Do you want to know something funny? I’ve always been able to remember jokes. I don’t know why but they have a tendency to stay with me. Unfortunately, jokes sometimes have an expiration date and I find that very disheartening. Some of my favorite jokes just become untimely for one reason or another. There you are, with a perfectly good joke that is basically done. I’ll give you an example.
Question: “What do you get when you cross a computer with a gorilla?”
Answer: “A hairy reasoner.”
I love that joke, but I doubt many people nowadays would get the punch line. You might recognize that it is a reference to Harry Reasoner, the television news reporter. Pretty funny, huh? But I expect a lot of people would say, “Who is he? I don’t get it.” Well, trust me, it’s funny okay? Here is another example:
Question: “What do the Astros and Michael Jackson have in common?”
Answer: “They both wear one glove for no apparent reason.”
Now, that joke can only be funny if (1) the Astros are having a bad year, and (2) the person actually remembers who Michael Jackson was and that he wore a single glove when he performed. The chances of having an occasion to throw that joke are falling slimmer each year.
Here is another one that I really thought was funny at the time and it adapted well to a 1980s work environment:
“I think the boss is giving each of us a car as a bonus this year. I saw him in his office, and he had a list of employees in front of him. I saw him looking at the names and saying ‘Yugo. Yugo. Yugo.’”
Does anyone still remember the Yugo? Probably not. It was a Yugoslavian car (a country that no longer exists) that was manufactured in the late 80s. Funny as it was, it would be hard to make that joke work nowadays since the demise of the Yugo car brand.
Here is a joke that makes me laugh every time I think of it:
“I called directory assistance looking for the number to AAA. Instead, the operator gave me the number to AA. Now, every time I drink, my car gets towed.”
To my knowledge, my friend Rex Bell made up that joke. But the reference to “directory assistance” has definitely put an expiration date on its life expectancy. You could change it to “I googled the number to AAA...” but I’m not sure that google is capable of making that kind of a mistake. So, not as funny.
Some of my favorite jokes and one-liners date back to the 60s or even earlier, to the days of vaudeville. I like to think they have no expiration date and will live on as fathers tell them to their sons:
A horse walks into a bar. The bartender says, “Hey buddy. Why the long face?”
Or this one:
Person #1: Did you know I have a weak back?
Person #2: No! When did you get that?
Person #1: Oh, I got it about a week back.
That is a classic! Or this one from a Smothers Brothers comedy routine that a local judge reminded me of recently:
Person #1 (singing): “Soap, soap, soap, soap, soap...”
Person #2: “Hey, what are you doing?”
Person #1: “I just thought I’d sing a few bars.”
Those little quips are just sort of timeless and, although they may not be too funny to you, they are really funny if alcohol is involved.
Johnny McNally is Grimes County’s Best Dressed Businessman advocating for Grimes County.