Truly Tasteful Jokes

Every week our public-radio show, the Dinner Party Download (www.dinnerpartydownload.org), opens with a celebrity telling a joke.

Courtesy of the Dinner Party Download


Every week our public-radio show, the Dinner Party Download (www.dinnerpartydownload.org), opens with a celebrity telling a joke. It usually blows. Comedians are the worst at telling jokes. They call what you and I think of as jokes (What do you call a…? A guy walks into a…) “street jokes,” and tend to look down on them. We can’t blame them, the joke is dead. Unless you’re a kid. Kids love joke-jokes. And old people. Old people like jokes. That's because back in the day everyone had a joke ready. At dinner parties or family gatherings, jokes were like a verbal shot of booze that would steel you for a long night of conversation. They primed the pump. They broke the ice. This was before people brought out their laptops to vamp the latest viral YouTube video. Jokes even used to help us process serious events. Like the space shuttle crashing. Or the time Richard Gere got a gerbil stuck up his ass. But nowadays the joke, unlike the gerbil, is an endangered species. That’s why we built it a refuge at the beginning of our show. We now have dozens of jokes, and we’re eager to release them back into the wild. Since our show is on public radio, all our jokes are clean. That means you can tell them to kids, old people, and your peers when you’re unable to call up the “Bed Intruder” song on the internet.

This guy goes into a store and grabs a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread and walks up to the counter. The woman behind the counter says, “You must be single.” And he says, “How do you know?” And she says, “Because you’re ugly.”
Rich Fulcher of the The Mighty Boosh

Q: Why didn’t the lifeguard save the hippie? A: He was too far out, man.
Christopher Owens from the band Girls

“Knock-knock.” “Who’s there?” “Frank Sinatra.” “Frank Sinatra who?” “Come on!”
Black Francis, of The Pixies

Q: What do you call a conformist cloud? A: Stratus quo.
Cass McCombs

A guy walks into a bar and he sees, sitting at the bar alone, a guy with a big fat orange head. It’s really big. It’s the size of two beach balls. It’s cartoonish and insane. So the guy walks up to the guy with the big fat orange head and says, “I have to ask. What happened?” “Well,” the guy says, “I was shipwrecked on a desert island and there was a genie and a lamp. And I know what happens with genies and lamps; they try to trick you if you’re greedy. You have to be careful. So for my first wish, I asked simply for love. Just a woman I can love and share my life with. And I received that.” “Well, what was your second wish?” the guy asks. “Well, I wished for money, but not a ton of money, just enough so my family and I could be secure and I can do my charity work, and I got my wish and it’s worked out beautifully.” The guy says, “OK, what happened with the third wish?” And the guy with the head sighs and says, “Well, that’s where I think I might have gone wrong. I wished for a big fat orange head.”
Phil Hay, writer of Clash of the Titans (2010)

Q: How do you turn a duck into a popular soul singer? A: Put it in the microwave until its bill withers.
Ed Harcourt

There is this guy driving down the road. He’s got 17 penguins in his car. This cop sees him, stops him, and says, “I don’t know what’s going on here. But you’ve got to take these penguins to the zoo.” The guy’s like, “OK.” The next day the guy is driving and he has the same 17 penguins in the car. The same cop pulls him over and says, “Look, man, I stopped you yesterday and I told you to take these penguins to the zoo.” The guy says, “I took them to the zoo. Today we’re going to the beach.”
Ezra Feinberg from the band Citay

Q: Why did Jesus cross the road? A: He was nailed to the chicken.
Anthony Bourdain

A penguin walks into a bar and he says to the bartender, “Have you seen my brother here?” And the bartender says, “What does he look like?”
Tom Jones

Q: How many Freudians does it take to screw in a lightbulb? A: Two. One to change the lightbulb and one to hold the penis, I mean, ladder!
Billy Bragg

Two men are flying in an airplane. Unfortunately, one fell out. Fortunately, there was a haystack. Unfortunately, there was a pitchfork in the haystack. Fortunately, he missed the pitchfork. Unfortunately, he missed the haystack.
Stewart Brand, founder of The Whole Earth Catalog

Descartes walks into a bar and the bartender says, “Hey, Descartes! Can I get you a drink?” And Descartes says, “I think not,” and disappears.
Abigail Chapin of the Chapin Sisters

A dog walks into the post office and says, “I want to send a telegram,” and the guy says, “OK, what do you want to say?” And the dog says, “I want to say, ‘Woof woof. Woof, woof, woof. Woof woof. Woof woof.’” And the man says, “OK, that’s fine, but for the same price you can put another ‘woof’ in there.” And the dog says, “Yeah, but that wouldn’t make any sense.”
Sarah Lyall, London correspondent for the New York Times

I am not the kind to tell a joke to start party conversation. Not at all! That’s the last thing I would do.
Leslie Caron, grande dame of cinema, star of Gigi and An American in Paris

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