Jokes – United States of America

Yo mama is so fat, her cereal bowl has a lifeguard.

Yo mama is so fat, when a car hit her, she asked “Who threw that rock?”

Yo mama is so fat, when I swerved around her I ran out of gas.

Everett first heard these jokes in middle school (6-8th grade, between 2000-2003). This about the time that “your mom” jokes and comments started getting popular. The idea of the “your mom” movement was to try to respond to as many questions as possible with the response “your mom.” Usually meant as a joke, some people took these comments as personal jabs towards their mothers. Examples of questions meriting a “your mom” response would include: “What were you doing last night?” “Who’s your date on Friday?” The “Yo” in the phrases above are shortened forms of “your.”

In my experience with “your mom” jokes, they are typically used by males. My guess is that the first “your mom” jokes arose with a sexual, demeaning intent. Males probably made the comments about their friends’ mothers, hoping to insult their friends at the expense of the mothers. By answering “your mom,” people are also able to deflect questions that they would rather not answer—if person A asks person B a question that B thinks is none of A’s business, then B could reply to the question with “Your mom.” These “yo mama is so fat…” jokes seem to be extensions of the “your mom” retorts.

Some variation exists within the “yo mama” jokes. In the past, I’ve come across jokes with the adjectives “dumb” or “stupid,” rather than “fat.” In all of these cases, the adjectives have a negative connotation—highly effective if an insult is intended. In the above examples, the phrases following “yo mama is so fat” all bring to mind images of something that is abnormally large and situations that would not exist in real life. As for those who view these jokes as humorous, the more outrageous “fat” situations are probably the funniest. These “yo mama” and “your mom” jokes are so successful because of the way they mock authority. Mothers are stereotypically known as being nurturing and caring, able to love you when no one else does. The juxtaposition of the mother’s character as sensitive and compassionate with an overwhelmingly, alarmingly obese woman is quite striking, fueling the joke’s success—especially if you are able to direct the “yo mama” jokes at a friend (or enemy), away from yourself.