Informant: Why did Timmy fall off the swing?
Informant: Because he had no arms.
Collector: Oh and then the “Knock knock. Who’s there? Not Timmy!”
Informant: Yeah! Also, say “knock knock.”
Collector: Knock knock.
Informant: Who’s there?
Collector: Who? Oh wait, what? Oh!
Informant: Yeah! That one’s just awkward.
Collector’s Notes: In class, we learned about the growing popularity of anti-jokes, and I think is probably the most common one I’ve heard. It was cool how the Informant and I were able to add to the joke together and make it a two-sided joke. It’s interesting that this particular joke, always a swing and always Timmy, is also almost always followed up with the knock-knock anti-joke. It’s like it’s two-parted. A young child with no arms is not funny at all, but I think it is a way that we address serious things with humor. The fact that someone without arms can’t do all of the everyday things that we do is really sad and hard for some people to talk about without it becoming awkward. This jokes eases some of that tension.
A type of riddle we talked about in class was the “catch” riddle, in which you trick someone into saying the wrong thing. Most times, it’s supposed to insinuate something inappropriate. An example that I know off-hand is “What’s brown and sticky?” which makes it seem like the person is supposed to say “Poop,” when actually, the answer is “a stick.” The Informant’s second joke reminded me of that. It tricks the person being told to joke into saying something that they’re not supposed to say, therefore putting them in the awkward position of suddenly becoming the joke-teller instead of receiver.