The story below was told on a bus ride from Las Vegas to Los Angeles among a group of USC students. The group was exchanging riddles and jokes to pass the time and my informant, AC, decided to tell a story.
This guy was driving alongside a lake on his way to a party. This really great song came on the radio and he was jamming. Then he heard a weird noise coming from the trunk of his car. He was confused but kept on driving and the noise disappear after a bit. Then 10 minutes later another great song came on the radio. The guy was jamming, having a good time and he heard the noises again! This time he decided to pull over and check his trunk out.
When he opened up the back, he saw a bag of dancing cookies. “You guys! Shut up and stop dancing!” He slammed the trunk. And went back to the front seat, annoyed.
Behind the wheel, he started getting his groove back. No dancing cookies. All good songs just blasting out of the speakers. A beautiful lake right next to him. A fun party to look forward to. But then he heard that noise again. Annoyed, he pulled over, went to the trunk and yelled at the cookies, “If you dance one more time, I’ll grab you out of this trunk and throw you into the lake!”
Thinking he had scared the cookies into silence, he hit the road. He was just 20 minutes away from the party–coasting!
But then he heard those freaking cookies dancing again!!! He immediately pulled over, stormed to the drunk, grabbed the cookies and chucked them into the lake!
My informant finished the story with a grin on his face, waiting for our reaction. But our reaction was not laughter or joy. We were disappointed. If it was a joke, there was no punchline. If it was a story, what was the point?
My informant, noticing our disappointment, then said:
Oh and by the way, he made it to the party 20 minutes later and he had a nice time.
The listeners and I were even more annoyed and confused after this addition. We felt as if she had wasted our time with this dumb story. So we all just moved on. Somebody else told a joke. Another person shared a riddle. Another story. Another riddle. A second joke.
About 20 minutes later, my informant said she had another story to tell us. We agreed, though a little apprehensively because her first story flopped.
A guy and his girlfriend decided to go out to a nice dinner for their anniversary. The guy made reservations at a special restaurant–the place where they went to on their first date. It was this little cafe that served the most delicious fish. It was right on a lake so the fish was fresh and they could watch the sun go down over the water. Pretty romantic.
The guy decided that this was the night. This was the night he was going to propose to his girlfriend. The ring was like a heavy weight in his pocket. He was getting nervous. Really nervous. So he decided to step out of the restaurant for a sec to practice. He walked down to the water.
“Will YOU marry me?”
“Will you MARRY me?”
“Please marry me?”
He still didn’t feel ready. He decided to get the engagement ring out and practice with it. Maybe then it’d seem more realistic. So he practice with the ring, and in a literal grand gesture, the ring flew out of his hands and plopped into the water!
Horribly frustrated and sad, the man went back into the restaurant. He tried to salvage the rest of the night and pretend like nothing went wrong.
Later when his girlfriend was cutting into her fish she exclaimed, “Oh my God! Look what’s in my fish!”
And inside the fish was the dancing cookies.
Our minds were blown. I had assumed that the woman was going to find the engagement ring inside of her fish. But no! The dancing cookies making a comeback! It was great. My informant said that this joke was a risky one. You just hope your audience is entertained enough to make the connection between the two. Luckily, we all did.