Rich Man and Poor Man Joke (As told in The Sopranos)

Main Performance:

BM: *Doing an impression of Tony Soprano* A rich man and a poor man, they got da same anniversary, so every yea they go out and get lunch afta they buy dheir wife dheir gifts. So, poor man says to da rich man: whadya get ya wife dis yea. Rich man says: I got her a Mercedes Benz, and I got her a Rolex. An the poor man says ok, and the rich man goes because if she doesn’t like the Rolex she could at least drive it back in a fuckin Mercedes. Rich man says to da poor man whad chu get ya wife dis yea. poor man says: I got her a pair of flip flops and a dildo, so if she don’t like the flip flops she can go fuck herself! (Misspellings intended to reflect phoentics)

Context: The informant is from Philadelphia and he heard this joke originally told on The Sopranos. He is clearly a big fan of the show and does an impression of Tony Soprano all the time.

Thoughts/Analysis: I am unsure if this joke has an origin before The Sopranos, but it still contains much about Italian American and East Coast Italian Mafia culture. The joke portrays two types of men within the community’s framework: those who are have the means to appease their wife, and those who do not. The characters who Tony is telling it to in the show find they joke funny because everyone in the room has been both of those men, coming from poor backgrounds and finding wealth through organized crime. The joke is also funny because the men get their wives seemingly odd pairs of gives, but have surprisingly logical and funny explanations for why.