Q: “What game will Helen Keller always win?”
A: “Marco Polo.”
The joke that my informant tells me pokes fun at Helen Keller—obviously known for being both blinds and deaf. My informant is the kind of person prone to enjoy a good laugh at an inappropriate joke, so it is not at all surprising that after telling me this joke, he got a good laugh. The joke focuses on what American society finds socially unacceptable to laugh at: handicaps. This joke that is presented is only one of the great many Helen Keller jokes that exist, so American culture clearly finds something humorous about making fun of the most prominent woman in history known for her handicaps.
I actually found a similar joke brought up in an episode of Family Guy titled Peter’s Got Woods. The episode contained a scene in which Stewie Griffin, in an effort to poke fun at Brian, states: “That’ll be more pathetic than that game of Marco Polo I played with Helen Keller.” And then the scene cuts to Stewie aimlessly kicking around a pool with his eyes closed calling “Marco…. Marco…. Marco…” over and over and over again while Helen Keller—unblinking and unmoving—stands as if lifeless at one end of the pool. Stewie, after about twenty seconds of kicking around, does not find her, so it is safe to presume that Helen has won the game.
The popularity of a show like Family Guy is known for its crude humor that often goes “too far” into the realm of inappropriateness that the American public finds exceedingly funny. So it follows that jokes such as the much popularized Helen Keller jokes have been found in Seth MacFarlane’s best work.
Annotation: Smith, Danny. “Peter’s Got Woods.” Family Guy. Dir. Peter Shin, Chuck Klein, and Zac Moncrief. FOX. CA, 11 Sept. 2005.