BACKGROUND: My informant, BH, was born in the US. The following piece is a joke he learned from his father (who is of Irish descent). BH currently is a comedian and loves to hear jokes from other people in order to “steal them for his own stand-up.” This joke is one he stole from his dad.
CONTEXT: This piece is from a conversation with my friend where we exchanged jokes.
BH: Okay so, a man walks into a bar —
Me: (laughs) Oh God —
BH: A man walks into a bar and orders 3 drinks. When the bartender brings him his drinks he starts drinking them one sip at a time. When he’s done with the drinks he slams his glass on the table and orders three more. And — And the bartender is like “Dude, I can give you three drinks one after the other and they’ll stay cold. You don’t have to drink them all at once.” Then the man explains that he’s drinking 3 drinks because he has two brothers — one in America and one, I don’t remember, somewhere else — and every night they all drink three drinks in celebration of each other. The bartender shrugs and gets him his drinks. So a few weeks pass. The guy comes in again but this time order two drinks. The bartender notices and is like “Oh, did one of your brothers die?” and the guy takes a long sip out of both of his glasses and says “No but I quit drinking.”
THOUGHTS: At first I didn’t really get the joke, but BH eventually explained to me the stereotype of Irish people being avid drinkers. With that information, I finally understood the punchline — the man in the joke claims to have quit drinking only to continue showing up to the bar every night to drink by the pair. BH elaborated further on the stereotype, bringing to my attention that the joke could also be that a real Irishman would never give up drinking. Regardless, it is interesting how people have paired humor with alcohol. “A man walks into a bar” jokes are some of the most iconic jokes right behind knock-knock jokes.