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  #1  
Old 10-22-2012, 08:29 AM
inedible knapsack inedible knapsack is offline
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Things that funny people know

Inspired by this thread about tall people.

There are a lot of funny people on the boards. What do you know about human nature, language, timing or other concepts that make for hilarity?

By way of example:

- Certain numbers are funnier than others. Prime numbers are generally funny, while multiples of 10 generally aren't.

- Laugh tracks force laughs for "jokes" that aren't funny. If you can find clips of sitcoms with the laugh track turned off, the pauses and stilted conversations just seem awkward.
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  #2  
Old 10-22-2012, 08:37 AM
tdn tdn is offline
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The unexpected is funny. The out of place is funny. Incongruency is funny.

And neckties that are too long. Or too short.
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  #3  
Old 10-22-2012, 08:40 AM
Scumpup Scumpup is offline
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Other people's pain is funny.
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  #4  
Old 10-22-2012, 08:45 AM
DrFidelius DrFidelius is online now
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Some animals are intrinsically funny. Weasels, penguins, and chickens are funny, Wolves, horses, and antelopes are only rarely funny, and then only in specific context.
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  #5  
Old 10-22-2012, 08:46 AM
Ludovic Ludovic is offline
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As a rule, people consider puns the lowest form of humor. If I paid attention to this rule, I might be qualified to answer the OP.
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  #6  
Old 10-22-2012, 08:53 AM
njtt njtt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A_Nested_Thorn View Post
By way of example:

- Certain numbers are funnier than others. Prime numbers are generally funny, while multiples of 10 generally aren't.
What! 57,230 isn't funny!
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  #7  
Old 10-22-2012, 08:54 AM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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Ks are funny. So are Ps and Qs and Ss.

The comics best friend is a drunk audience.

Important thing to keep in mind - some people just can't take a joke.

Timing is








everything.

Last edited by TriPolar; 10-22-2012 at 08:55 AM..
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  #8  
Old 10-22-2012, 08:59 AM
inedible knapsack inedible knapsack is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njtt View Post
What! 57,230 isn't funny!
Well, 57,230 is funny because it contains two prime numbers, 57 and 23
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  #9  
Old 10-22-2012, 08:59 AM
tdn tdn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njtt View Post
What! 57,230 isn't funny!
No, but 57,230 and one is funny. 57,230 and 2 is hilarious.

Last edited by tdn; 10-22-2012 at 08:59 AM..
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  #10  
Old 10-22-2012, 09:00 AM
tdn tdn is offline
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Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
Timing is








everything.
Ask me what the secret to great comedy is.

What's the se TIMING!
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  #11  
Old 10-22-2012, 09:04 AM
Musicat Musicat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrFidelius View Post
Some animals are intrinsically funny. Weasels, penguins, and chickens are funny, Wolves, horses, and antelopes are only rarely funny, and then only in specific context.
Don't forget monkeys. Especially on rocks.

Turtles, not so much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tdn View Post
Ask me what the secret to great comedy is.

What's the se TIMING!
I give up. What's se timing?
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  #12  
Old 10-22-2012, 09:05 AM
Sicks Ate Sicks Ate is offline
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Pulling in a reference to something non-funny that happened or was said in a conversation hours, days, or even weeks ago when making a joke is awesome, provided the person on the receiving end is smart enough to pick up on it.
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  #13  
Old 10-22-2012, 09:07 AM
inedible knapsack inedible knapsack is offline
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All timing is not the same; it's specific to a situation.

A loud fart after a long period of awkward silence = funny

A witty retort after a long period of awkward silence = lame (ironically, unless the retort isn't really that witty, at which point the circle is completed and it's so sad it's funny)
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  #14  
Old 10-22-2012, 09:11 AM
tdn tdn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A_Nested_Thorn View Post
All timing is not the same; it's specific to a situation.
Wait a minute. So what you're saying is... penguins?!?

OMG, now I get it!
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  #15  
Old 10-22-2012, 09:26 AM
Dr_Doom Dr_Doom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A_Nested_Thorn View Post
Well, 57,230 is funny because it contains two prime numbers, 57 and 23
Were 57 a prime number, that would be funny.
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  #16  
Old 10-22-2012, 09:27 AM
ZipperJJ ZipperJJ is offline
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Subtlety is funny. Stating the obvious is usually not funny.

Most people I know are big fans of stating the obvious.
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  #17  
Old 10-22-2012, 09:33 AM
inedible knapsack inedible knapsack is offline
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Originally Posted by Dr_Doom View Post
Were 57 a prime number, that would be funny.
Just call me Grothendieck:

From Wikipedia: "Although 57 is not prime, it is jokingly [emphasis mine] known as the "Grothendieck prime" after a story in which Grothendieck supposedly gave it as an example of a particular prime number."

