Three guys, stranded on a desert island, find a magic lantern containing a genie, who grants them each one wish. The first guy wishes he was off the island and back home. The second guy wishes the same. The third guy says “Im lonely. I wish my friends were back here.
The informant believes she first heard this joke from her father when she was little, she thinks maybe six or seven years old. She finds this joke funny because the third man makes a dumb wish. That wish then puts all three men right back to where they started before they found the genie, except this time they won’t get anymore wishes. She believes that the unexpected nature of the third man’s wish and the irony of these men situation makes the joke funny.
Aside from the joke having three men which is a sacred number in most Western cultures. I found that this joke of three people having three wishes that go awry in some form or another, is very popular and has many variations. I’ve found that it shows up in several joke books and even on television shows
Annotation: In an episode of Spongebob Squarepants (Season 2 ep 11) Spongebob, Patrick, and Squidward are captured by the flying dutchmen and are each given a wish. Squidward is throw into an alternat dimension and when he finally gets back home. Patrick wishes that Squidward were there on the ship to help him decide what to wish for.
Springer, A (Writer). (2001). Shanghied [Television series episode], Spongebob Squarepants.