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Here are some jokes I like.
Well, OK, just
Very Important Person
The Pope is in New York, and he dashes from his hotel room into a taxi that happens by. "I need to deliver an address to the United Nations in twenty minutes. Can you get me there in time?"
"Twenty minutes? No way. I'd probably get a speeding ticket."
The Pope says, "It doesn't matter. I have to get to the UN right away!"
The cabbie says, "Huh-uh, I'm not doing it."
The Pope pauses and then says, "OK, how about if we switch places? You hop in the back and I'll drive. That way it'll be me who gets any tickets."
The cabbie thinks about this a moment and says, "All right," and they switch places.
Sure enough, as they're tearing through Manhattan the Pope gets pulled over, by a rookie cop. The cop sees who's in the cab and says, "Wait just a minute," and walks a few steps away.
He radios his watch commander and explains, "I just stopped a cab for speeding, but there's a really important person in it. Should I issue the ticket?"
The watch commander says, "It doesn't matter who it is. Issue the ticket."
"But he's more important than the chief of police."
"I don't care. Issue the ticket."
"Are you sure?" the rookie cop asks. "He's even more important than the mayor!"
"More important than the mayor?" the watch commander asks. "OK, OK, who is it?"
The cop glances into the cab again and says, "Well, to be honest with you, I don't recognize him, but he's got the Pope driving him around."
The joke above was not a dirty joke. The same cannot necessarily be said of the ones below.
A priest is interviewing three married couples, newcomers to town, who want to join his church.
The first couple has been married 50 years, the second couple has been married 30 years, and the third couple are 20-year-old newlyweds.
The priest says, "To prove the purity of your commitment to our church, you must remain chaste for the next four weeks. If you can, you will be welcome in our church."
Four weeks later they assemble in the priests office to report to him.
He asks the couple married 50 years how they did. They say, "It was no problem whatsoever," and the priest says, "You are welcome in our church."
He asks the couple married 30 years how they did, and the husband says, "Well, it was tough, but we managed to do it," whereupon the priest says, "You are welcome in our church."
Then he asks the 20-year-old newlyweds how they did.
The husband says, "Well, Father, the first week was OK. The second week we really wanted to but we managed to get by. The third week the temptation got so bad we had to sleep in separate bedrooms. And I thought we were going to make it through the fourth week, but yesterday, when I saw my wife bent over at the waist to pick up a bag of flour from the bottom shelf, I just lost control and I took her right then and there."
A look of disappointment passes over the priests face, and he reluctantly says, "Then you are not welcome in our church."
The newlywed wife says, "Yeah, and as of yesterday we aren't welcome in the Safeway either."
The Bear Joke
The joke above had no dirty words, and this one doesn't either, but it's still a dirty joke, so be warned.
I reproduce it here mostly because it's funny but also because the punch line - and only the punch line -- has been used in at least four television shows. You know how sometimes a scene will open with a character telling a joke, but all you hear is the punch line? The other characters respond, and then the rest of the scene plays out.
The punch line to The Bear Joke was used that way once on "Night Court" and "Moonlighting," and twice on "Homicide: Life on the Streets," and once on a 2016 episode of "Bosch," which itself slyly comments on the frequency with which this punch-line-only joke is observed on TV. So I figure it should be told right.
A hunter spots a grizzly bear 1,000 yards away, but he can't get any closer so he aims his rifle and pulls the trigger. He can see he's hit the bear, so he sets off after it. When he finally catches up to the bear, the bear is clutching his shoulder and says, "Was it you who shot me?"
The hunter says, "Yes."
The bear says, "You need to be taught a lesson." The bear strips off the hunter's clothes, bends him over, and has his way with him.
Several minutes later the hunter struggles to his feet, pulls himself together, and vows to find that bear. He searches through the woods, up hill and dale, and then he spots it 500 yards away, aims his rifle, pulls the trigger, and sets off after it. When he catches up to the bear, the bear says, "Did you shoot me again?"
The hunter, trembling, says, "Yes."
The bear says, "Well, maybe this'll teach you," whereupon it grabs up the hunter, rips off his already tattered clothing, throws him violently to the ground, and really rips him a new one.
The hunter eventually gets to his feet, naked and dazed, and he decides he's going after the bear one more time. He trips through dense underbrush, he trudges through soupy swamps, and he treks across vast valleys, and finally he finds the bear only a hundred yards away, across a small opening. He takes careful aim, holds his breath, and pulls the trigger.
The hunter, already exhausted, sprints up to the bear.
