Riddle About Riddles
I wrote these jokes to make a point.
—Does it really matter?
—Ultimately, it makes little difference in what form death arrives or by what name we call it. We all go one way or another and while there may be more dignity in some manners of demise, more time to prepare, or less suffering, the ultimate destination couldn’t be more similar: gone and gone and gone forever.
For me, they’re both funny (for you, maybe neither), but for different reasons. Version 1 is funny because it’s quick to point out a universal absurdity. Version 2 is funny because it gets the tone of a knock-knock joke so spectacularly wrong.
In Version 1 we laugh at ourselves for caring what kind of death is knocking. In Version 2 we laugh at the form the joke takes. I think that makes Version 2 a meta-joke, a joke about jokiness.
But that wasn’t my point.
My point was there is usually a way to say what you mean that is perfectly appropriate to your intentions, sometimes more than one, but always many, many, many, many, many ways to get the tone all wrong and spoil the effect you were going for, usually by falling for ready-made language or by overwriting what could be written simply.
My point is that when the chicken crosses the road to get to the other side we laugh at the well-made joke. We laugh at how badly the joke gets it wrong when the chicken crosses the road to find itself in sudden and much-valued possession of some other-sidedness.
Which sort of jokes are you writing (Version 1 or Version 2)?
Which sort of jokes are these?:
—How many licensed electricians does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
—How can you tell the difference between an oral thermometer and a rectal thermometer?
Exercise for the Leave a Reply fields below:
Write a joke that gets the tone so wrong that it either dies on the spot or is funny precisely because it upends our expectations.
And if you can’t do that in the time available, just share a good (or amusingly bad) joke.
The rotation of Earth really makes my day.
What do you call two witches who live together?
What do you call a fish with no eyes?
Why couldn’t the clown juggle?
He didnt have any balls
Why didnt the shrimp share his halloween candy?
He was shell-fish!
Why was 6 afraid of 7?
Because 7 committed vehicular manslaughter, resulting in the deaths of three people.
– knock knock
– whos there
– Mind your business is who
If only Africa had more mosquito nets, then every year we could save millions of mosquitoes from dying needlessly of AIDS.
When’s the best time to go to the dentist?
– What do you call a can opener that doesn’t work?
– A can’t opener!
What do you call a cow with a twitch ? Beef Jerky
Why’d the monkey fall out of the tree?
It was dead.
What did the farmer say when he lost his tractor?
Where is my tractor?
–Why can’t you hear a pterodactyl use the bathroom?
–The “p” is silent