Lisa Davis: What’s the opposite of a joke?
Sep 16, 2012 | 1756 views |  0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I went out to dinner recently with a group that included three teenage girls, and we started telling jokes.

One of the grownups told an Auburn joke that I really shouldn’t repeat.

Another of the grownups told the old joke about how to catch a unique rabbit.

Another of the grownups threw out a riddle that involved math that none of us could solve, even after working on it for 15 minutes and drawing out various equations on the table napkins.

The girls, however, told anti-jokes.

I’d never heard of such a thing. At first I thought they meant “Auntie jokes,” along the lines of “Yo Mama jokes” (“Yo mama’s so ugly people go as her for Halloween!”) and “Dad jokes” (those really bad, corny jokes that only a dad finds funny, like “You know what a wok is, don’t you? It’s what you throw at a wabbit when you don’t have a wifle.”)

But no, they meant anti-jokes, as in not-jokes or un-jokes.

The girls were very patient and kind as they explained this newfangled thing to me. I hope they can come and take care of me in my old age. Or at least come over next weekend and set up my wireless printer.

When I finally grasped the concept, I fell in love with the idea of anti-jokes.

I’m absolutely horrible at telling jokes. I get the timing all wrong. I can’t ever remember the punchline. Heck, I can’t even remember the setup.

The few jokes I am able to remember are so old that everybody knows them already.

“What’s black and white and red all over?”

“The newspaper?”

“No! An embarrassed zebra!”

(Phooey, I can’t even tell that one right. Look, I typed “red” right there at the beginning and gave it all away. Sigh.)

But anti-jokes … these I might be able to master.

• • •

“What’s small, pink and fluffy?”

“A small piece of pink fluff.”

(Rimshot, please!)

• • •

“What’s blue and smells like red paint?”

“Blue paint.”

(Ha! Gotcha again!)

• • •

“What’s brown and sticky?”

“A stick.”

(I could do this all day.)

• • •

“How many electricians does it take to change a light bulb?”


(There are whole websites full of anti-jokes.)

• • •

“What do you call cheese that’s not yours?”


• • •

“Why is six afraid of seven?”

“It isn’t. Numbers are not sentient and are therefore incapable of feeling fear.”

• • •

“What did Batman say to get Robin in the Batmobile?”

“Get in the Batmobile!”

• • •

"What do you get when you cross a duck with a cat?”

“You can’t. The current state of genetic engineering will not allow avian DNA and mammalian DNA to be combined.”

• • •

“What do a large mouth bass and my husband have in common?”

“They are both in the Animal kingdom, both are vertebrates and they share many other traits such as eyes, a notochord and epaxial/hypaxial musculature.”

• • •

“What did the writer do when she couldn’t think of anything funny to write?”

“She went on the Internet and looked up jokes.”

• • •

I wrote that last one all by myself.
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