By Professor Jackie Martling
By definition, jokes are ridiculous. Some people love them and some people hate them, but they’ve been around forever, and always will be.
There are two groups of people at every party: The people in the huddle telling the filthy jokes and the people who are trying to remember a filthy joke so they can get in the huddle. Every joke has a “butt,” be it the husband or the Jewish mother or the blonde. For the humor to happen, someone has to “get hurt” to some extent, preferably someone else. Mel Brooks’ definitions of comedy and tragedy are: “Tragedy is when I stub my toe. Comedy is when you fall off a cliff.”
For reasons I’ll never understand, I remember every joke I’ve ever heard. It started in the eighth grade and, over the past 50 or so years, I’ve learned a few tricks to telling them. Subtle do’s and don’ts may make you better at it.
Trim the Fat
Only relate what’s necessary. Long-winded stories packed with unnecessary details are mainly responsible for jokes getting a bad name. Playboy’s Party Jokes are a huge offender: “The sultry young lass sauntered into a nightclub, smiling broadly, and sexily asked the bartender if he could possibly…” No! Told properly, that hodgepodge translates to: “A girl walks into a bar and says to the bartender…”
Keep it Simple
Don’t ever break up dialogue. It’s, “The man says to the cop, ‘Hey, which way did that kid go?’” Not, “‘Hey,’ the man says to the cop, ‘Which way did that kid go?’” It just flows so much better that way.
Don’t use any descriptive adjectives unless it’s to distinguish one character from another. It’s, “The first worm says,” to distinguish him from the second worm in the joke. Not “the slimy, dirty worm,” unless the description is necessary to the joke.
No time like the present
Always use the present tense.. It gives the joke an immediacy and makes it more exciting. It’s always, “The barber says,” never, “The barber said.”
Save the best for last
Though sometimes you really can’t dodge them, do your best to not include any words from the punch line in the body of your joke. It just makes the punch line more fun.
And, very important, memorize the punch line. Know it well. Even say it out loud a few times so you can deliver it flawlessly with confidence and without stammering.
Three to Remember
Here are three great jokes, with a short idea between each pair to aid you in remembering them in that order.
A woman walks into a drug store and says to the pharmacist, “I’d like to buy some cyanide. I need it to poison my husband.”
The pharmacist says, “Don’t be ridiculous. I can’t give you cyanide to kill your husband. You’ll go to jail, I’ll go to jail, you’re crazy.”
The woman reaches into her purse and hands the pharmacist a picture of her husband in bed with the pharmacist’s wife.
The pharmacist says, “You didn’t tell me you had a prescription.”
(Connector: The pharmacist’s brother is a psychiatrist…)
A guy goes into a psychiatrist’s office and says, “Doc, I can’t seem to make any friends. Can you help me, you fat slob?”
(Connector: stuffed fluffy toys are fat)
A guy meets a girl in a bar and they go back to her apartment. They go into her bedroom and from left to right, floor to ceiling, there’s a whole wall full of fluffy toys. Floor to ceiling, side to side, fluffy toys everywhere. They get it on.
When they’re done, the guy says, “How was I?”
She says, “Take anything from the bottom shelf.”
So now you’ve got a string of three great jokes. Learn them and get in the huddle. If you want more, follow me on Twitter @jackiemartling. I tweet a new joke every day. You can also e-mail me, firstname.lastname@example.org, and you’ll get free jokes a few times a month.
Jackie “The Joke Man” Martling is the author of several popular joke books and albums. He was the head writer of The Howard Stern Show for 15 years and currently hosts Jackie’s Joke Hunt on SiriusXM every Tuesday night at 7 p.m.
THE GAME SHOW
It’s quite simple.
We’ll give you a number which equals the first letter of each word in a name, a phrase, an entity or an expression. Your mission is to solve what the letters stand for.
5 = F on O H
5 = fingers on one hand
This issue’s equations:
54 = C I a D W T J
Hint: Las Vegas
4 = T F W I L G A
4 = B O a B D
If you’re stumped, email me at email@example.com