Tag Archives: panda

A Panda Walks Into a Restaurant…

Main Piece:

CD: So a panda walks into a fancy restaurant. He was decked out. He’s got a nice suit, maybe a fedora. He’s got a violin case in one hand. He sits down at a table, and the waiter comes up to him and says “Sir, what would you like for dinner tonight?” The panda says “I’ll have everything on the menu.” To which the waiter says “Are you sure, sir? I mean, that would cost you an arm and a leg, and no one could possibly eat that much food…” The panda says “I want everything on the menu.” The waiter says “Ok. As you wish.”

The waiter goes back into the kitchen and returns maybe two hours later with every other waiter behind him, carrying plate, after plate, after plate of food. And you can imagine the panda sitting at maybe like an eight person table. He’s got it all to himself. And these waiters come out, and they put every single dish that the restaurant serves on the table in a big circle, and the panda just starts chowing down. He just like goes to town on this food, you know, and he manages to eat ALL of it.

And the waiter comes back—maybe an hour or later after the panda has finished his food. And you know maybe he’s wiping his chin off with a little napkin. Very classy guy. And the waiter says “Wow. I stand corrected. I guess you could eat that much food. But are you ready for the check?” The panda is like “Yeah, sure.” The waiter goes back into the kitchen, comes out with a check. It is $1,422 dollars and 36 cents. The panda says “Yup, I don’t know how I’m gonna handle this.”

He reaches into his violin case, pulls out a machine gun, and he starts shooting up the restaurant! You can image like glasses breaking in half, you know, everybody starts crouching under the tables in fear because this panda is just shooting the entire restaurant up! He fires his entire round, and when he’s done, puts the AK-47 back in the violin case, walks out of the restaurant, without saying another word.

A few minutes later, of course the police show up… Because it was a very violent incident… The head detective says “Aha! Panda.” The waiter says “I didn’t tell you it was a panda! How could you have possibly known that?” To which the detective says “Well here, let me show you.” He goes back out to his car. He comes in with a dictionary, and on the dictionary, he opens it up to the letter P:

Panda. herbivorous bear found mostly in China. Eats chutes and leaves.


A lengthy joke my tired suitemate tells to me and my roommate. Performed late night in a bedroom within Cale & Irani Apartments at the USC Village. He is a Jazz Studies (Trumpet) major in the Thornton School of Music. He heard this joke from his dad, and his been memorizing it since the sixth grade.


This joke is especially interesting to me because of the way it was performed. Even though he was tired, the informant still makes an effort to color the story with humor. I specifically remember him changing his inflection and emphasizing hilarious details (as evidenced by the italics). With such specific details like the amount of the check, it made me wonder if the nature of the joke was ever-changing. The amount is not the same each time. But it doesn’t matter: the way he says the story is more important than what he says. It’s meant to pull you in and get you invested, so that the shootout comes as a complete surprise. All of the comedic elements combined with the long build up really spotlighted the ending punchline. I remember hearing it and being stunned in silence for a good ten seconds thinking “I just sat through this long ass story just for this” before my roommate and I bursted out laughing at the absurdity of it all.

Panda Joke

“So, a panda walks into a bar. He goes up to the bartender and orders some bamboo, and then the panda eats it. He then draws a gun and shoots up all of the place at the restaurant. When the bartender asks why, the panda tosses him an encyclopaedia and says “I’m a panda, look it up.”. The bartender opens the book and find the panda entry. The entry reads “panda: black and white bear, native to china. Eats shoots and leaves.”

This joke is a play on words, as the panda eats bamboo shoots and bamboo leaves, but in this joke it has the panda eating, then shooting a gun, and then walking out. It follows the format of someone or something walking into a bar, and was told to my informant by her nephew. It has spread widely and there are many variations of it, such as the one in an article on The Economist website on April 25th, 2013, in an article named “A man walked into a bar…”. The one in The Economist has the panda shooting at patrons, rather than dishes, possibly indicating that the joke told to my informant had been adapted for children, as her source was a child. It’s the kind of play on words that children seem to enjoy in Western cultures, in their process of understanding that grammar and words can mix to create different meanings.

Riddle – American

The informant learned the following riddle from his parents “years and years and years ago”:

“What’s black and white and red all over?” He gives several possible answers for the riddle, the first being the one his parents gave him (“A newspaper”). The others he mentioned were “a panda in a blender” and “a police car with a sunburn.” He claims to have “heard millions of variations on it, some of them more logical than others.”

The informant used to perform the riddle often as a child: “When I first learned it I told it to everybody I knew ’cause I thought it was hysterically funny at the time.” However, he almost never tells it any more.

The informant has great contempt for riddles in general: “I think it’s enormously stupid. I think most riddles are, especially the one that kids tell, are ultimately, uh, sort of the weakest form of humor possible.” He does make a distinction, however, between children’s riddles and adult riddles: “Riddles in my mind are either more pun-type riddles, in which case they’re usually, uh, they’re usually kid based in the sense of, uh, of they’re playing around with the idea that your brain thinks in one way and it’s actually being tricked; or they’re the more traditional riddles such as the one that the sphinx tells and stuff, that are much more about human condition, and those, I think, are riddles that adults, if they tell them at all, it will be adults telling each other because kids won’t understand them.”

The first answer to the riddle that the informant gives makes of it a “true riddle”—that is, there is an obvious answer to the question if the listener thinks about it in a different way, the pun being on the word “read” as a homophone for “red.” The police car answer seems like a deliberate attempt to be ridiculous, since it is obvious that a car cannot get a sunburn, but the panda answer is an obvious bid for shock value—since pandas are both “cute” and endangered, many listeners could be shocked and appalled at that answer. Clearly, from the informant’s assertion that he has heard many versions of the riddle, it has both multiplicity and variation. Archer Taylor recorded the riddle with the newspaper answer in his book English Riddles from Oral Tradition in 1951 (624).


Taylor, Archer. English Riddles from Oral Tradition. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1951.