb almost all the way in, and one to give a surprising twist at the end
I can never remember jokes. So I went back to my file where I wrote down all the funny things my beloved kids said when they were little, and I became so lost in nostalgia and hilarity that I forgot what I was supposed to be doing and instead walked around the house reading their own adorable words out loud to my sons, for like the thousandth time, and they were very patient and only rarely interjected things like we have so much homework to do or can we please go to sleep already or we need to go eat a plate of vegetables as a ruse to make me stop reading at them.
Anyway, here is a nugget of wisdom from my previously-three-year-old, who once informed me, quite seriously, “Hornets never forget. Also: hornets don’t know anything.” So now you know!
I can rarely remember jokes–they fly out of my head as soon as I hear them. A friend (and avid joke-teller) once advised me that the best way to remember a joke is to immediately tell it again. Which of course is silly, since the people you’re with have just heard it. So I never follow his advice and thus forget the joke two minutes after it’s been told.
But there is one I remember, since it’s about both grammar and snark, two of my favorite things in life:
An English teacher is talking to her high school class and says, “In many languages, a double negative indicates a positive. And in some languages, a double negative is still a negative. There are no languages, however, in which a double positive indicates a negative.”
And then a voice calls out from the back of the room, “Yeah, right!”
I’m a big fan of the so-called dad joke, and here are two faves:
First up, a favorite of my son:
Why don’t monsters eat clowns?
Because they taste funny.
And now an onomatopoeic classic:
A sheep, a drum, and a snake fall off a cliff.
That’s it for me! I’m here all week!
I enjoy jokes of all stripes. I’m an excellent comedy club patron and I sit right up front so any nervous comedians can see me smiling and laughing through their routines. It’s less endearing at funerals or when my friends are doing some dramatic reading. My problem, however, is that I can only remember one joke.
What’s brown and sticky? ….. A stick!
So I put out the call to my kids, who were blessed with their father’s joke remembering skills, and got a bunch in about 30 seconds. My daughter Jessica followed along my path:
What’s orange and sounds like a parrot? ….. A carrot!
What’s red and bad for your teeth? ….. A brick! (And yes, they both require exclamation marks. Also picture me bugging out my eyes at the punchline.)
Adam offered this one: A cargo ship carrying red paint hit a cargo ship carrying blue paint. Both crews were marooned.
But my favorite came from Jeff. Why do the ships in Norway have barcodes? So that when they return to port they can Scandinavian.
Readers: Feel free to share your own jokes and funny stores, so we can groan too!
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