266. Telling Jokes in English (Part 3)

This is the third and final episode in this series on jokes. In this one we’re going to consider the psychology of puns, hear an old tape recording of my brother and me telling jokes when we were children, and you’ll also get lots more gags and their explanations.

Small Donate Button
The Psychology of Puns
Why do we tell jokes? Is it all just fun, or is there something deeper and more psychological going on here? Let’s listen to a clip.
This is a clip from Tim Vine’s DVD ‘So I Said To This Bloke’ about the psychology of puns. Tim Vine (winner of the joke of the year) talks to a psychologist called Ingrid Collins about why we like puns.
Three questions:
1. Why do we tell puns? (two reasons)
2. What’s the condition she mentioned?
3. Why did the audience laugh a couple of times?

1. For two reasons. One is for the sheer joy of surprise, silliness and the joy of showing up our language in all its light and shade. Secondly, people use puns because they want to avoid talking about more serious things – emotional issues, fear of intimacy etc.
2. The condition is called paronomasia and a person who suffers from this is a paronomasiac.
3. The audience laughs a couple of times because, of course, Tim Vine makes a couple of jokes. The first one is a joke about the word paronomasiac. Para (like parachute) mosaic (a pattern) – he says; “A paronomsiac – as opposed to someone who like parachutes and strange patterns, a paranomosaic.” This is a made up word, and a pun which he came up with on the spot. The psychologist is not impressed, and just says “yes” – in fact we sense that the psychologist is probably judging him and maybe considers him to have paronomasia. Also: “Black beauty – he’s a dark horse”

Round 2 – yet more bad jokes!
11. What do you call a Saudi Arabian dairy farmer?
A milk sheik

12. Why can’t ants go to church?
Because they’re in sects.

13. Man walks into a bar with a piece of tarmac under one arm and says…
I’ll have a drink please and another one for the road.

14. Two fish in a tank, and one of them said…
How do you drive this thing?

15. Why did the scarecrow win the nobel prize?
He was outstanding in his field.

16. A policeman was standing by the side of a road watching traffic. He saw a bus drive past full of penguins, so he stopped it.
“Why is your bus full of penguins?” he asked the driver. “I found them all by the side of the road, they must have escaped” said the driver. “Well take them to the zoo!” said the policeman. “All right” said the driver, and drove off.
A couple of hours later the policeman saw the bus again, it was still full of penguins and now they were all eating ice-creams. He stopped the bus again and said to the driver – “I thought I told you to take them to the zoo?”
The driver said “I did take them to the zoo, and now we’re going to the swimming pool”.

17. Why don’t cannibals eat clowns?
Because they taste funny.

18. A man walking down the streets sees another man with a very big dog. One man says to the other, “Does your dog bite”, the man replies “No my dog doesn’t” The man pats the dog on the head and it bites his hand off. The man says “I thought you said your dog didn’t bite” and the other man says “Yes. Thats not my dog”.

19. Why do Marxists like to drink fruit infusions?
Because all proper tea is theft!

20. What’s ET short for?
Because he’s got little legs.

My Brother and me telling jokes when we were kids
Here’s an old recording from when I was about 6 years old of my bro and me telling jokes. The jokes are listed below. I was a bit young to be able to tell the jokes properly, and I found it hilarious to get the jokes wrong. Nothing has changed really…

Here are the jokes from the recording
Knock knock
Who’s there?
Doctor Who?
That’s right!

Why did the fly fly?
Because the spider spider (because the spider spied her)

Doctor doctor I feel like a pack of cards
Sit down and I’ll deal with you later

Knock knock
Who’s there?
Cows go
Cows go who?
Cows go moo not who!

What did the cat do when it got to the motorway?

– get your (py)jamas on

Louis CK talks about a joke written by his daughter
The point is that he loves his daughter’s joke because it is unexpected, and because he can imagine the situation. It’s a funny situation with no explanatory punchline. Normally this kind of joke has a contrived opening because it is leading to a punchline with a double meaning. His daughter’s joke just has a contrived setup, but no punchline, which is actually more surprising and therefore more satisfying! I’ll let Louis explain it.

Who didn’t let the gorilla into the ballet?
Just the people who were in charge of that decision.
(this is a sort of anti-joke made up by a child who doesn’t really understand the rules of jokes, which makes it funny to Louis)
For more jokes written by kids, click here.

Round 3
21. Did you hear about the ice-cream man? He was found dead in his ice-cream van, covered in chocolate sauce and pieces of hazelnut.
The police said that he had topped himself.

