I was telling a joke to the Baron and it was not going well. "Knock knock", I said. "Would you like some sauce?" said the Baron. "No!" I said. "Knock Knock!"
Not an uncommon experience, I suppose, telling jokes that don't seem to get anywhere. But does anyone have quite as much skill at telling jokes that don't get anywhere near as pointlessly as I do? Earlier at the Dan, I had tried out this one: "Doctor, doctor, I have a minute to live! NO, WAIT, THAT'S WRONG... Doctor, doctor, I have 59 seconds to live! Wait a minute."
"Who's there?" said the Baron. "Who!" I said. "Who who!" said the Baron. "Oh, wait, whoops, I stuffed that bit up, let's go back," I said. "Knock knock...."
Worst of all are the jokes in which you ask a person a question, and require them to answer that question in a certain way, but you are not allowed to tell them to answer the question in a certain way or it spoils them. I have never been able to tell the one that goes, "What are you eating under there? Under where? UNDERWEAR? You're eating UNDERWEAR? My goodness, that's disgusting!" properly. No-one ever seems to answer in the way that you'd expect them too:
Q: What are you eating under there?
A: I'm not eating anything.
A: I'm eating it on the top of the table, thanks.
A: Under this, you mean?
A: Oh, I know that one, that's a good one!
A: What, sorry?
The Baron tried it out on me once, and I neatly sidestepped her line of questioning by answering: 'Underpants.' (I have actually eaten underwear, you know. Everyone should try it at least once*.)
"Who's there?" said the Baron. "To!" I said. "To who?" said the Baron. "To whom, surely." I cried victoriously. And we both fell into an uncomfortable silence that was eventually broken when Agatha the Chook wandered around from the back garden and started pecking determinedly at the window.
But anyway, it makes you wonder what mistakes I'll get up to next. How many ways can you get a joke wrong? "Why did the road cross the chicken?" "Why was the chicken cross?" Why did the road cross the road?" "Why was the cross chicken?" "Why was the chicken from Rhodes crossing the Australian, Englishman and Irishman for, and what did the magic slide have to do with it?" Blimey, it just gets worse and worse.
What's wrong with uncomfortable silences, anyway? Maybe I like uncomfortable silences.
*That really is true. My brother got some once as a joke present and we all had a taste. He didn't wear them. I don't think he wore them, anyway.
Tim, your links stink, you fink!
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- The briefs...
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