Author Archives: lcolton

Two priests driving down a freeway

JM is a current student at USC and a very funny guy.  He is a comedian and is pursuing a career based on writing and comedy. He is Jewish and is from LA. 

“Two priests are driving down a freeway, a cop pulls up behind him, flashes his lights, and pulls him over. He gets out of his car and walks up to the priests and they roll down their window. The priests say ‘Can we help you officer’ and the officer goes ‘Yes gentleman, we’re looking for two child molesters.’ And the two priests look at each other, and then look back to the officer and go ‘we’ll do it”

JM- When I was in High School one of my friend’s dad was a comedy writer, and he told me this joke that I remembered forever. I thought it was funny the first time I heard it, but it became a lot more important to me after I got to use it as social currency.  My sophomore year of college, some buddies and I were trying to get into a frat party, first and last time, and uh, there was a bouncer at the door trying to charge for the party and we didn’t want to spend any money so the bouncer said ‘ well, if you tell me a joke that makes me laugh I’ll let you in for free’ and I told him this joke and he didn’t laugh but he just looked at me and nodded and let us walk inside. That was the only time a joke has saved me money.

ANALYSIS: This joke works well not only because of its very sudden and dark punchline but also because of its use of the Catholic Church priests as the punching bag. The structure of the joke doesn’t go exactly where one would expect, which gives it a memorable factor. Jokes about the Catholic church’s abuse of children have become exceptionally popular for many reasons. One reason is that joking about dark history and trauma makes it easier for people to talk about it. Many people wouldn’t know about the abuses of the Catholic Church if it weren’t for the commonality of these jokes. Furthermore, it’s easy to make jokes about pedophilic Catholic priests because there is a lack of remorse. Nobody has empathy for pedophiles, especially not when they come from a privileged position. The popularity of jokes about pedophilic Catholic priests work not only as humorous releases of trauma but also helps keep generations informed of these historical precedents.


 MR is a student at Carleton University but currently lives in Texas with her family. Her parents are both Mexican immigrants and she was born in Canada, but they have all lived in the United States for over a decade. She is a linguist who speaks multiple languages. 

TEXT: ‘cafecito’

MR- It’s used when, like, you’re done with a meal and now it’s time for talking at the table. Maybe you have a cookie or like a little dessert or like a little cup of coffee or tea and you just table talk. You have cafecito to have table talk. Cafecito is commonly used by Spanish-speaking people because it’s just a diminutive of cafe (coffee), but me and my family and friends use it a lot more frequently and more versatile. My non-Spanish speaking friends know what it means when I ask for them to come over for a quick cafecito. 

ANALYSIS: The progression of cafecito as a phrase represents the values of MR and her bilingual family. Dinner time is an important time for many families, eating all together and not leaving the table until everyone is done. Sharing time together around a meal is crucial to MR’s lifestyle, and the evolution of the use of the word cafecito captures that. While the direct translation of the word just means coffee, when asking for some cafecito there is a desire for communal gathering and conversation, not just a drink. In a world where having a screen in front of your face throughout the whole day is becoming ever more pertinent, it’s important to have moments of true connection and honest conversations, without any added social pressures. Having cafecito after a meal allows for a calm and open area for people to commune and relax, with just good company and treats to keep one occupied. Using the word Cafecito in this way is also very reflexive of the bilingual experience. In many multilingual families, words and phrases quickly take on new or double meanings. The abundance of communication routes does not always mean that there are words that can capture what one means, and often there is a word in one language that better captures the feeling you are trying to convey in another. Cafecito evolved into a multilingual term, having various meanings depending on the sentence in which it is included and able to be used in multiple languages. The varying uses of the word Cafecito all represent the importance of community and communication in our modern world and the ways that language can evolve to fit our needs.

Cheese & Rice

AP is a 20-year-old student from Austin, Texas. Her mom is a Mexican immigrant and her father is white, but she primarily has lived with her mother and many older siblings.

 ‘Cheese and rice’

AP- Whenever I was a kid my mom’s English wasn’t as good as it is now because she was born in Mexico, so she couldn’t pronounce Jesus Christ. So, instead she would say Cheese and Rice. As a kid, I obviously thought that was the funniest thing in the world, and I have continued to use it as an exclamation ever since.

