Because kids are so gross and inappropriate, I wondered if their jokes would be, too. I asked some kids, ages 7 to 14, to tell me something funny. Turns out they were pretty disgusting, but not as disgusting as an ex-stepfather named Bob. So then I asked their various old relatives, including my ex-husband, whose jokes I knew all too well. It also turns out that neither kids nor adults are that funny. Comedy should be left to the professionals. It’s like people thinking they can perform surgery because they saw it on TV, and you go to a party and everyone tries to cut you up.
Nevertheless, I’m going to tell you my favorite. Pirate walks into a bar. Bartender says, “Do you know you have a wheel hanging off your fly?” Pirate says, “Arrh, it’s drivin’ me nuts.” Now here are the rest of them.
Sadie (9): The worst joke in the world is when people yell out, "Where’s the beef?"
Sadie’s Dad, will you tell the one you made up about Darth Vader in the middle of the lake?
Sadie's Dad (44): Oh no, that’s too… blue.
Is it? All I remembered was that it took forever to tell and you’d always tell it at parties and it never made sense, no matter how many times I heard it.
Sadie's Dad: No, it’s filthy.
I didn’t even know. I guess I’d just stop listening at some point. Kids don’t read VICE. Can’t you tell it one more time?
Sadie's Dad: It’s really dirty. I can’t tell it as Sadie’s Dad. I’ll tell you another one. Sherlock Holmes and Watson were camping….
Now I’ll never know…. What was Darth Vader doing out there?
Neighbor Girl (8): My favorite joke is what did the old man say to the goose? Go to the lake and lay an egg.
Sadie: Do you mean your worst joke?
Neighbor Girl: [forlorn] It’s the only joke I know.
Neighbor Mom (41): Knock knock.
Neighbor Mom: Frank.
Neighbor Mom: Frank you for being my friend.
Eva (10): What did the 0 say to the 8? Nice belt.
Eva's Mom (36): I don’t know any jokes. How pathetic am I? The only joke I remember, I remember vividly. My friend’s stepdad Bob told me this when I was 18. He was a terrible racist, a Southern businessman. He said, “How many negroes does it take to shingle a roof? It depends how thin you slice them.” I was stoned at the time and I still remember it, it was that terrible. It traumatized me.
Mike (10): A pirate, as history relates, was scuffling with some of his mates. He slipped on a cutlass, which rendered him nutless, and practically useless on dates.
Mike's Dad (45): What’s the difference between fish and meat? If you beat your fish, it dies.
Eli (7): Yankee Doodle went to town, riding on a rocket. Stuck his finger in his butt and called it Hershey's chocolate. Yankee Doodle went to town, riding on a baby. Accidentally turned around and saw a naked lady. Yankee Doodle went to town, riding on a heater. Accidentally turned around and barbecued his wiener.
Why is Yankee Doodle constantly accidentally turning around?
Eli: [tearfully] I don't know! They're not mine that I made up! Don't ask me—ask Emiel.
Eli's Mom (46): Why did God create Domino's Pizza? To punish humanity for the Holocaust. That’s a Neil Hamburger joke.
Angel (12): I don’t have any jokes.
I think people used to have jokes—a few to take out to impress clients, or to meet girls.
Angel: Women’s basketball. That’s the worst joke in the world.
Angel's Stepmom (24): I’m lying down.
Will you tell me a joke later?
Angel's Stepmom: I’m tired.
Kalib (7): What’s big, red, and eats rock? A big, red rockeater.
Kalib's Aunt (42): What’s brown and sounds like a bell? Dung.
Isabella (9): A person is driving a black truck with no headlights and the streetlights aren’t on and the moon is not out and a lady is crossing the street. How did he see her? It was a bright, sunny day.
Isabella's Uncle (38): How do you give a duck a soul? Put it in the microwave until its bill withers.
Will (14): Uhn.
You don’t have any jokes? Not even one for when you go to a party?
Don’t you think your life would be better if you did?
Will: That’s my favorite joke: my life.
That is so sad. All the best jokes are.
Will's Stepmom (38): Oh, no! I can’t tell jokes. You won’t laugh. I don’t want to tell you a joke! Jokes aren’t funny. Jokes aren’t funny. When I was a teacher in Japan, I gave a lesson on joking in English, and nobody laughed. No one laughed at all. Whereas normally, they’d laugh here and there. Jokes seem to scare them.
The Japanese, or everyone?
Will's Stepmom: The Japanese. But right now, you’re scaring me.
I scared myself. This was a terrible idea.