“What is brown and sticky?”

“A stick!”

Carolina O’Donnell, who goes by her nickname, Coca, enjoys performing jokes all the time. Every single time I speak to her, she tells me a new joke she has heard or discovered. She thinks jokes deemed as lame are particularly entertaining and humorous just because they are very lame. The joke above is one of her favorite lame jokes. It is one of her favorite jokes because, as Coca stated, “It’s so ridiculously lame that you can’t help but laugh. All things considered, there really isn’t enough laughter in this world, so we should take it where we get it, even if the joke is so lame that it makes you cry, too.” She tends to use the joke as an icebreaker upon meeting someone, or in conversation with friends. She says she also sometimes interjects “it into random moments, just to add a bit of spice.” She did not learn this from her surroundings or a friend or family member. In fact, what I find most interesting is that she seeks out these jokes; she actually wants to acquire this kind of knowledge. She went on a lame joke archive website and found it. She concedes, “Lame, I know.” I find it interesting, surprising, and humorous that she looked the joke up on a website because I did not expect that to be her source. Also, no one has ever admitted to going on a lame joke archive website to me before.

I completely agree that the joke is lame, and I completely agree that the fact it is lame is what makes it humorous. When she told me the joke, I could not help but groan and chuckle a little bit. I think that if it makes someone laugh or even just smile, it is a joke worth telling. It is clear that other people think it is a joke worth telling because it appears in many published works. For instance, it appears on page 126 of Kelly Link’s book Stranger Things Happen.

I did not actually know that lame joke archive websites exist, though I cannot say that their existence is a surprise. When she told me her source, I actually got curious and looked up some of these lame joke archives.

I think the fact Coca tells these jokes tells me and everyone else something very important about her. It tells me and everyone else that humor is very important to her; she does not take herself too seriously. She identifies herself as a facetious person and shows this to everyone through her choice to perform these admittedly lame jokes. I find it fascinating that even though it embarrasses her to tell these jokes, even though she herself thinks the action of looking up lame jokes is in fact lame, she still looks them up, admits she looks them up, and tells the jokes.

This joke also just reflects what we consider funny in our culture. In other societies and cultures, they might think the joke is not funny at all. They might think it is lame and simply lame, not lame to the point of being funny. People are able to define or identify certain things about our culture through the types of jokes we perform and find funny.

Annotation: Link, Kelly. Stranger Things Happen. Brooklyn, NY: Small Beer Press, 2001.