The following exchange happened with my friend from Mexico City. She is studying at USC and told me about a common joke in Mexico, the Pepito jokes. Below is the exchange that followed.
Informant: In Mexico, the Pepito jokes are extremely common to hear. Basically, they are jokes where the main character is a boy names Pepito and there are many different versions of the joke.
Collector: Can you give me an example of one of the jokes?
Informant: Sure…umm…let me try and translate it. There’s one that goes something like “Pepito went to Church one Sunday and needed to go to the bathroom. When he asked where the bathroom was they told him to go upstairs and that he would find it. Once he arrived upstairs, he saw a hole in the ceiling and thought that was the bathroom. He proceeded to take his pants of and start doing his business. Just as the Priest called for Christ’s blood, Pepito’s pee came out through the hole and into the Priest’s hand. Then the father called out for Christ’s flesh and Pepito’s poop came out. Finally the Priest called out and said ‘Is there anything Christ would like to say today?’ Just at that moment, Pepito screamed ‘Mom, there’s no toilet paper.’” It sounds funnier in Spanish though.
It amazed me to learn how prominent Pepito jokes are in Mexico. It is interesting that the main character in all of these jokes is named Pepito, which according to my friend is a very common name and nickname in Mexico. Therefore, I can understand why the jokes are so common since already people can feel related to the main character because of the fact that he has such a common name. There are two important things that make this joke funny; religion and bodily functions. Bodily functions are often times the source of many jokes because they are considered to be a taboo subject. Religion, on the other hand, is very interesting to see in a joke because it is considered to be sacred. However, my friend explained that Mexico is a Catholic country. Hence, it makes sense that such a joke would target religion because it works as a form of satire on how important religion is in Mexico. Thus, I can understand why this would be funny. The joke is made relatable by using such a common name. The use of bodily functions brings in a taboo subject that makes people laugh and the use of religion brings in a sense of satire that further promotes the joke’s relevance.