Armenian Pothole Joke

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Armenian
Age: 20
Occupation: Student
Residence: Alaska
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/24/15
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Armenian, Italian, Turkish, Russian

Context: The informant, who is Armenian, and I were having a conversation on April 24th, the anniversary of the Armenian genocide. She shared this Armenian joke about a man who falls into a hole with me during this conversation.

Interview Transcript:

Informant: This one is really funny. It’s just kind of like a… it’s just… a parody. Basically, the story goes, um… A guy who was drunk is walking along, and he falls into a hole. Nevermind why there was a hole in the middle of a… road in Armenia, but apparently there is. So he falls into it, and… he tries to heft himself out the first time, and it doesn’t work. He’s like, “Alright,” and tries it another time. He tries to heft himself out, “Huh!” He’s exhausted. It’s not working. And then he says, “Alright. I’m going to try one more time to get out of this hole, and if it doesn’t work I’m just going to go home.” But… he’s already trapped in a hole. He can’t get out. So the point… that’s the whole funny thing about it.

Me: When do people usually tell this?

Informant: When everyone’s very drunk. And sitting around in a circle. That one… and the one about the… Most Armenian jokes revolve around someone who’s drunk. The majority of them.

Analysis:

This joke is an example of humor that would be used at a party. It derives its humor from the ridiculousness of the situation the subject finds himself in and from the subject’s illogical thinking. It also references the impairment in thinking that occurs when one is drunk.