After 161 uninterrupted weeks, through wind, rain, snow, heat, thunder, dark of night, trips to Florida, and one broken arm complete with surgery, I need a week off.
For all you fans of ZJOD, here it is: how to tell a joke....just in case you forgot.
|Ziggy's Joke o'the Day|
1998 - 2006
Today's column is the 100'th edition of Ziggy's Joke o' the day. In honor of this dubious feat, and because Derek, one of my vast horde of ZJOD Irregulars, has challenged me to it, I'm gonna skip my special brand of observational topspin on the usual diatribe and obscure news piece. Instead, I'm doing a piece on how to tell a joke so folks will laugh at the joke... and not at you for trying to tell it. How to Tell a Joke Before Starting Always make sure your fly is zipped before trying to tell a joke. If it isn't, people will be laughing at you, not at your joke. Try to make sure your socks match and that you've got your shoes on the correct feet. This will reassure people who don't know you very well that you haven't just been released from the local booby-hatch, are not a fugitive from the fashion police, and are not a computer programmer. While optional, inflatable shoes aren't usually necessary and, if you really, really upset the people you're telling the joke to, also interfere with a quick getaway. If you choose the inflatables, please remember to wear a red sponge-rubber (NOT plastic) nose... a joke fashion-accessory must (it also helps cushion a hard blow to the bezel better than anything yet invented for boxing). Being personally offensive or threatening isn't funny. If you have a cold, projectile vomiting, bad breath, a broken shower at home, are holding a large-caliber handgun (.22's and .25's are okay), are on a multi-day drinking binge, or ate a bean burrito for lunch, try and tell the joke from a minimum distance of 18 feet from the jokee. If none of these conditions apply, it's probably safe to tell the joke at normal interpersonal distances. Either way, try to remember good grooming is important and that good grooming really _does_ include nose hair, too. Selecting the Joke Keep in mind short jokes are usually better than long jokes... especially if the joke sucks, and until you've told a joke a few times, you just never know. Yeah, you might've thought it was funny when your buddy Al at work told it to ya, but HEY, you're not Al, okay? Also, short jokes are better than tall jokes because tall people are generally bigger and stronger and can hurt you if you offend them. Know something about your audience before trying to tell them a joke. For example, don't tell sexually related jokes at church, to your kids, at the dinner table, at work, or to the social worker who visits to make sure you're living up to the conditions of your parole so you can get your kids back. Don't tell a cop a joke containing the words "cop" and "doughnut" unless you're a cop, too. If you're not a cop, don't tell drunk jokes during a sobriety stop. And so on, and so on... You get the idea. Before telling a joke to someone, put yourself in his/her shoes (you should _always_ first ask if you can borrow their shoes), and reject jokes that, while funny to _you_, will only piss _them_ off. Avoid telling jokes to people without shoes. Their feet probably hurt, and absolutely nothing's funny when your feet hurt. Important safety tips: never attempt to tell woman-driver jokes or jokes about PMS to a female of any age. Also, never try out a new change-of-life joke on a women in short sleeves standing in a walk-in cooler. It may be a really funny joke, but you're taking a life-threatening risk telling it in these situations. Along these same lines, never attempt to tell a physician a joke while he's holding or probing an important piece of your anatomy. Policemen generally like jokes and usually are good natured people, especially if you're nice to them, but NEVER tell cops a joke when they're pointing guns in your direction... if they laugh really hard at the punch-line, they might shoot you by mistake. If you're not a member of any of the following groups, never attempt to tell a joke to: accountants, actuaries, funeral and/or choir directors, Cobol programmers, members of the KKK dressed in sheets, IRS auditors, the Queen of England, the Pope, any child below the age of 5, the judge at any trial in which you are a defendant, or a prison-guard whose job is to pull the switch on "Old Sparky". What these folks think of as funny and what you think of as funny will never, ever intersect. Know yourself as well. For example, don't ever tell dick-jokes if your name is Johnson. The next important thing to remember about joke selection is: pick a funny joke. The Setup Avoid trite or inappropriate setups like "Hey, Shithead! Did I ever tell you the one about...", "I just heard this _really_ stupid joke..." or even "We're here today to honor and remember the life of a man we all...". Setups like these usually signal you're a beginner. Most sophisticated joke consumers know a lame setup is usually followed by a lamer joke. If you're unsure the jokee hasn't already heard the joke, don't ask "Did I ever tell you the `You're a mean drunk, Superman!' joke?" when `You're a mean drunk, Superman!' is the punch-line of the joke. Believe it or not, scientists at the University