Oh man. Why is it that women cannot tell jokes? My best guess is that the risqué nature of many jokes has kept them the province of men. But few qualities are as attractive in a chick as the unexpected ability to tell a ripsnorter.
My wife totally mangles all jokes. She’ll get halfway through, then suddenly realize the omission of a crucial detail. Flustered, she’ll wave her hands frantically and insist on a do-over. It’s pretty endearing – like watching a kid overeager to perform a musical piece that he hasn’t mastered.
Everyone knows the reliably funny joke tellers among them. I always relish a visit with my uncle Lenny or my buddy Eddie, eager for that moment when I can pull them aside and ask with guarded optimism, “Heard any good ones lately?”
My dad was a true joke sommelier. He had at his disposal a joke to complement every occasion. Some were of admittedly questionable vintage. But his delivery was practiced and fluid.
My sister is admirably cognizant of her comedic limitations. But in deference to her lineage, she has memorized one good riddle. Note that it only works verbally:
Q: What has two legs and screws cats?
A: Mrs. Katz.
In the internet age, joke telling is becoming an ever rarer art. Like cursive. Funny pics with captions get forwarded ad infinitum. But fewer people are adept at the nuanced delivery of a well-timed punchline.
Anyway. Few things can sap humor like an academic analysis of the subject. So instead of a prolonged plea to keep the joke-telling tradition alive, I’ll relay a few of my faves.
Given this week’s overlap of Easter and Passover, it’s only fitting that I offer up a few religious jokes. Start your sons and (especially) daughters young and, with practice, they’ll gain the confidence of the fraternity of joke tellers.
A young Jewish man was seeing a psychoanalyst for an eating and sleeping disorder. Laying on the couch, he explained, “I am so obsessed with my mother. Every night, as soon as I go to sleep, I start dreaming. And everyone in my dream turns into my mother. I wake up in such a state, all I can do is go downstairs and eat a piece of toast.”
The analyst looks up from his notes and says, “What – just one piece of toast?… for a big boy like you?”
The pope is strolling around the Vatican gardens. After a lifetime of celibacy, he is suddenly overwhelmed by a feeling of intense horniness. Unable to control himself, he ducks behind some hedges and begins to masturbate.
At the moment of climax, a Japanese tourist turns the corner, obliviously snapping photos with his compact camera. The pope hurriedly lets his robes fall back into place and runs after the tourist. Determined to keep the pictures from circulating, the pope improvises.
“I was just admiring your camera. In fact, I’ve been looking for one exactly like it. Could I perhaps buy it from you for say, a thousand euro?” The Japanese tourist thinks for a second, then shakes his head no. Desperate, the pope offers two thousand. Again the tourist declines.
Finally the pope offers five-thousand euros, cash. The tourist agrees and they make the exchange.
A short while later the pope is in the Vatican with his new camera when he bumps into a cardinal. The cardinal says, “That’s a nice looking camera you’ve got there. Where’d you get it?” The pope explains that he just bought it off a tourist. The cardinal asks, “Really? What’d you pay for it?” The pope sheepishly acknowledges the price.
The cardinal is incredulous. “You paid five-thousand euros?!? Wow,” he says, “he must’ve seen you coming!”
Okay last one. A man goes into confession and says to the priest, “Father, I’m 80 years-old, widower, with 11 grandchildren. Last night I met two beautiful flight attendants. They took me home and I made love to both of them. Twice.”
The priest says, “Well, my son, when was the last time you were in confession?”
“Never Father. I’m Jewish.”
“Really? Then why are you telling me?”
The man says, “Are you kidding? I’m telling everybody.”