The Informant is 21 years old, a junior at USC studying Theatre and Narrative Studies, and he’s from San Jose, California.
Him: My dad told me a version of that story with the pretty lady hitch-hiking? Do you know what I’m talking about? Ok, so there’s a taxi driver puling a late-night shift one night, he’s driving down an empty street and everything is closed. He sees a pretty woman wave him down and she asks if she can go to the house on top of the mountains. He’s a bit skeptical about it, but she’s so gorgeous and beautiful, he says he’ll take her. Every now and then the driver tries to glance at this woman sitting in the back seat. She’s so beautiful that he can’t help himself. He looks in the rearview mirror and sees nothing except his backseat. He turns around. She’s sitting there smiling at him. So he turns back around front. He tries to take another glance at her in the rearview mirror, and again, he can’t see her reflection, just the reflection of the seats. He turns around to look at her, and, again, she’s just sitting there smiling at him. He turns back around to face front. Finally, one more time he tries to take a look at her in the mirror, but, again, no reflection. He turns around one more time to look at her. She’s sitting there, smiling, and her nose is bleeding!
Me: I don’t get it.
Him: Every time he was looking at her in the rearview mirror, she was bent down picking her nose. And she picked it so much that her nose started bleeding.
Me: Oh my god.
Him: I know, right?
Me: When did your dad tell you this joke?
Him: It was at a family get together or something and he wanted to tell a joke to all of the kids and he knew that we’d start yelling out in the middle of it, “She’s a vampire, duh!” and then he just liked showing us that we were wrong! It was hilarious!
Me: Do you still tell the joke now?
Him: Yeah, I love telling it to people who haven’t heard it because they think it’s gonna go one direction and it just doesn’t. I think I like doing it for the same reasons my dad did. But I tell it to my friends or to break the ice instead of to little kids.
This example is interesting because it’s a spin-off of the original joke rather than an alternate version of the original joke. It’s intent isn’t to satisfy with a scaring ending, but to throw the audience off the path of the punchline. In a way, this joke is similar to a “catch riddle” in that we are catching the teller in a practical joke. These types of spin-offs are important because they allow us to laugh at ourselves and redefine what it means to tell a scary story. It creates a new genre of minor folklore by walking the line of black (and even toilet) humor.