Tag Archives: pun

Jokes on Mansplaining


AL – Why did the mansplainer drown in the puddle? (Pause) It was a well, actually.


I like to collect jokes, specifically puns, on various topics so that no matter what situation I am currently in, I can say, “Oh, I know a joke about that!” I have found that most people have a love/hate relationship with puns; they tend to love telling them and hate hearing them. I mostly tell puns to family and friends, and their anger and frustration fuels me. Though my friends groan and sigh every time they hear a pun, they will still send me any good ones that they find. I also find puns on various social media platforms, in books, and on the occasional popsicle stick. Any time that I find or am sent a pun that I like, I write it in a book that I keep specifically for this purpose. My very favorite kinds of puns are the ones that are long and drawn out, ones that are a paragraph, maybe two, and you get to the end and the last line is a clever pun that uses many elements of the story that came before it. My second favorite kinds of puns are the short rude/dirty ones, because in addition to the reaction you get for any other pun, you also get the shock reaction from the vulgarity. I save the more risqué puns for close friends, as I don’t want to offend the delicate sensibilities of people that I don’t know very well.


This joke makes fun of the habit of mansplaining, which becomes especially funny among the company of women. Pointing out a mansplainer saying, “Well, actually” gets just as many complaints as when women make fun of when men say, “Well, not all men.” It takes a frustrating interruption that most women have experienced and turns it into a joke at the expense of the person causing the frustration, inherently pointing out the folk group of women, and the out-group of mansplainers. Drowning in a puddle is a dumb way to die. “Well, actually” is a stereotypical sentence-starter of mansplainers. And drowning in a well is what many women wish mansplainers would do.
Including “Where do men get their water? From a well, actually,” there are other jokes about mansplaining here: https://www.buzzfeed.com/hilarywardle/actually-i-think-youll-find

Batman Leaves Church Early

Context: The respondent first saw this joke posted on someone’s social profile.

H.K. : What do you call Batman who leaves church early?
P.Z. : What do you call Batman… um, bats in the belfry. I literally don’t know.
H.K. : Mm ‘kay. Christian Bale.

Thoughts: As cringe-worthy as this joke may be, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I had been stumped by this riddle, as it had modern pop culture references that I’m unused to hearing in riddles. Like many other jokes or riddles though, it used the traditional play on words format.

Proverb Puns

Main Piece

“My grandpa would tell us the following: ‘You can lead a horse to water, but a pencil must be lead.’ (laughs) The companion one was ‘A bird in the hand makes blowing your nose very difficult.’” 

What did they mean to you?

“The first thing they meant was that they were funny. Clearly it was about poking fun at old and real proverbs. But also to emphasize that you should be happy with what you’ve got. But mostly it was about being funny (laughs).”


The informant is my father. He was raised Jewish and grew up on the East Coast of the United States. This information was collected during a family zoom call where we were checking in with each other.


These punny proverbs subvert the “original” ones and give them new meaning. If you don’t know the original proverbs (“you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink” and “a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush”), these jokes wouldn’t be funny to you. If you are familiar with these proverbs, the unexpected punchline will elicit a giggle. This remix of original proverbs is a microcosm of how people manipulate and change “canonical” content, make it their own, and share it with others. 

“Two in the air, four on the ground…” – Farsi Riddle

Description of Informant

MV (79) is a retired engineer, chess master, and violinist from Tehran, Iran. At 19, he came to America to study at Ohio Northern and remained in the states for his adult life (Missouri and California). While in Iran, he lived a very traditional life under religious parents; this continues to influence his values and attitudes.



Original Text: ! دو در هوا، چهار در زمين، اِه خربزه

Phonetic: Dōh dar havah, chahar dar zameen, eh kharbōzeh!

Transliteration: Two in the air, four on the ground, hey melon!

Free Translation: [See Collector’s Reflection for Explanation]

Collector’s Reflection

At first, the riddle seems to make no sense, until you understand the pun hidden within. The Farsi word for melon (خربزه, kharbōzeh) also contains the words for donkey/ass (خر, khar-) and goat (بز, -bōz). Thus, the riddle really says: “Two in the air, four on the ground, hey ass/idiot— it’s a goat!” The “two in the air” refers to the goat’s horns and the “four on the ground” to its feet.

The phrase functions as an insult riddle, wherein the individual playing the joke intends to trick or demean the intelligence of their victim. The individual receiving the riddle is confused by melon at first. Then, the riddler will repeat the last line “eh kharbōzeh!”, but with added emphasis and spacing to make the double entendre clear (e.g. “eh khar! …bōzeh!”) The victim(s) quickly realize that they have been insulted. If you’re in good company, you’ll get a few laughs. But be wary— calling someone “khar” in Iran is a major insult.

Context of Use

The riddle is used among peers, often in a group setting, where one individual is unaware of the double entendre and made out as a fool; comedy at one’s expense. You would generally use the phrase among close friends with positive rapport, where no offense will be taken.


Context of Interview

The informant, MV, sits on a love seat, feet planted on a brightly colored Persian rug. He is opposite the collector, BK, his grandson. Text spoken in Farsi is translated and italicized. Instances of the riddle have been replaced by [the riddle].


MV: For instance, wasn’t a joke, but for instance riddles, like [the riddle]. Something like this, for instance, they were goat, trying to identify the goat that had to horns. So they say “two up” and “four down.” And then, do you know what kharbōzeh is? Something melon. It’s some type of melon. And it also means “hey khar”— or donkey, it is a goat! *laughing* Something like this: [the riddle]. If someone hears you, they think you are just saying melon! Until you separate it.

BK: Can you describe a context where you would’ve told this joke?

MV: Children among [themselves]. One child, who wanted to mess with another child, would say [the riddle]. The guy would think you are just saying melon so they get confused, but say “eh khar— bōzeh! This is a goat that I’m talking about, with two horns.

Why Do Eskimos Wash Their Clothes in Tide?

Main piece:

(The following is transcribed from a conversation between the informant and interviewer.)

Interviewer: Can you tell me a joke?

Informant: Sure. Here’s one my mother always told me. Do you know why the Eskimos warsh their clothes in Tide?

Interviewer: Why?

Informant: It’s too cold out-tide. (laughs)

Interviewer: (chuckles) Wow. That’s uhh… that’s a good one. Do you think she got that from somewhere or do you think she came up with it?

Informant: N- She always told that joke – no she probably heard it someplace and just repeated it cause she thought it was funny.

Background: My informant was born and raised in southern Illinois to very strict Catholic parents. She has strong Irish and Italian heritage. Her mother disliked profanity in all senses, so though this joke does carry the now offensive demonym ‘Eskimo,’ it is not very risque in any sense, or directed at Inuit people for that matter.

Context: The informant is my grandmother, and has always had a proclivity for telling stories, jokes, and wives tales. This piece was selected out of many from a recording of a long night of telling stories in a comfortable environment.

Thoughts: I think the most interesting things to examine about this joke are that A) even though it’s from over half a century ago it still makes apt use of a corporate name for the central pun and B) to a devout and strict Catholic woman back in the day, words that we now understand are offensive were regarded as fit for joking. Though this woman – my great grandmother – may have never sworn I don’t doubt she had no problem with other racist or offensive names for people or groups. This is a common and interesting problem with religion as a measure of “goodness.”