Monday, May 24

The death of the joke

So a penguin walks into a bar. He goes up to the bartender and says, "Hey, have you seen my old man?"

The bartender says, "Dunno. What's he look like?"

I've been thinking lately about the death of the Joke. Nobody tells jokes anymore. Not like they used to. I tend bar for a living -- when I'm not writing books -- and I can't help noticing that jokes are dead. Nobody under 40 tells jokes anymore, and that's the death knell of any art form.

Guess it's one of those skills that people figure they just don't need. Twenty years ago, the ability to tell a joke counted for something. It was more than just repeating a line from some crappy stand-up; it was Acting, and Storytelling, and Knowing Something that Nobody Else Knows. It was an art in and of itself, and it's dying.

That sucks.

Tell jokes. Make up your own. Keep it alive.

My girlfriend's so skinny, she's gotta tease her hair to keep her pants up. And ugly? Shit, her whole body's covered with little round red marks from where people keep touching her with ten-foot poles. Then there's my wife. Fat? She fills the bathfub, THEN she puts the water in. Yesterday morning, I'm trying to get to work, she's sitting in the driveway. I try to go around, but I run out of gas. I get in a cab, I ask the hackie to take me someplace where I can get some action. He takes me to MY house. I come home early one day, I see a naked guy running across my yard. I say, "Hey, what the hell are you doing, running across my yard naked?" He says, "Hey, you came home early." I go inside, there's a guy fucking my wife. I say, "Who said you could fuck my wife?" He says, "Everybody." My old neighborhood's so tough, we bowl overhand. When I was a kid, we used to nail worms to the sidewalks, watch the birds get hernias. Shit, my neighborhood's so tough, the signs in the library say "SHUT THE FUCK UP!"

It's all in the delivery. Which is, of course, the problem.

Practice. It's worth it.

btw, the above jokes were all stolen from Henny Youngman and Rodney Dangerfield, among the last of the Great Jokesters (along with Milton Berle, who stole material from both of them).


Anonymous said...

Hmm, that's strange, man (about no one under 40 telling jokes). I come from a family of joke-tellers, so I grew up with jokes, good and bad.

Here's a bad one (a really bad one) I've cribbed from a cousin:

Q: What's purple and square?

A: An orange in disguise


(Thanks! You've been great! I'll be playing the Stardust on Sunday at 9! G'night!)


Anonymous said...

*starts throwing oranges at mahesh*

Let me try:

So you think you're having a bad night? My friend had it worse. He has a siamese twin joined at the hip who's gay while he's not. Unfortunately, the brother's lover is coming over and the twins only have one ass...


Scott Lynch said...

How did Helen Keller burn her ear?She answered the iron.

How did she burn her other ear?They called back.

Did you know Helen Keller had a dollhouse?Hey, neither did she.

Why did Helen Keller's dog throw himself off a cliff?You'd commit suicide too if your name was MLAAAAGH HAAAH UNNNHGH MAAAAHH GAHHH.

Why couldn't Helen Keller drive?Because she was a woman.

gabe chouinard said...

What does an elephant use as a vibrator?

An epileptic Pygmy.