Argentine Riddle

Main piece:

  1. Q: Lana sube, lana baja. Qué es?

La navaja.

  1. Wool up, wool down. What is it?

The knife.

  1. Wool goes up, wool goes down. What is it?

The knife.

Background information about the piece by the informant: Emanuel was born and raised in Argentina, where this is a common joke riddle. He says it is exclusively Argentinian, as it can only be understood in Spanish being a play on words, and can only be funny in Argentina, as its humor is very specific to the country.

Context on the piece: This is an innocent joke riddle in which the answer is much more simpler than what is expected. In Spanish “Wool goes down” is “Lana baja”, which sounds like “La Navaja”, meaning “The knife”. The audience is supposed to break their heads finding a hidden meaning in the ambiguous question, while the answer is an obvious play on words. It’s a classic “it was so simple the whole time” joke. This makes the person trying to give an answer seem dumb for not knowing such a simple question, so the comedy if for the performer instead of the audience, as he gets to make fun of the person trying to give the answer.

Thoughts on the piece: Emanuel claims the riddle can only work for Argentine sensibilities, which can tell us that this is a society of pranksters who enjoy simple jokes. This joke could be either for kids or adults due to its simplicity and inoffensive nature, despite its point being leaving a person dumbfounded. It also creates a strong sense of community when only people who speak Spanish in Argentine can get the joke.