Monday, August 12, 2013

No Intro Today.....really

I read this week's blog and it, in a word, sucked. 

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

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

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.


  1. You finally pulled one!

  2. Loved it ... saw an Second City troupe recently and they talked a bit about how to be funny, as well.

    I think they may be looking for new members!

  3. Guess Huey & Dewey supplied Puddles with the "Tip of the Week" (rimshot)