Tag Archives: inside-joke

Nickname Mix-Up

Informant Info: The informant is a 22-year-old male who was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and comes from a Catholic family. He currently is a senior at USC and is very into half-marathon and marathon racing.


Interview Transcript:

Interviewer: Any major proverbs or inside jokes within your family?


Interviewee: My mom always calls me Pedros Diaz  um because… and that’s I mean when people are like “I don’t really get that”. But what happened was I was a kid…when I was like 10. We were in Costa Rica for like my dad’s vacation and we were learning Spanish and I was just not very good at it and the guy just kept quizzing me. He was like “Yeah, so you know like what is your name? How old are you?” And I just got confused at the time and he was like “How old are you? PEDRO! And he’s like “what’s your name?” DIAZ!! So, I my Spanish mixed up and then, so he was like “AH Pedro Diaz!!!” And then I guess my parents have just called me that ever since. And then other proverbs I would say umm my parents always said just like treat others like you want to be treated… Uhh so I know that’s a pretty common one. But one they definitely had me remember and whenever I strayed from that they would sit me down and say something like “Is that how you want someone to treat you in that sense” or something like that. I think those are great first steps words like developing like any sort of empathy. I just realized that while my parents are really good. Like if I did something like I said I’m their friend they would really speak out to be like how does that make you feel that you’re in their shoes. And so, I think very encouraging that through something like that phrase made me think about other people’s perspectives. So, I think it definitely I feel like I still do think about it on my way. But I feel like as a kid I probably thought about it more than many a lot of other kids. So, I would say them saying that definitely made me feel more empathetic as a kid.



This collection resembles an inside joke on a family level. The informant’s simple mistake in learning a new language turned into an inside joke when the Spanish tutor just went along with calling him “Pedro Diaz”. Instead of laughing at the moment and letting it fade into the past, his parents held on to the memory. It was a shared moment and serves as a joke within the family. Individuals outside of the family may not understand the meaning behind it, but to the informant and his family, the simple nickname holds a fond memory that brings laughter. When telling the story, he visibly and audibly got excited and cheerful when describing the context of the story. This will likely be a joke that will continue to be passed down within the family to his kids.



“What a Cannoli!”

Title: “What a Cannoli!”

Age: 20

Ethnicity: Mexican-American

Situation (Location, ambience, gathering of people?): AJ is sitting on a sofa in front of the Trojan Knights house, it is a calm warm Sunday in South Central Los Angeles. It is a group of 10 male students from the University of Southern California sitting on the front porch, sharing stories. All of these men are members of Trojan Knights, and are relaxing after having started cooking homemade friend chicken. All of these men are close to one another, including the interviewer.

Piece of Folklore:

Interviewee – “You’re a cannoli! What a cannoli!”

(Everyone present laughs)

Interviewer – “I am a what?”

(More laughter)

Interviewee – “A cannoli. Such a cannoli thing to ask if you’re a cannoli!”

(Uncontrollable laughter from the other men)

Analyzation:  This phrase/phrases are more of an internal joke. No one knows why the phrase caught on, but now there are a good 40 students at USC that will call each other and other people cannoli. The meaning behind this is simple. One could interchange the word cannoli with ‘dingus’, or ‘dimwit’, maybe even ‘silly-head’. It is a playful way of making fun of people that you are close with. The development of this saying, or better this word is that it is a way of signifying and showing that one if part of that group of people. Within the University of Southern California, and within a group called the Trojan Knights, and even within that, is a group of friends that call each other cannoli. It is how they show that they are part of the group, the group of friends that they all love and care for. Anyone that questioningly looks at them after they say that is understood to be an outsider, someone who is not from the group. This type of wording is seen throughout the worlds when certain groups develop their own language and rituals associated with the group. In this case, if you are part of the group, then you are, by definition, a cannoli.

Tags: Cannoli, inside-joke, funny