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Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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Thursday, February 16, 2012

the joke's on us

Gerry started it.

First of all, the jokes that we think are funny are generally not child-appropriate.


So when he put the kids to bed one night by telling them a series of jokes, he had to look online (on his phone - what an age in which we live) to find jokes that the kids could repeat at school without setting off an ugly series of visits from a Representative of the Court that would result in an extremely inconvenient new schedule of supervised child visitation.

For those of you who've never needed to put the Child Safety Filter on your sense of humor, the jokes that remain after you cull the ones containing bad words, sexual innuendo, and complicated ethnic references are so dumb you almost have to laugh.  Almost.  For example:
What's brown and sticky?
A stick.
GET IT????  Well, Gerry's bedtime comedy routine was so well-received that it set the kids off on a joke rampage.  Except they don't know any jokes.  So they make them up.

In case you don't know this, jokes that kids make up are not all that humorous.  In fact, in the majority of the continental U.S., telling jokes invented by children is considered a form of verbal abuse.  Nevertheless, this week has been a nonstop, open-mic amateur comedy hour at my house, and has given me a new respect for professional comedians, because by all indications it must be pretty hard to write a joke that's even moderately laughable.  Most of the ones I've been hearing don't even make sense.

A boy picked up a feather and said, "Where do all these keep coming from?"
What are you talking about?   Did I miss the first line?  Was there some lead-in involving lots of feathers of mysterious origin that you forgot to tell me?  The cream of the crop was a rather disturbing one that Zoe came up with:
What did the panda eat after he shot the waitress?
BAMboo.
I wasn't sure if I should laugh or get her some counseling.

This is why you shouldn't let your kids watch The Sopranos.

What's worse is they've worked their little hearts out thinking of these gems, and they're so proud of them.  Whenever they come dancing into the kitchen to say, "Hey, wanna hear a joke?" it's clear by the sparkle in their eyes and the excitement in their voices that disappointment of the highest order will occur if you don't find the joke high-larry-us.

I try to muster a laugh and a tousle of the hair.  But I'm not going to lie - some afternoons I'm so tired from... well, not sleeping, that I find it difficult to whip up a phony sense of humor and make it come off as even remotely genuine when I hear Method #564 of determining whether or not an elephant has, in fact, been in the refrigerator (spoiler alert - it often involves footprints in the butter).

Which brings us to the other night.  I think it was mostly to be goofy, but maybe also a teensy bit to give them an un-funny taste of their own medicine, when my husband told the kids a joke that made no sense whatsoever.  He called them over and I heard Gerry say, "Two tigers are at the dinner table. One says, 'Pass the salt,' and the other replies, 'What do I look like, a typewriter?'"

The kids were silent - not so much as a chuckle.  We thought they'd learned their lesson - see, it's not that entertaining to hear a joke THAT IS ESSENTIALLY JUST A RANDOM BUNCH OF WORDS STRUNG TOGETHER.

But apparently my 10-year-old, Jake, thought Gerry's quip was  supposed to make sense.

After a minute, Jake finally broke the silence and said, "I don't get it. What's a typewriter?"

Sigh.  I'm so old.


Happily linked to:
SippyCupChroniclesFavoriteThingFriday

Finding the Funny at Kelley's Break Room and My Life and Kids.

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23 comments:

  1. Haha! That reminds me of a joke a substitute teacher would tell our class every single time he subbed for our grade (back in 5th grade):

    Him: "Ask me if I'm a bus driver."
    Us: "Are you a bus driver?"
    Him: "No."

    At which point he would laugh maniacally and leave the room.

    Looking back on it - that's pretty weird.

    Back to age-appropriate ones (I got this off of a Laffy Taffy once):

    What do you call a cow with a twitch?

    Beef jerky.

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  2. Hah! That's pretty funny, if only because JUST LAST NIGHT I broke out one of my old favorites at my folks' house.

    Me: "You wanna hear my truck driver joke?"