22. What lies on the bottom of the ocean and shakes?
A nervous wreck.

23. Q – what did the grape say when the elephant trod on it?
A – Nothing, it just gave a little wine.

24. A man walks into a bar and is about to order a drink when he notices Van Gogh in the corner. He calls over, “Hey, Van Gogh! Want a drink?” and Van Gogh replies, “No thanks. I’ve got one ‘ere.”

25. There were two cows in a field. One said “moo”, the other one said “I was going to say that!”

26. Patient : “Doctor I keep hearing “The green, green grass of home” in my head. Doctor : “That’s called the Tom Jones Syndrome”
Patient : “Is it common ?”
Doctor : “It’s not unusual”

27. Two aerials met on a roof, fell in love and got married. The ceremony was rubbish but the reception was brilliant.

28. A horse walks in to a bar. The bartender says: “Why the long face?”

29. A bear walks into bar. He goes up to the barman and says “Can I have a pint of beer and … … … and a packet of crisps?”.
The barman says, “yes… but why the big paws?

30. A Buddhist monk walks up to a hot dog vendor and says “Make me one with everything.”

  • Orion team

    Hi, people,
    We have finished this episode so you can work on it and improve it too.

    Thanks to all of you having transcribed this episode.

  • Carla

    Hi Luke, I listen to your podcasts every day on my way to work and it’s an absolutely superb way to deal with the traffic!
    I have to say it. I literally fell in love with your podcasts. (and when
    I listened to the record I fell in love with baby Luke too, it was so
    I have been listening to your podcasts for two weeks and I am already addicted!
    I am an Italian girl, but I have been living in London for three months and your podcasts “were a sight for sore eyes”! I have always loved telling jokes and now that I can do it in English as well I feel definitely more complete. :)

    In my opinion, the reason why your podcasts are so great to listen to is that they are a perfect mixture among your personal life, some British culture and some English’ study. It’s like having a nice british friend who helps you improving your English while drinking a beer.

    I have also joined the Orion team, hoping to improve my English and (why not?) helping you with the incredible work you are doing.

    Many thanks, again!

  • Made in You Crane

    Hi Luke

    Long time listener, first time commenter (aka ninja lepster) from Kiev! As you can see I was not russshing to leave my first comment. Well, it’s somewhat complicated between our countries at present. And unfortunately its continuous!))

    Anyway, I’d like to thank you for all your effort and a truly great podcast! Its an amazing, humorous, friendly and a high quality program that it is absolute pleasure to listen to!

    I was catching up with the previous episodes and got to this one yesterday. What I basically wanted to say is that it seemed to me that the Mosk-ito blasphemous joke (to be perfectly honest with you I didn’t know this word initially, looked it up in the dictionary while writing this comment) had a double-double meaning.

    Why can’t ants go to church?
    Because they’re in sects.

    Aunts anyone?)

    Keep up the good work!


  • Catherine Bear

    Loved the Mom-Luke-James podcast from the past! Thank you so much, it was exclusive!!!

  • ricardo

    -Honey, Do you wish a perfect and lovelly weekend?
    – yes
    – Ok see you on monday
    -Are you frightned?
    – A little bit
    – Is it your first time?
    – Nooo! I’ve been frigthtened before
    -I come for the job offer
    -Do you speak spanish?
    -Yes sir
    – Level?
    – “Nivel”
    what did say a printer to the other?
    – Is this copy yours, or only my impression?
    -Do you know the electron’s charge?
    -And protons?
    – Neither
    -Could you tell me the wifi’s password, please
    – You need to ask something to drink first
    – Could spell it?

  • Thanks you very much for this episode. I got a A-Z of structure of jokes.
    Accept my heart felt thanks,

  • Yura

    I was told a joke about an English gentleman. I wonder how funny it would appear to you in my alien English ?_? To make this joke work properly the ending line must be conveyed in a most posh way like a true gentleman’s gentleman would do XD
    There’s a typical grey and rainy day in England and an English gentleman is sitting in his living room by the fire reading his newspaper and drinking his tea. Quiet and peace are interrupted only by crackling of a log in the fire and subtle noises of the tea being slurped. Suddenly, the door opens with a bang and a valet runs into the room his hair all in mess and himself out of breath: “Sir, sir, we must hurry, we must save ourselves, we are being flooded by Thames river!” Gentleman looks up at his valet and says: “James, this is a respectful and honorable household, please, do me a favor and behave befittingly!” The valet bows and leaves the room. One minute after the door opens again, James appears on the doorstep and steps aside announcing loudly: “Sir, Thames has arrived!”

    And this one is about foreigners who are having a hard time learning English like me XD
    A teacher asks the class: “Why is Shakespeare called a genius?” “Because he spoke and wrote in English!” says one pupil.