The prostitute joke
The most striking thing about Wikipedia's World's Funniest Joke entry is just how unfunny the joke is. The runner-up isn't much better. The entry may lack humor, but it's not entirely wanting in meat. The 'world's funniest joke' stems from a 2002 study by the University of Hertfordshire's Richard Wiseman. Wiseman wanted to find out what jokes had the greatest appeal across cultural and demographic boundaries: The study documented regional differences in humour, as well as variations between the sexes. Men preferred more aggressive jokes, as well as sexual innuendo, while women preferred word play. I'm partial the shaggy dog story, which Wikipedia defines as "an extremely long and involved joke with a weak or completely nonexistent punchline. The humor lies in building up the audience's anticipation and then letting them down completely." The humor also derives from the delivery -- which is, after all, the whole point of The Aristocrats. One of the tricky things about blog humor is that body language is, with rare exception, impossible. Anyway, I thought this joke was pretty damned funny.
The Prostitute Joke
What we have here is a failure to communicate.
This happened several years ago. It really did happen, but thanks to the passage of time, I'll have to use my imagination to fill in some of the details. Which is to say, most of them. In the spring, our local park hosts Sunday concerts. Jake and I were goofing off at the playground one day when we heard a brass band. We decided to investigate. We eventually came to a hilltop where we could easily see and hear the band. Picnickers, dogs, and kids playing with Frisbees dotted the grassy slope leading down to the amphitheatre. Right next to us stood an old lady beside her wheelchair-bound husband, a stooped codger in a broad-brimmed straw hat. He had a knitted wool blanket covering his lap and legs. A young boy, perhaps fourteen years old, noticed them and waved. WIFE: Oh, look. There's Tommy. HUBS: Eh? WIFE: Tommy, from church. HUBS: Church? WIFE: Come on over a spell, Tommy! Why, just look at you, you're nearly taller than me. TOMMY: Hi. Come to hear the music? HUBS: Eh? WIFE: Eugene can't hear a thing, but he does like his sunshine. HUBS: Tommy? Is that Tommy? Why, you're all grown up. Here, I got a joke for you. WIFE: What's that? HUBS: A joke, woman. Tommy? Tommy? You listening? TOMMY: Yeah, I hear you. HUBS: A koala walks into a bar. WIFE: A bar? You think that's an appropriate joke for a young boy? Good heavens, Eugene, I don't know about you sometimes. HUBS: A koala walks into a bar. You know -- a koala. TOMMY: I know what a koala is. HUBS: A koala walks into a bar and orders himself a martini. A prostitute sits -- WIFE: A prostitute? Eugene, you stop right here right now. Listen to you! I can't imagine a pastor would think it's appropriate to tell a young boy a joke about a prostitute! HUBS: What do you mean, young boy? He's all grown. WIFE: He's not that old. How old are you, fourteen? TOMMY: I'm thirteen. WIFE: Thirteen! You hear that, Eugene? HUBS: Thirteen's old enough to know about prostitutes. I'm not telling you nothing you don't know, isn't that right, Tommy? WIFE: Heavens! I don't know what I'll do with you. You was a pastor. Now I can't even take you out. HUBS: So the prostitute sits down next to the koala and says -- WIFE: Will you stop? You was a pastor, Eugene. Show some sense. This boy's thirteen. HUBS: I knew plenty about prostitutes at thirteen. So she says, "Hey, how about you and me, we go back in the back and --" WIFE: Eugene, you WILL stop right there -- HUBS: Will you shut up, woman? I'm trying to tell a joke. You want to hear a joke, don't you, Tommy? TOMMY (nods) HUBS: See? It's not like I'm tryin' to make him do anything he don't want to do. So, afterwards, they get back to the bar -- WIFE: Well! At least you have the sense not to give him all the filthy details. HUBS: And the koala, he's about to leave, when the prostitute asks for her money. WIFE: That does it. Tommy, tell your parents we said hello. It was very nice seeing you today. HUBS: Damn it, woman, where are you taking me? WIFE (wheels husband away) TOMMY (looking at me): Do you know how the joke ends? DOUG (shrugs) TOMMY: Goddammit. D.