Now that is high comedy.
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  #18  
Old 10-22-2012, 09:54 AM
GrandWino GrandWino is offline
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Tragedy + Time = Comedy.
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  #19  
Old 10-22-2012, 10:06 AM
It's Not Rocket Surgery! It's Not Rocket Surgery! is offline
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Originally Posted by Bob Ducca View Post
Tragedy + Time = Comedy.
Too soon.
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  #20  
Old 10-22-2012, 10:09 AM
Dr_Doom Dr_Doom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A_Nested_Thorn View Post
Just call me Grothendieck:

From Wikipedia: "Although 57 is not prime, it is jokingly [emphasis mine] known as the "Grothendieck prime" after a story in which Grothendieck supposedly gave it as an example of a particular prime number."

Now that is high comedy.
Thanks for the info!

To the OP,

in capable hands, gooderisms are usually spoon.
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  #21  
Old 10-22-2012, 10:09 AM
Taomist Taomist is offline
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I know that my funny mouth gets me into more trouble than anything else.
I also recognize there's a tiny bit of tragedy in there that I can't seem to control it much of the time. >.<
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  #22  
Old 10-22-2012, 10:15 AM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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A fool laughs at a joke three times.

First when he hears it.

Second when he tells it.

Third when he finally gets it.
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  #23  
Old 10-22-2012, 10:17 AM
Ethilrist Ethilrist is offline
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Sometimes, even funny people aren't funny.
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  #24  
Old 10-22-2012, 10:25 AM
Dr_Doom Dr_Doom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethilrist View Post
Sometimes, even funny people aren't funny.
And some funny people end up being funny, even when they are making a conscious effort NOT to be.
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  #25  
Old 10-22-2012, 10:51 AM
FairyChatMom FairyChatMom is offline
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To quote Benjy Stone from My Favorite Year:
Quote:
On the funny side there are the Marx Brothers, except Zeppo; the Ritz Brothers, no exceptions; both Laurel *and* Hardy; and Woody Woodpecker. On the unfunny side there's anyone who has ever played the accordion professionally.
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  #26  
Old 10-22-2012, 11:01 AM
friedo friedo is offline
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The funniest word in the English language is "trousers." But the funniest article of clothing is pants. That's why underpants are funnier than underwear.

Underpants.

See?

Also, the funniest element on the periodic table is darmstadtium.
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  #27  
Old 10-22-2012, 11:04 AM
Wheelz Wheelz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdn View Post
The unexpected is funny. The out of place is funny. Incongruency is funny.
Among other factors, this.

I once made a professional comedian laugh out loud at his own joke because I pulled the punchline out when he wasn't expecting it. One of my proudest moments as an open-mike-night hack.
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  #28  
Old 10-22-2012, 11:07 AM
NotherYinzer NotherYinzer is offline
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Quote:
...{people} who play the accordion professionally... :
Wait, so Weird Al isn't funny?

Last edited by NotherYinzer; 10-22-2012 at 11:08 AM..
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  #29  
Old 10-22-2012, 11:09 AM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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Originally Posted by friedo View Post
Also, the funniest element on the periodic table is darmstadtium.
Francium is only funny to Jerry Lewis.
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  #30  
Old 10-22-2012, 11:34 AM
Machine Elf Machine Elf is offline
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Gary Larson's Far Side cartoons were funny to me sometimes because he communicated one thing verbally in the caption, and something else entirely in the visual imagery of the cartoon.

Example: a pair of conjoined twins are being examined/interviewed by a doctor. The caption is of the doctor asking them, "...OK, let me get this straight. Frank, you're saying that it's your brother Jim here who turns in to a werewolf at night?" The caption clearly indicates some uncertainty/confusion on the part of the doctor. Then you look at the panel: Frank is all beat to hell, and his conjoined brother Jim has a guilty "fearful of being discovered" look on his face.

I'm not sure if that's an example of incongruity (between the doctor's uncertainty and the preponderance of blatant visual evidence) or understatement (by the doctor), but Larson seemed to engage in that sort of thing a lot.
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  #31  
Old 10-22-2012, 02:39 PM
TreacherousCretin TreacherousCretin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdn View Post
Ask me what the secret to great comedy is.

