Sunday, March 25, 2007

Apparently, it's not just me

Some jokes can't be translated. Even though Alex speaks English and I provided all the necessary preliminary information, he just sat there looking at me when I told him this one:

Two men walked into a bar. The third one ducked.

Then there's the chicken and egg joke from a couple weeks ago:

A chicken and an egg are lying in bed. The chicken is smoking a cigarette, looking very satisfied. The egg, in a pissed off tone, says, "Well, I guess we answered that question."

This one is partially dependent on language. It turns out that "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" is a phrase that, technically, does exist in Spanish. It even carries the necessary double entendre. But the phrase itself is not an ongoing part of the popular consciousness the way it is in English. So, again, the joke fails.

But the muffin joke is not language dependent.

So there are these two muffins baking in an oven. One of them yells, “Wow, it’s hot in here!”

And the other muffin replies: “Holy cow! A talking muffin!”

No double entendre, no puns. It's all about the absurdity.

Alex's response: "So then where was the second muffin, if it wasn't in the oven with the first?" Uh, yeah. Sorry folks, it's just not funny.

Lest you think that Alex simply doesn't laugh at jokes, or that jokes are culture-dependent, he not only thought the snail joke was funny; he'd actually heard (a variation of) it before, in Spanish:

This guy is relaxing in his living room, watching TV when he hears a loud insistent knock on the door. He gets up and opens the door, but nobody is there. He looks up and down the street...nothing. Finally, as he's getting ready to shut the door, he happens to glance down, and sees a snail sitting by the door frame. Frustrated at having had to leave his comfy Barcalounger for nothing, he picks up the snail and hurls it across the street.

One year later, the same guy is sitting in the same lounger, watching TV, when again he hears a loud insistent knock on the door. He gets up, opens the door and discovers the same snail on the door frame. The snail glares at him and says, "What the hell was that all about?"


Jennifer March 25, 2007 9:44 AM  

I don't think the snail joke is funny at all. So there!

lisa March 25, 2007 10:03 PM  

I do, but I also liked the muffin joke.

Jennifer March 26, 2007 6:12 AM  

I liked that one too. I liked all of them. Except the snail.

Erin March 26, 2007 10:53 AM  

Snail joke: funny.

Muffin joke: still not funny.

And the chicken/egg joke is great. I'll have to remember that one when my dad is in town. He's always telling me slightly (or very) dirty jokes and I never have any to share.

Sandy March 26, 2007 11:58 AM  

LOVE the snail joke! Dan (my husband) doesn't speak spanish and did not get the chicken/egg joke. When I explained it, he didn't laugh. Muffin joke so not funny!

Julie March 26, 2007 3:14 PM  

I need to post about the first Bulgarian joke that I actually got - after I had lived there almost 2 years.

And I meant to comment earlier. I liked the muffin joke. I liked the chicken/egg joke - I once saw it as a New Yorker cartoon.

The snail joke is funny, but a bit predictable.

3 men/bar-v. funny.

One could do a lot of research about who finds what funny . . . and probably have difficulty reaching conclusions. Although I did read somewhere that women have a much more sophisticated sense of humor than men.

(As if that's headline news.)

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