1. The Doctor/Lawyer Joke
[What I like most about this joke, which I told a lot to doctors during the heart transplant process and its aftermath, is that the lawyer wins. It's a joke that I tell to my law students and advise them to hang onto it. They'll need to know a joke where the lawyer comes out on top, which is, alas, a rarity.]
2. The Bus Stop Joke
3. The King Who Loved Both Opera and Horses Joke
When the most wanted man in the kingdom was finally caught and brought to the king for sentencing, the king promptly ordered that the thief be hanged. But the thief pleaded with the king very cleverly. Everyone in the kingdom knew the king loved two things above all else: opera and his favorite horse, Lightning. "Your Highness," the thief begged, "if you will spare my life for one year, I can work a miracle that will please you very much." Suspicious, the king asks what it is. "I’m a very skilled animal trainer, specializing in horse acts, and also a great opera fan, as I know is Your Majesty. If you will give me leave to work with the horse for one year, at the end of that period I guarantee that Lightning will sing "O Solo Mio" for you in a command performance. The king was delighted at the idea, and even though his counselors advised against it, he granted the man's request. So every day the thief spent all the daylight hours at Lightning's stable, singing "O Solo Mio" to the horse over and over again, while rubbing the horse's throat. The horse's trainer was at first astounded by this, then amused, and, as the months went by, annoyed. One day, exasperated, he asked the thief why he persisted in such a hopeless task. The condemned man just smiled. "A lot can happen in a year," he told the trainer. "The horse might die, the king might die, I might die, and there's a fourth possiblity." "What's that," the trainder questioned. The thief's smile broadened. "The horse might sing!"
[This is a famous joke, known for it cheery optimism. That punch line "the horse might sing," turns up often in novels or conversations as a reference to improbable solutions when all else fails.]
4. The Medieval Manuscript Joke
Hundreds of years ago a young monk was hard at work in the monastery’s copy room making an elaborately decorated copy of an old manuscript. Coming across a passage that bothered him, he called over the very old senior monk and pointed out the suspicious page, asking if it was not itself a miscopy of an even older version of this book. The senior monk replied that the original was kept in the vaults below, and he would go check it and return shortly. He was gone, however, for two hours. Knowing the old monk was in poor health, the young monk became worried, and finally went down to the vaults himself. He found the senior monk slumped over an ancient volume, weeping copious tears. "What's wrong?" the young monk asked, alarmed. The old monk looked up and, with a sob, wailed, "The word was 'celebrate'!"
5. The Salesman and His Trainee Joke
[Warning: from here on the jokes become more and more indelicate. Those who might be offended by them should stop reading and move to more innocent humorous posts on this blog such as "Teaching English to Cats," August 6, 2010, "Milking Cows," June 8, 2010, or "Parakeets and Me," February 5, 2010].
A salesman in a megastore is teaching his new helper how to become an effective salesperson. "One important trick," he informs the young man, "is to turn the first sale into a second one." "What do you mean?" the youngster asks, puzzled. Seeing a customer approaching, the first salesman replies, "Watch and I'll show you. Good afternoon, Sir, how can I help you?" The customer responds that he needs to buy some grass seed. "Certainly, Sir, come this way." He leads the man to the aisle where the seed is kept, the young trainee following, and then when the customer selects a brand to purchase, the salesman queries, "Wouldn't you also like to buy a lawnmower since you'll soon have grass sprouting up all over your property?" The man thinks about it for a second, then nods. When he has exited the store with both seed and mower, the salesman turns to his trainee and tells him, "Now you try it on it on that customer coming through the door." The young salesman nods his head firmly, approaches the man and asks how he can help him. The man replies that his wife sent him to buy some Kotex. The young salesman takes him to where this product is displayed in the store. "Would you also like to buy a lawnmower," he asks the man. "A lawnmower!" is the reply. "Why would I want a lawnmower?" "Well," the youngster responds, "you're not going to have anything to do this weekend, so you might as well mow the grass!"
[What I like most about this joke is that it has two punch lines. Properly told, the young salesman's question "Would you like to buy a lawnmower?" gets a laugh because it's such a non sequitur, but you should continue the joke as the laugh starts and then hit the listener with the second punch line.]
6. The Star Pupil Joke
Teacher brings her brightest student to the principal and says to him, "Johnny here is so smart I think we should take him out of second grade immediately and put him in third grade." "Hmm," the principal replies to her, "could you give me some evidence of his abilities?" "Of course," she agrees. "I'll ask him three questions and you can judge for yourself." She turns to the boy, who has been listening to this conversation. "The first question, Johnny is this: what does a cow have four of that I have two of?" "Legs," the boy promptly answers, and the teacher nods her head. "All right, Johnny, what is a four letter word for intercourse?" "'Talk,'" is the response, and she nods again. "Finally," she asks, "what does a dog do on three legs that a man does standing up and a woman does sitting down?" The boy doesn't hesitate: "Shake hands," he asserts. The teacher turns to the principal. "What do you think? Shouldn't we put him in the third grade?" "Hell," the principal says, "let's put him in the fourth grade—I missed all three of those!"
[What a beautifully constructed thing this joke is! Whoever thought it up must have put hours into cleverly concocting the three questions so that, of course, we all miss them. As complicated jokes go, it's a masterpiece.]
7. The Alligator in the Bar Joke
[I've been doing a great deal of community theater since retiring, and during a performance of one of the shows I was acting in, this joke was told in the men's dressing room by one of the other actors to a group of us waiting to go on. It produced such a laugh that a very angry stage manager came swooping in to shush us all.]
[What I like best about this joke is that no one sees the punch line coming. Like all good jokes it veers off in a completely unexpected direction.]
"The Best of My Library," August 27, 2010
"Some Cartoons I've Saved," October 20, 2010
"Five Movies I Watch Again and Again," March 20, 2011
“A Guide to the Best of My Blog,” April 29, 2013