Humor

The Mosquito Joke

Piece:

J is the interviewer.
B is the interviewed party.

J: “I know you love to, so can you tell me the story of the mosquito joke?”

B: “[Laughs] That is one of my favorites. So I got told that joke when I was in… the summer of my eighth grade, right before I went into ninth grade, and we were at Montreat, church camp. And I do not remember exactly who told it to me, but, [uh], some guy knew it and… he… everyone else was, like, asking him to say it like all day long. They were like, [falsetto] ‘Oh, tell us the mosquito joke. Tell us the mosquito joke.’ And he kept refusing and building up hype. And so we kept asking and asking, and he finally told us it. Afterwards, he told me that when I tell it, that you can, like, make up your own … your own details to the story, but the basic points you have to hit on all of it are that there’s a mosquito, and he lives in Africa, and then he comes to America. And you just draw it out really long. You talk about his childhood in Africa, and then him coming to America, sometimes he gets a college degree, sometimes it’s different… all these different things. But, eventually, he needs to make his way back to Africa, and the joke is almost over as soon as you get back to Africa. And you say, ‘but the whole time he was in America, he didn’t have anything to drink, so he’s very, very thirsty.’ So he waits in line at the watering hole, but there’s a huge water line, so he doesn’t wait there. Then he goes to the Coke hole, and there’s also a huge line there. There’s a huge Coke line. So he doesn’t go. So he looks around, he looks around and he sees the punch hole, and the thing is… there’s no punchline. And that’s the whole joke.”

J:  “And what made you remember this so long?”

B: “Well the joke itself is really long, but there’s not that many details, so every time you tell it, it changes drastically, and you only have to remember just a few tiny, tiny details. So, it’s very easy to remember. And the same way the guy who told it to me did, you can build up hype for this joke, and the longer you build up hype the better the joke gets, because the more hype there is the more angry they’re gonna be when they hear the end of the story ‘cause there’s no payoff at all. It’s just a god-awful, terrible joke, but that’s the funny thing about it. So, I just have been telling it whenever I remember it and I guess that’s why I remember it so well.”

Analysis:

There exists a whole genre of jokes, called anti-jokes, where the punchline is that there is nothing funny about the joke. Comedy is all about subverting expectations for a laugh, and the most basic expectation of any joke is that it will literally be a joke. By taking away the joke aspect, the teller completely shocks the audience, who for this specific joke will be a little angry at first, and eventually, they will realize that the joke is funny, although probably not laugh out loud funny. Anti-jokes had a large boom in popularity in the late 2000s, which is when much of this story takes place. The more true source of this example may come from someone who read a similar joke and decided to add their own flair to make the joke even better.

Context:

The interviewed party is a 22-year-old male who currently lives in Providence, Rhode Island attending Brown University. Although he currently lives in the North East, he spent a majority of his life living in the Southern United States. This includes his birthplace in South Carolina and continues on to North-East Georgia.

 

 

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