Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Date of Performance/Collection: April 23rd, 2013
Primary Language: Spanish
Other Language(s): English, Italian
Pepito is a character that shows up, or is the subject, in many Mexican jokes. He is a little child who is always getting into trouble.
An example of a joke with Pepito from the informant (a rough translation):
Pepito’s mom comes home after a long day at work and asks Pepito, “What are you doing, my son?” Pepito responds, “Nothing, just playing with what comes from my eggs.” The mother gets mad and yells, “Don’t you ever talk to me like that again, you little rascal! I can’t believe you just said that to me! You horrible son!” She slaps him around. The next day, Pepito is with his father. He is all beat up from his mother. He says to his dad, “Papa, papa, that is the last time you buy me chocolate eggs.”
The informant said that “eggs” in Spanish is a dirty alternate name for “balls” on a male. Therefore, this joke rests on the dual meaning of the word and is kind of dirty. Pepito is playing with a chocolate egg in the joke, which is a treat that they have in Mexico. Inside the eggs are toys or trinkets. Thus, when Pepito says he is playing with the things inside his eggs, he is playing with his toys. But his mother thinks he is playing with his junk. The informant said that he learned this joke in middle school from a friend at school back home in Mexico. He still finds it a little funny. He said that there are many jokes that involve Pepito, some of which I found online.
I think I would find the joke funnier if I understood Spanish, but I still understand it. It is appropriate that the informant learned this is in middle school, because that is when sexuality becomes increasingly prevalent for children. I think it’s strange that half the joke rests of the mother beating up her son, because that could suggest that child abuse is more common in Mexico. I don’t know if that is true. The only similar consistent character I can find in American jokes is the dumb blond, who is constantly getting herself into trouble. The informant did not know about dumb blond jokes, which I found surprising. It just shows how much we take our own culture for granted, and how much cultural diversity there really is.