In honor of refrigerator week, we at BTR thought it only natural to pay homage to some of the corniest and most uncomfortable jokes ever heard.
Some are embarrassing while others are adorable or outright horrifying. Regardless of the delivery style, each joke has the ability to simultaneously captivate and repel us.
The “dirty joke” came from my Uncle John–the fun Uncle, the lush; the one who had no qualms about sneaking beers to my sister and I when we were 16.
I’m pretty sure he told it at a family gathering after asking, “Want to hear a dirty joke?” He would soak up the admonishing stares of the other adults present, and the eager encouragement from me and my cousins and proceed.
Uncle John: “Wanna hear a dirty joke? … A white horse jumps in a mud puddle.”
As for the classic Dad joke: My dad used to dress up as “Bafo The Clown” at my birthday parties when I was a kid. Of course, he’ll deny it to this dying day that he had anything to do with Bafo (Even though I found the clown’s rubber nose, rainbow afro, and Hawaiian shirt hiding in his dresser drawer). Instead, he would claim that they were old friends, and though he was never around when Bafo was, he always ran into Bafo on his way to the train back to Clown-Town.
Nevertheless, every time Bafo came to town, he made the “snew” joke. And when anybody tried to touch his nose or hair, he berated, “Hey hey hey! Hands off the merchandise!”
My Dad: “You’ve got snew all over you!”
Me: “What’s snew?”
My Dad: “Nothing, what’s new with you?”
Bad jokes are not something I dedicate too much time towards storing in my long-term memory vault. However, the ones that have found a way to creep and settle in my brain are ones that fall into one of two categories: absurdly stupid or genuinely offensive.
A trend of jokes that started up in the early 2000s managed to beautifully fit both categories with its nonsensical humor and morbid apathy for human life.
The riddles of mention are ones we now refer to as “Dead Baby Jokes” and they have been ruining the sensible emotional bandwidth of otherwise decent adolescents for some time now.
One that particularly had me in fits and still makes me shake my head with a smile involves a baby corpse and some type of body of water.
“How do you make a dead baby float?” asked my equally sinister, pubescent friend.
“Dunno, how?” I’d ask, restraining my imagination from even attempting to place sense into the proposed scenario.
“You take your foot off it,” said the friend, matter-of-factly.
I don’t think anyone has directly told me any bad jokes. Fortunately, my friends and family are some genuinely funny people.
One thing that really sticks out in my mind, though, is something from summer camp.
From around age 5 to 9, I went to a day camp in Westchester, NY. At the end of every Friday, before we boarded the buses back home, the counselors would give every camper a Popsicle stick.
Every kid knew that each Popsicle stick had a secret joke on it that was revealed when you finished the Popsicle. Even at a young age, I knew they were all groan-inducing.
One in particular I remember is: “Why did the fish have a bad report card?”
“Because all of his grades were under ‘C’.”
I think I threw the stick away immediately.
To my memory, I haven’t heard many noteworthy cheesy jokes, but I used to work as an assistant teacher at a daycare center and those toddlers thought they were all professional comedians. Of course, their timing was always off and they never remembered the punchlines, but the humor mostly came from watching a toddler struggle to recite a joke they didn’t fully understand.
One three-year-old girl in particular just couldn’t grasp the concept of knock-knock jokes. She understood the structure of the jokes, but not the humorous aspect. She thought the point of knock-knock jokes was that they were funny simply because there wasn’t really anyone knocking at a real door.
This little girl had only one joke in her arsenal, but she performed that same joke every single day:
“Knock, knock, Hannah!”
To which I would enthusiastically respond, “Who’s there?”
And she would yell back, an evil smile on her face, “NO DOOR, HANNAH!”
At which point she would collapse into giggles, make fun of me for actually attempting to answer a door that didn’t exist, and run away.
Growing up with an older brother is similar to struggling for survival. Not that I was ever near death, but sometimes, as a really bad joke was being told over and over, I would curl up in a ball and hope that I could make it through the pain. The joke that my brother would tell incessantly would go like this:
“Hey, Lizzy?” He would ask with a mischievous grin and a glint in his eye.
“What?” I would ask.
“What’s a ninja’s favorite drink?”—Now, if you’ve never heard the joke before, you might think …”Something with lots of electrolytes to keep them hydrated from all the action? Gatorade? Coconut water?”
Or you may also say as I would, “Please, Kenny, don’t tell me this joke again. It wasn’t funny the first time and isn’t funny now.”
But, don’t worry, because he’ll respond with, “Wa-TAH!” Punch included.
And that is the worst joke I’ve ever heard. And continue to hear. All the time.
Feature photo courtesy of Arno Hoyer.