What's the se TIMING!
Thank you. I was going to attempt to convey this myself.
Best execution I've seen was Dudley Moore with Dick Cavett. (DM: "Ask me..." / DC: "What's the...." )

.
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  #32  
Old 10-22-2012, 02:49 PM
TreacherousCretin TreacherousCretin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by It's Not Rocket Surgery! View Post
Too soon.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Doom View Post
....in capable hands, gooderisms are usually spoon.
As opposed to SpellCheck, which can be your worst enema.
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  #33  
Old 10-22-2012, 02:56 PM
Dr_Doom Dr_Doom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TreacherousCretin View Post



As opposed to SpellCheck, which can be your worst enema.
Whoosh?




Did I spell "whoosh" correctly?

Last edited by Dr_Doom; 10-22-2012 at 02:58 PM..
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  #34  
Old 10-22-2012, 03:03 PM
tdn tdn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TreacherousCretin View Post
Best execution I've seen was Dudley Moore with Dick Cavett. (DM: "Ask me..." / DC: "What's the...." )
I didn't know that there was more than one execution. I've heard about it with Buddy Hackett and Johnny Carson. And I heard it from a roommate. But it makes sense that it's a standard.
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  #35  
Old 10-22-2012, 03:05 PM
Voyager Voyager is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
A fool laughs at a joke three times.

First when he hears it.

Second when he tells it.

Third when he finally gets it.
An example of the rule of three. Many good jokes have three parts.
Example: The "Would you believe" jokes on Get Smart.

I understand that comedians tend not to laugh at other people's jokes since they are too busy analyzing them. And I agree about surprise - lead the listener someplace, and then pull the rug out from under them.
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  #36  
Old 10-22-2012, 03:09 PM
cjepson cjepson is offline
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Brevity is the soul of wit. (Usually.)
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  #37  
Old 10-22-2012, 03:13 PM
tdn tdn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
Third when he finally gets it.
Then there's the secret to kids' comedy. Repeat the joke again and again even if you don't understand it, as long as it gets a reaction. And that reaction might just be a polite adult who doesn't ask you to stop.

My cousin's favorite joke when he was four:

Hello? You don't say you don't say who was it, he didn't say! He didn't say! Hello? You don't say you don't say who was it, he didn't say! He didn't say! Hello? You don't say you don't say who was it, he didn't say! He didn't say! Hello? You don't say you don't say who was it, he didn't say! He didn't say! Hello? You don't say you don't say who was it, he didn't say! He didn't say! Hello? You don't say you don't say who was it, he didn't say! He didn't say!

Enough!
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  #38  
Old 10-22-2012, 07:05 PM
TreacherousCretin TreacherousCretin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Doom View Post
Whoosh?

Not a whoosh, but I'm not a dullard.
As a being who loves spoonerisms, I enjoyed the joke, and was inspired to use it as an excuse to pass along the SpellCheck gag, which is funny in a similar way (serving as its own example. I think).

Did I spell "whoosh" correctly?
Indeed!
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  #39  
Old 10-22-2012, 07:19 PM
TreacherousCretin TreacherousCretin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdn View Post
I didn't know that there was more than one execution. I've heard about it with Buddy Hackett and Johnny Carson. And I heard it from a roommate. But it makes sense that it's a standard.
I've heard it three or four times, always on TeeVee. The first time was Moore and Cavett, probably mid 1970's. I'd bet it goes back to at least the 1920's.
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  #40  
Old 10-22-2012, 07:23 PM
TreacherousCretin TreacherousCretin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TreacherousCretin View Post
Indeed!
Hey! That's not how I formatted my reply. Now everybody thinks I am a dullard. It should have looked like this:

Originally Posted by Dr_Doom View Post
Whoosh?

Not a whoosh, but I'm not a dullard.
As a being who loves spoonerisms, I enjoyed the joke, and was inspired to use it as an excuse to pass along the SpellCheck gag, which is funny in a similar way (serving as its own example. I think).

Originally Posted by Dr_Doom View Post
Did I spell "whoosh" correctly?

Indeed!

Last edited by TreacherousCretin; 10-22-2012 at 07:25 PM..
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  #41  
Old 10-23-2012, 03:01 PM
CookingWithGas CookingWithGas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TreacherousCretin View Post
Thank you. I was going to attempt to convey this myself.
Best execution I've seen was Dudley Moore with Dick Cavett. (DM: "Ask me..." / DC: "What's the...." ).
I too have only heard this when Buddy Hackett was on The Tonight Show; Johnny Carson was the straight man for this line and you would believe he really didn't see it coming. That particular event was also described by Penn Jillette in "How To Play in Traffic" (p. 103). He compared it to watching a space shuttle launch from a couple of miles away, because you see the launch and just as you start to think, "That's funny, I don't hear anything" you hear this overwhelming ROAR.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Doom View Post
Were 57 a prime number, that would be funny.
You mean not all numbers ending in 7 are prime?


