Folk speech
Humor
Stereotypes/Blason Populaire

New Jersey Alphabet

Joke:

“How do you say the New Jersey Alphabet?”

“Fuckin’ A, Fuckin’ B, Fuckin’ C….”

I was told this joke by RG, who is originally from a small town in New Jersey called Bergenfield.

Who told you the joke?

RG: ” I think someone out here (Colorado) actually told me it”

What does it mean?

RG: “Well that’s just what people say out there (New Jersey) because you say “hey want to go to the movies” and I say “fuckin’ A!”. It’s definitely a New Jersey joke, it’s based off the expression. “Of course I want to!” is kind of what it means. Like if I say “Wanna go have a cocktail?” and you say “Fuckin’ A! Of course I do!”. I don’t know why that’s just how it is there, it’s standard New Jersey language which has a lot of that type of talk in it. That’s the lingo I grew up with, different than how people talk out here (meaning Colorado)”

This joke plays off the stereotype of people from New York and New Jersey as being more aggressive and vulgar. I thought it was interesting that someone from out of state actually told RG the joke, but he thought it was so funny because it fit well with what he grew up with. Even though the joke played off stereotypes, the stereotypes were accurate enough that someone from New Jersey found it funny because it was true.

The sense of regionalism that the joke evokes is also very interesting. The fact that RG said it was”different than how people talk out here” shows how even though New Jersey and Colorado are both in the United States, what is appropriate to say in one state is not necessarily appropriate in the other. As someone raised in Colorado, I can agree with RG that people from Colorado probably would not find the joke very funny because of its vulgarity and their inability to relate. I think one of the reasons RG found the joke so amusing and enjoyed sharing it with others was because it was a way to reconnect with his roots and remember where he came from. Although Colorado and New Jersey are within the same country, there are still regional social cues that need to be picked up on. Telling the joke would be a way to give people in Colorado a sense of what New Jersey is like in an amusing and entertaining way.

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