The informant is a new professional in post-secondary administration. He lives in New Zealand, but he is originally from Apple Valley, California and went to university at the University of California, Irvine, where he was involved in student affairs and studied computer science. His background is Italian and Polish, and he has 3 older siblings.
This piece is a joke that the informant finds rather corny, but is his sister’s favorite.
“So my sister’s favorite joke is, um…I almost forgot it for a second [laughs]. How do you catch a unique rabbit?”
I don’t know. How do you catch a unique rabbit?
“Unique up on it!”
Okay. Is that it?
“No, there’s more. Uh, how do you catch a tame rabbit?”
I don’t know. How do you catch a tame rabbit?
“Tame way, unique up on it.”
[laughs] Okay, I get it. Very clever.
“I have another joke also. So how do you catch a common rabbit?”
I don’t know, you tell me.
“Common, tame way! Unique up on it.”
Do you know where your sister got the joke?
“Actually, I do. She was on a cross country road trip. So she got super Catholic in college, and so she went on a cross country road trip for, like, something, I don’t remember what. And she learned it from that from one of the other people who was on her bus with her.”
This joke is a very “American” joke in a lot of ways—it’s driven not just by the first punchline, but by how each added part of the joke builds on the original to a final punchline, the culmination of the rest of the joke. The humor is found in punchline rather than in the build up. As is common in Abrahamic cultures, the joke is told in three parts, with the third being the final destination.
The joke also relies on the recipient having a strong grasp of the English language, as each of the punchlines makes use of words that sound vaguely similar—“unique” and “you sneak,” “tame” and “same,” and “common” and “come on.” The first one in particular could be challenging for anyone who is not a native speaker of the language.