Joke- Australia

“What do you call an abo (i.e. aboriginal) with head lice?” Answer: A lamington

According to the informant, the above joke is part of a large class of jokes called “abo jokes” which makes fun of aboriginals and are prevalent in Australia. This specific “abo joke” was acquired by the informant from a friend in high school. The informant stated that she would “probably never use” this specific joke, perhaps only telling it to a “little kid because they laugh at everything.” Failing to think of another abo joke, the informant told the one above, which she considers “not very funny” and “not a good abo joke.”

Part of the distinctiveness of this joke, I think, lies in the probability that it will not be easily understood by people unfamiliar with Australian culture. First, one must have some knowledge of what an Australian aboriginal is, and that “abo” is slang for such an individual. Some context for the rather antagonistic relationship between Australians and the aboriginals also might be useful for understanding why the Australians like to tell these jokes so much (as conveyed above, the informant seemed quite distraught over and displeased with her poor abo joke), though Americans might intuitively grasp the nature of this relationship by thinking about the history of their own country—like Australia, also colonized by the British—with Native Americans. And while I myself had a pretty good grasp of this form of joke, having previously studied and lived in Australia last Spring, I still had not a clue what a “lamington” was, which according to the informant, is a distinctively Australian dessert. Indeed, some imaging of the appearance of this dessert seems clearly necessary for understanding the joke, though one might still find it “not funny” and unrepresentative of the class of abo jokes as a whole as the informant believes.