The bear says, "Did you shoot me AGAIN?"
The hunter says, "Yep."
So the bear says, "You didn't really come here to hunt, did you?"
I have discovered it's difficult to write a joke well. It's easier to tell one orally than on paper, because when you tell one you can tailor it to your audience, use gestures and tone of voice, and so on. Furthermore, if you get a little something wrong in telling a joke orally you can usually patch it up as you go, but not so when you write one.
Without meaning to seem braggadocious, I'd like to contrast my version, above, to the version below (after I corrected the errors), which used to appear on the much more famous Humor.Com.
The Hunting Trip
Bill's all excited about his new rifle. So, he goes bear hunting in Alaska. The first bear he sees is a little brown bear, and he kills it with his first shot. There is a tap on his shoulder, and he turns around to see a big black bear. The black bear says, "You've got two choices. One, I maul you to death or two, we have sex." Bill bends over for the bear. He's sore for 2 days, but he recovers and vows revenge.
First, it's unnecessarily confusing to have multiple bears; this assumes that all bears know about the "two choices" deal, and that brown bears and black bears and polar bears occupy the same habitat, and that somehow there's always a bigger bear around when a lesser one is killed, and that the hunter knows all that. In my version, the hunter gets closer to the bear each time, for a reason. The assumption is that the first shot only grazed the bear because it was from a thousand yards away and the hunter at that point, of course, didn't know how the injured bear would react. The further assumption is that the two other shots, even though from closer distances, were meant to graze the bear.
Second -- and more important -- as we now know, the fact is Bill certainly never "vows revenge."
Third, the "two-choices" deal is wholly unnecessary, and, worse, to some extent it telegraphs the punch line.
Bill heads out on another trip to Alaska and he finds the black bear and kills him. At that moment there is a tap on his shoulder. A huge grizzly is standing right behind him. The grizzly says, "That was a big mistake. You've got two choices. Either I maul you to death or we have sex." Bill bends over. He survives, but he's really hurting and takes quite a bit of time to recover, and, he's outraged.
Here again, the fact is that Bill is not outraged. It makes sense for the reader to assume Bill is vengeful and outraged at this point in the narrative, but it's just not true, and the joke writer should have tried harder, as I did, to tell the story without misstating the facts.
Sure enough, he heads back to Alaska and finds the grizzly and shoots him at point blank range. There's a tap on his shoulder. He turns around to find an enormous polar bear, and the polar bear says, "You don't really come here for the hunting, do you?"
This isn't a dirty joke, but it does have dirty words.
Billy's mom just couldn't get Billy and his little brother to stop swearing. She tried everything, but nothing worked. They were all the time saying things like, "Hand me that damn crayon," and, "Oh, hell, I stubbed my toe."
So Billy's mom went to a child behavior specialist for help. She explained all the methods she'd tried to get Billy and his little brother to stop using curse words. The specialist pondered on the problem for a while and said, "You tried everything I would have recommended, so there's no other alternative. Next time one of them swears, go ahead and smack him."
The next morning Billy and his little brother come down to breakfast and sit in their chairs. Their mom asks Billy which cereal he would like, and Billy says, "Hell, I'd like some Post Toasties."
Billy's mom decides to go ahead with the advice she'd been given, so she hauls off and smacks him upside the head.
Then she turns to Billy's little brother. "Which cereal would you like to choose?" she asks sweetly.
Billy's little brother says, "Well, I don't know now, but I sure don't want any of those fucking Post Toasties."
Here's an old one I still like.
Bob and Dave are walking along downtown when a mugger assaults them with a gun and announces, "This is a stick-up. Get into that alley and then give me all your money."
As they're walking down the alley Bob fishes out his wallet and removes a few of the bills. He hands them to Dave and whispers, "Here you go, man."
Dave takes the money and looks at Bob with a puzzled expression, so Bob explains, "Don't you remember? That's the hundred bucks I owed you."
World's second-funniest joke
I stole this from a web site about jokes. According to their report from December 20, 2001, this is the world's second-funniest joke, which I like better than the first-funniest.
Two hunters from New Jersey are out in the woods when one of them falls to the ground. He doesn't seem to be breathing. His buddy whips out his cell phone and dials 9-1-1. He gasps out to the operator, "My friend just collapsed. I think he's dead. What can I do?"
The operator, in a slow, soothing voice, says, "First, just try to relax and calm down so I can help you. Second, let's make sure he really is dead."
A moment later the operator hears a shot, then the guy gets back on the phone and says, "OK, now what?"
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