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  #42  
Old 10-23-2012, 03:21 PM
tdn tdn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CookingWithGas View Post
I too have only heard this when Buddy Hackett was on The Tonight Show; Johnny Carson was the straight man for this line and you would believe he really didn't see it coming. That particular event was also described by Penn Jillette in "How To Play in Traffic" (p. 103). He compared it to watching a space shuttle launch from a couple of miles away, because you see the launch and just as you start to think, "That's funny, I don't hear anything" you hear this overwhelming ROAR.
That book is where I got it from. Except they don't compare the shuttle to an overwhealming roar, they compare it to getting hit in the chest with a bat.
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  #43  
Old 10-23-2012, 03:52 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taomist View Post
I know that my funny mouth gets me into more trouble than anything else.
I also recognize there's a tiny bit of tragedy in there that I can't seem to control it much of the time. >.<
That's my problem, too - not thinking of things later when it's too late, but I trying to keep myself from saying wildly inappropriate things right on the spot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Machine Elf View Post
Gary Larson's Far Side cartoons were funny to me sometimes because he communicated one thing verbally in the caption, and something else entirely in the visual imagery of the cartoon.

Example: a pair of conjoined twins are being examined/interviewed by a doctor. The caption is of the doctor asking them, "...OK, let me get this straight. Frank, you're saying that it's your brother Jim here who turns in to a werewolf at night?" The caption clearly indicates some uncertainty/confusion on the part of the doctor. Then you look at the panel: Frank is all beat to hell, and his conjoined brother Jim has a guilty "fearful of being discovered" look on his face.

I'm not sure if that's an example of incongruity (between the doctor's uncertainty and the preponderance of blatant visual evidence) or understatement (by the doctor), but Larson seemed to engage in that sort of thing a lot.
Hah! That made me laugh just reading it.

As for funny things, monkeys are always funny, and the letter "k" is the funniest letter. See - there's a "k" in "monkey."
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  #44  
Old 10-23-2012, 03:57 PM
suranyi suranyi is online now
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Charles Schulz once said that the word "opthalmologist" is funny, but "optomotrist" isn't. So when Sally had eye problems, he had her see the former.
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  #45  
Old 10-23-2012, 04:11 PM
mascaroni mascaroni is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A_Nested_Thorn View Post
...A loud fart after a long period of awkward silence = funny...
A loud fart is always funny. The bedrock of British humour...

My mum came up with an inadvertant Spoonerism a couple of years ago at the fiercely contested annual after Christmas dinner quiz;

Mum: "Which seventies tart chopper..."
Me: "The Yorkshire Ripper".

I think the real answer was Kate Bush...
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  #46  
Old 10-23-2012, 04:32 PM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Nearly everything can be misunderstood, if you try hard enough.

For example: I actually saw a sign in a shoe shop the other day that said "SALE! Buy one get one free on all mens shoes". I was very tempted to ask "isn't that just how it normally works?"
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  #47  
Old 10-23-2012, 04:36 PM
Ludovic Ludovic is offline
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I'm even more tempted over here where for the past couple of years it has been abbreviated as just "BOGO" (which is sometimes get one free, and sometimes just half-off or x% off or some such.) I do want to go in and say "Yeah, normally, when I buy one, I do get one."
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  #48  
Old 10-23-2012, 04:58 PM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suranyi View Post
Charles Schulz once said that the word "opthalmologist" is funny, but "optomotrist" isn't. So when Sally had eye problems, he had her see the former.
Also, "Beethoven" (but not "Brahms"), "Zamboni," and "Joe Garagiola" are funny.
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  #49  
Old 10-23-2012, 07:52 PM
CookingWithGas CookingWithGas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdn View Post
That book is where I got it from. Except they don't compare the shuttle to an overwhealming roar, they compare it to getting hit in the chest with a bat.
I didn't go back and read the whole passage

BTW I was actually watching the Tonight Show that night. It might have been the same show where Buddy said, "When I was growing up, at my house we always had two choices for dinner: Take it or leave it."
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  #50  
Old 10-23-2012, 08:59 PM
Hampshire Hampshire is offline
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Know your audience.
Different people think different things are funny. Some respond to sarcasm, some to satire, some to physical humor.
Some jokes play better one-on-one, some are better for a group.
I like to feel people out and find out what makes them laugh. When I first met my wife all my friends thought I was hilarious and told her so. She never thought I was funny.
It took me a few years to figure her out and find what she responds to. I can make her laugh now but she still says that when I'm around my friends I act stupid.
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