    Dad: "Truck driver joke? Sure."

    Me: "Ask me if I'm a truck driver."

    Well, you see where this is going.

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  3. April, I think my husband might have been your substitute teacher! He would've been way too young, but there can't be TWO people running around telling that joke... :)
    I'm gonna tell the kids your beef jerky joke tonight - Jake will love it, but Zoe might not get it because she refers to ALL meat as "chicken."

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  4. cute post, found you thru the blog hop. Have a super weekend!

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  5. Thanks, G&K - so glad you hopped by!

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  6. Thanks for linking up. Jokes for kids are actually a great critical thinking type activity and you don't even realize it.

    I remember some of my old kid joke books having some of the jokes that you talk about that make no sense.

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  7. haha- that is hysterical! We are a big joking family here too. Have a great weekend!

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  8. Jenny, glad to hear that about critical thinking - I will say the kids' jokes were WAY better than most of the ones you find in kids' joke books, which are usually just terrible puns.

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  9. Melissa, life is more fun that way, isn't it? We have joke nights around here sometimes, second in popularity only to ridiculously embarrassing dance nights. :)

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    Replies
    1. It truly is! Makes for some great times. Feel free to link up on the sat laugh hop. Your site always has cute posts! Have a great weekend.

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  10. BAMboo Ha! Ha! Ha! (I know, I shouldn't encourage her.)
    My then 3 year old made this joke up:
    Knock knock.
    Who's there?
    Poo poo!
    Feel free to steal that little gem.
    I love that you have joke night. In our house it would be called sarcasm night. The kids seem to be catching on.

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    1. That joke would bring the house down over here. And if I told it during dinner, when everything toilet-related is 50x funnier - forget about it!

      Why do I get the feeling that every night at your house is sarcasm night? Or maybe that's just my house... :)

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  11. This was so funny! I actually laughed out loud at the stick joke. I'm so immature! I kind of liked the tiger joke, too. I liked that it made no sense and that he decided tigers should sit a table, want salt and compare it to a typewriter. Ha! Love that. Love the idea of teaching kids jokes, too. I am going to do it!

    (Thanks for linking this up over at #findingthefunny last week!)

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    Replies
    1. I'm a huge fan of stupid jokes I remember from my childhood, and as it turns out they're still popular with the younguns. You won't be disappointed if you teach the kids jokes, and they do get pretty creative making up their own - just prepare yourself to fake laugh a lot. :)

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  12. OMG I totally was thinking "those kids were silent because they don't know if a typewriter is supposed to be something funny or not." I happen to love awful jokes such as what is brown and sticky. I have a very simple sense of humor, I guess. But living with it 24/7 would probably not be so funny. Found you at finding the fnny.

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    Replies
    1. I love them, too - but yeah, 24/7 is a little much, especially when they make no sense whatsoever. :)

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  13. My 4 year old has been on a joke tear for the last 6 months or so. Her new favorites are knock, knock jokes that always seem to end with "a pile of poop!" Sometimes, I literally pull nonsensical random words together and make them sound like a question. Then I just yell out a color, very excitedly. She laughs, and laughs.

    Maybe she needs an MRI, something is not right in there...

    Here's one for the kids:

    Knock, knock
    Who's there?
    Who
    Who, Who?
    What are you an owl?

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    1. HA, that whole thing cracks me up (well, unless she really does need an MRI - that wouldn't be nice to laugh at, but she sounds normal to me)! My kids try to get me with that owl one (Why does every kid go through a knock knock phase?), so I'm totally going to tell one of your color jokes tonight. Even if they don't laugh, I know I will. :)

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  14. HaHA! Am sort of dying that they don't know what a typewriter is and also, so mad that you ruined that awesome elephant in the fridge joke by giving away the punch line...;)

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    1. I know, I died a little inside, too. :) And don't worry about the elephants in the fridge; you can come over sometime and my husband will tell elephant jokes until you beg him to stop (seriously - after a few hours you have to beg). ;)

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