A while ago I wrote about my own best jokes. Here are some jokes made by others that have really stuck with me:
The setting: A kitchen, Spring 2007, early morning Saturday
The characters: Me, my mom
Me: [Awake extremely early for an extracurricular function. Hurriedly eating Lucky Charms for breakfast.]
My mom: [Wanders downstairs in pajamas looking a bit disheveled. Stands at the other end of the kitchen watching me eat.]
Me: [Continues eating—trying to be quiet now assuming that I have annoyed her by waking her up.]
My mom: [Watches in silence for a minute.]
My mom (cont.): Are they magically delicious?
My mom: [Goes back to bed.]
One time in high school my friend Ben was making fun of a mutual friend’s girlfriend that we didn’t like. The joke was that she was a demon, and he was using a very funny demon voice. I literally peed myself laughing.
The setting: Qdoba, Summer 2009, lunch break
The characters: The Calvin College Cleaning Crew, including myself and Kevin
Everybody: [Discussing the merits of black beans versus pinto beans.]
Kevin: I think we should judge beans by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.
In college, my friend Lauren was describing the physical features that she found attractive about men. She said, “I don’t know, beards are really growing on me.” Obviously she meant that she was coming to like beards more and more, but one could interpret it to mean that she was growing beards. This double meaning became the source of comedy.
She is now married to a man who has a beard, but I don’t think she had even met him at that point. So, truth in comedy, I guess.
Every time someone mentions semaphore in front of my friend Andrew, he puts on a very serious face and makes fake semaphore gestures in complete mock-seriousness. It’s extremely funny.
How often do people mention semaphore in front of my friend Andrew? We’ve been close friends for ten years, and I’ve seen it about three times, so I’ll say “surprisingly often.”
While living with friends James and Bart and living near another friend James, those men would go into a really elaborate ritual prior to lifting anything: like stretching and sizing it up. Then while lifting it they would pretend it was way heavier than it actually was, for instance by putting on a show of straining and breathing heavily like a weightlifter. I should emphasize this occurred while lifting anything and the joke lasted for months. I found it very amusing. Many other observers did not.
The setting: The apartment I shared with James and Bart and also I think at this point Ian was living with us too, 2014ish
The characters: Me, James (but not the James that lived with me—the other James who lived near me)
James: [Tells the story of his roommate breaking up with a man named “César.” She was having a difficult time of it.] And she was trying to decide what to do with his stuff that he left at our place. I wanted to say “Well… render unto César what is César’s.”
Tony graduated in 2012 with majors in mathematics and economics. He now lives in Chicago and is pursuing graduate study in economics. He also has a very good cultural trivia podcast called “Here’s My Number, So Call Me Ishmael” available on Libsyn, iTunes, and Google Play.