ANALYSIS: Many sayings and phrases stem from a joke or memory, and it is spread far and wide until the origins are unfamiliar. Most people on the planet probably have jokes about words that their friends or family mispronounced. AP’s mom being an immigrant raising multiple children on a single income was stressful, and there were often probably many miscommunications and issues conversing. While this can be irritating, the best way to change the mood is by lighting it up with a laugh. Cheese and rice was a way for AP to make these communication issues lighter. All kinds of people struggle with miscommunication and mispronunciations, and from those moments hundreds of inside jokes and sayings were created. While using cheese and rice as an exclamation may not make sense to someone unfamiliar with AP’s story, it does not mean that they wouldn’t find the same humor in it or continue to use it on their own. Even without the context, exclaiming ‘Cheese and rice’ when you are upset over something is inherently funny and would help break the tension. Despite never having heard the original context, the people around AP began using cheese and rice as well, because they heard AP use it and thought it was funny or intriguing. Before one knows it, they may be exclaiming cheese and rice without ever knowing what it means or where it came from, because its simple nature makes it a universal comedic button. Simple jokes that come from lighthearted fun can permeate all levels of time and space.

Habla Hasta por los Codos

MR is a student at Carleton University but currently lives in  Texas with her family. Her parents are both Mexican immigrants and she was born in Canada, but they have all lived in the United States for over a decade. She is a linguist who speaks multiple languages. 

 ‘habla hasta por los codos’

MR- if someone who can talk and talk and talk forever, or someone who can talk to rocks, you’d say ’habla hasta por los cados’, which means that they could talk even with their elbows. Instead of their mouth they use their elbows would be a more literal translation of it. I don’t know where it came from but I first heard it from my mom, and since she’s from Mexico City I’ve always assumed it was a more popular phrase there.  

ANALYSIS: In every culture, some people never seem to know when to stop talking. This specific phrase reminds me of English terms like ‘chatterbox’ or ‘gabber’, which are used to describe a similar type of person. It’s a universally understood metaphor to describe a person who exists throughout every culture. The saying highlights the cultural value of knowing oneself and being able to read social scenarios. People who talk too much or talk over others are looked down upon, and often seen as brazen and self-centered. Metaphors like this one emphasize the resentment that is fostered toward self-serving individuals. Typically, people who can talk and talk and talk are not very good listeners, and many don’t enjoy it when a person only wants to talk about themself and never listens to what others have to say. The commonality of metaphors about these types of people showcases the importance humankind puts on being able to listen and communicate with others properly. Having playfully negative remarks to make about these people allows them to be made aware of their brazen talkativeness while also spreading a message about what is socially correct. While it is unclear how long this metaphor has been around, it has been popular within Mexican culture for many years and continues to be used, being spread to new generations.  


AP is a 20-year-old student from Austin, Texas. She is very internet savvy and speaks extensively in cultural and internet references. 


AP-A word I use all of the time in different contexts is ‘slay’. I started saying it when it became a trend on TikTok and I use it to this day even though the trend has kinda died. I use it in every context because, well, everything is just so slay like, how could I not call it slay? Everything is slay to me. Every time I say slay I mean it in like an endearing almost cheering on kind of way, like oh girl you go slay that, or this is gonna slay. It’s just something that’s good or exciting or just has a light-hearted carefree vibe. 

ANALYSIS: The definition of the word slay means to strike and kill, but has evolved to hold a brand new meaning to modern youth and Queer culture. The popularity of the word slay in the modern context comes primarily from LGBTQ culture and speaking habits. At some point, people began using slay to signify excellence. Instead of saying an artist ‘killed’ their performance, they ‘slayed’ their performance. Terms like ‘slay’ and ‘yass’ stem from the ball subculture, and have been used there for decades. But these terms have been coined as ‘internet words’, and are used by many people outside of the LGBTQ community with no knowledge of their origin. There are mixed feelings about the increased use of Queer terms outside of the community. It signifies an improvement in LGBTQ acceptance culturally, with more people being open and interested in Queer language. It shows that LGBTQ culture no longer has to hide and has its place in the culture mainstream. However, the Queer community is often ignored as being the originators of these terms, instead with people crediting Tiktok or Twitter. The terms have become appropriated, and are barely even connected back to Queer culture anymore. Slay is a perfect example of the interesting phenomenon that we are facing, an exterior acceptance of Queer culture while erasing the culture’s proper history.