Tag Archives: dad joke

British Bus Driver Joke

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Canadian/American
Age: 20
Occupation: Student
Residence: New York City
Date of Performance/Collection: 04/18/20
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Piece:

Informant: 

*Speaking in an artificial British accent*

Bus driver pulls up to a bus stop, opens the door, looks out and there’s a guy standing there. This guy has one leg, three eyes, no arms. 

So the bus driver looks at him and says, “Aye aye aye, you look ‘armless.” 

Background: The informant was born in Canada and spent most of his life in America. The joke was originally told to him by his Welsh father who has a natural British accent. The joke reminds the informant of his childhood, a time when he didn’t understand the joke but still enjoyed his father saying it to him. 

Context: The piece was collected while I stayed with the informant and his family during a state mandated stay-at-home order. We are very good friends and have known each other for a long time, making the performance very casual. He and I were about to sit down for dinner with both of his parents when he turned to me and posed the joke before saying it to his dad and asking if he remembered it. The piece was collected in its natural performance setting. 

Analysis: The humor of the joke relies on an understanding of the phrase “Aye aye aye” being a homonym of “eye eye eye”. This is comical due to the potential interpretation of the phrase as both a British greeting and a reference to the man’s three eyes. The second part of the joke relies on the usage of the British accent to omit the /h/ phoneme in “harmless” so that it sounds identical to the word “armless,” referencing the man’s lack of arms. While the joke isn’t considered overwhelmingly humorous to the informant and audience, conjuring a smile rather than a laugh, the informant retells it as a memory of his father and British heritage. For me, hearing the joke was joyful because it symbolized family and quintessential “dad humor.”

Harry Poter Joke

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 20
Occupation: Business Student
Residence: South Bend, Indiana
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/23/20
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Main Piece

The following is transcribed from a joke told to myself, GK, by the informant, CZ. 

CZ: How does Harry Potter get down a hill? 

GK: I don’t know. How?

CZ: J.K. Rolling

Background: The informant is a 20 year old, who is a huge Harry Potter fan. He claims to have found this joke online, and loves to tell it because “it’s such a stupid joke”. If you are not a Harry Potter fan, the joke is J.K. Rolling is the author of the series, and the joke is simply just playing off her last name. 

Context: The informant and I discussed this joke over Face Time. 

My Thoughts: For me, this joke would qualify as a “Dad Joke”. I say this because the joke is really short, and the only reason it brings out laughter is because it’s so unoriginal and unfunny. However, I feel like “Dad Jokes” are becoming more popular amongst the younger generation. I say this because over the past couple of years, they’ve become their own category of jokes, and have a certain style that differs them from other jokes. The style I am talking about is, how the recipient is usually laughing at the person who is telling the joke rather than the joke itself.  The dynamic of the “Dad Joke” is certainly interesting in that way.

The Talking Mule

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 18
Occupation: Student
Residence: California
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/1/19
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Subject:

The subject is a student at USC who grew up in Charleston, South Carolina. I wanted to know if there were any local tales or folklore she knew of while growing up, so I interviewed her for the project.

 

Piece:

Subject: There was this joke my grandpa used to tell us a lot when we were growing up, and I don’t think it’s actually that funny.

Interviewer: Share it with us.

Subject: I’m gonna butcher it, but it wasn’t funny in the first place —

Interviewer: So it won’t matter if you butch it then.

Subject: Okay it was called “The Talking Mule” and, ugh I’m gonna mess it up, but there was this farmer and he had a wife and kid. And he told the kid to go get something from the mule, but when he went over to the mule it said “I don’t wanna work today.” And the kid freaked out and he ran to his dad and told him that the mule talked. The farmer got mad at his son and sent him inside then went to the mule, which said, “I don’t wanna work today.” And then the farmer freaked out and said “I’ve never heard a mule speak” and the dog replied “Me neither.” And the farmer freaked out even more, he ran into the house and told his wife, “The mule and the dog talk!” And the wife said “You’re a liar.” And then the farmer freaks out and says, “You talk too?!”

Interviewer: That’s a pretty good one.

Subject: Yeah, it’s a little sexist at the end but then again it was my grandpa so.

 

Analysis:

I looked this joke up and I had to weave through lots of “Francis the Talking Mule” articles, which is a movie series about, you guessed it, a talking mule. But I eventually found that this joke is apparently apart of a string of South Carolinian tall tales. The version I found online doesn’t end with a joke about the wife speaking, but rather ends with the cat speaking. It’s not too much of a surprise like the one the Subject told, but the online version isn’t so derogatory, so. I looked up if agriculture was an important part of the South Carolinian economy, but it turns out their emphasis is in aerospace and technology.

Chinoisms: Sleep

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 19
Occupation: Student
Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/10/18
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): French

Context & Analysis

The subject often mentions her mother’s “Chinoisms”, or unique sayings that her mother learned when growing up in Chino, CA. Below is the subject’s direct quote on the origin of her mother’s proverbs:

            “So my mom comes from Chino [California], and so she has a plethora of sayings that I didn’t even know what they meant earlier, I just said them until I got older and I was like “Oh! That actually makes sense!”

The subject’s mother’s response is cheeky and plays upon the pun created in the phrasing “How did you sleep?”. The question is rather contextual; if the question is taken literally (like how the subject’s mother does) it is results in a humorous answer.his reminded me a lot of classic “dad jokes”, or jokes that give literal responses to questions often with the purpose of irritating their children for a humorous result. The subject’s re-enactment of her mother’s gesture is also an important part of re-creating the joke, as the punchline of the joke is delivered physically rather than verbally.

Main Piece

“Almost religiously whenever my mom is asked “How did you sleep?’ she says “Like this!” and then she puts her hands next to her face, and, um, tilts to the side like she’s sleeping. [The subject put her hands in a prayer pose on the left side of her face like she’s sleeping on a pillow and tilts her head slightly].

Spanish Language Word Play

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Mexican-American
Age: 20
Occupation: Student
Residence: Los Angeles, CA/ Brownsville, TX
Date of Performance/Collection: 24 April 2018
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Spanish

Subject: Joke featuring a play on words.

Collection:

“Atrás te huele!”

“Interviewer: So, do you have any jokes that are particularly like crude, because I think those are the best one.

Interviewee: Oh… it’s like, my dad’d always tell this joke about how there’s a difference in like the arrangement of words. So, like you can say, uh, ‘huele a traste’. Like huele-a-taste, which is three words. Which means it smells like dishes versus ‘atrás te huele’. Which should be, it smells like dishes still, yes it should be. But, because if you like break up the word, if you break up the word it means you smell like ass… and it’s my fav.”

Background Info: Z. Cantú is a twenty-year-old college student majoring in Theater at the University of Southern California. She is from Brownsville, Texas and is bilingual in Spanish and English. Both of her parents immigrated to the United States as teens where they met and started a family. She has grown up with a melding of American and Mexican traditions.

Context: My roommate would frequently make mention of jokes her dad would tell involving funny rearrangements of words in her native Spanish. This is the crudest and her favorite. I asked her to recount this story for my collection.

Analysis: This joke garners its humor by subverting the expected to reveal a new, surprising, and rather crude meaning. The simplicity of this model is what lends the joke its success. Without garnish, the simple wordplay is clear and easy to pick up on. Furthermore, the crude language and insult involved in the joke increase its surprise since it is amazing to many people the power of language in that a slight change can create a whole new meaning. The simplicity of the word play marks it a clear “dad joke”.