of Oslo have found this single mistake tends to reduce positive reaction to a joke by at least 47.32%. After 50+ years of listening to my mother-in-law say stuff like "Sidney, tell the Superman-goes-into-a-bar joke", my father-in-law confirms this is true as well. The Delivery The single most important thing about telling a joke is to tell the joke in a language your audience speaks. Obviously, telling a group of Japanese tourists visiting Paris a joke in Swahili won't generate those resounding belly laughs most jokesters crave. Why not? Because there just aren't that many jokes which translate into Swahili while keeping the biting humor intact. Also, bilingual Swahili speakers should note jokes originating in Swahili generally don't translate out, either. This seems to be a feature of Swahili that's baffled linguists for years, especially since this is not the case for Bantu, a related language. Also important, but not as obvious, telling a computer-nerd joke to non-computer-nerds will usually draw blank looks. If you don't speak Yiddish, avoid using it in jokes... you'll only mispronounce it and make yourself look like a smuck, or worse yet, a putts. Another important about joke telling use full sentences. Don't use contractions or TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms). Don't touch a cliche or a pun with a ten foot pole (who you can't afford anyway because the NBA is paying him _way_ too much and it's gone to his head). And, for general audiences, none of that damn profanity, thank you very much. Avoid doing jokes requiring accents if you can't do the required accent. Don't even think about starting a joke about an Irish guy with "Imagine this guy's Irish and he talks with an Irish brogue..." That'll suck even worse than telling it with a Swedish accent (because, it so happens, Swedish is the only accent you can do). However, owing to inflection and the way consonants get pronounced, a joke in Swahili done with a Swedish accent is usually pretty hilarious. But then, so is a funeral mass. No one alive knows why. Swedes are encouraged to hire a translator when visiting Tanzania, where Swahili is the national language. Swedes _can_ learn the language, but most Tanzanians generally laugh so hard when Swedes speak it, bilingual Swedes probably won't even be able to get through customs, let alone to the hotel. FYI: The highest rated show on Tanzanian TV is the evening news on nights when the regular guy is on vacation and Sven sits in. That factoid alone ought to tell you something. The Punch-line Before telling a joke, clearly remember the punch-line so, when you get the the end of the joke, you don't screw it up. To a joke consumer, nothing's worse than sitting through a version of "You're a mean drunk, Superman!", only to hear, "Hey, Mr. Kent. You've got some issues to work out." If you don't remember a joke's punch-line clearly, a cardinal rule is the funny part always belongs at the end. Thus, "You're a mean drunk, Superman!" is _always_ funnier than "Hey, Superman. Did you know you're a mean drunk?". Telling a joke is like a one night stand: the setup is your pickup line, the delivery is foreplay up to the point where you're both breathing hard, and the punch-line is the part where your eyes roll back and you start telling God you'll be there in a moment. Also remember, premature punch-line is never a good idea. So, always try and pace yourself until you've got your audience fully lubricated and actively urging you on before letting the punch-line spurt out. That's it kids; everything you need to know about telling a joke.
**********************Speaking of jokes, it's probably well past time for Ziggy's Joke o' the day. Feel free to try out your new joke telling skills with this one, remembering to follow Ziggy's how-to-tell-a-joke rules when repeating it to your friends. You'll be amazed at the difference my simple tips will make. Today's Joke o' the day concerns a guy, a bar, 3 ducks and... Ah, you get the idea. This guy walks into a quiet bar. He is carrying three ducks, one in each hand and one under his left arm. He puts them on the bar. He has a few drinks and chats with the bartender. This particular bartender is experienced, having worked in shaggy-duck jokes before, he's learned not to ask people about the animals that they bring into the place. So, he doesn't mention the ducks. The two men chat for about 30 minutes before the guy with the ducks has to go to the restroom. The ducks are left on the bar. The bartender is alone with the ducks. There is an awkward silence. The bartender decides to try to make some conversation. "So, what's your name?", he asks the first duck. "Huey" "How's your day been, Huey?" "Great. Lovely day. Had a ball. Been in and out of puddles all day." "Oh, that's nice." Turning to the second duck: "Hi, what's your name?" "Dewey" "So how's your day been, Dewey?" "Great. Lovely day. Had a ball. Been in and out of puddles all day. If I had the same chance again, I'd do it all over." So the bartender turns to the third duck and says, "So, you must be Louie, right?" "Look buddy, I'm having a bad day," growls the third duck, "so don't ask me about it, okay? And my name ain't Louie either... it's Puddles." Okay, it's final exam time... Now let me hear _you_ tell that joke.