Going straight to hell (warning: discussion of offensive jokes)

I’ve had two jokes told to me in the past couple of days, both of which I’d deem offensive.
Joke 1:

Jesus walks into a hotel. He throws some nails onto the counter and asks, “Can you put me up for the night?”
Joke 2:

What’s the difference between a pizza and a Jewish person*: pizza doesn’t scream when you put it in the oven.

Do you find both of these jokes offensive?


How offensive is joke 1, on a scale from 1-10, with ten being the worst?

How offensive is joke 2, on a scale from 1-10?

I guess what I’m trying to understand why I find the first joke semi-acceptable, but the second repugnant?

Maybe because Jesus willingly accepted his fate, believing that it would benefit others. One could believe that Jesus would joke about himself like that, maybe. On the other hand there’s nothing funny about murdering millions of people.

First joke rates about a 1.5 on my offenderometer. Even the most evangelical christian would probably only give it a four or a five. I’d tell it at a job interview, if asked. :slight_smile:

Second joke is about a ten for me, beyond the pale. If a family member told me that one I’d probably blank them. The fact its not remotely funny from a comedy POV compounds its offensiveness.

Yes, they’re both offensive. The first rates about a 1 for me, and the second around 10.

I find them both funny, albeit in a horrifying way. I like that type of humour.

Also, for me personally, it has a lot to do with who tells the joke. My wife’s brother, who’s a racist fuck with genuine contempt for Jews, telling the second one? Yeah, not funny. Stern telling that joke? Funny! I know a lot of people find that hypocritical, but one blinks the “Fuck you, asshole” response in me and the other doesn’t.

Joke 1 would be 0 offensive to me, but I might avoid using it with people I don’t know.
Joke 2 would be a 10 in offensiveness.

Now then this joke

What’s the difference between a pizza and a Scotsman : pizza doesn’t scream when you put it in the oven.

Wouldn’t be offensive, but would putting it in the “Jokes told wrongly” thread be offensive?

The history of the holocaust is still quite fresh. Most of us have met and/or know jews. Hell, some of us are jews.

None of us have ever actually met Jesus. And lived. :slight_smile:

ShibbOleth, the difference is timing. One happened in recent memory. The other happened far two long ago for anyone to tell if the events really happened. There is some kind of quote to that effect.

FWIW, I rated the second joke as a 9, not a 10, because I wasn’t personally affected by the Holocaust, so it’s more sympathy than empathy. Kind of holding out a “it could be personally more distasteful” space, although what that could be doesn’t come to mind.

It’s fairly obvious in my mind why the first one is way less offensive than the second. My personal logic falls along these lines:

  1. A fair amount of people don’t believe that Jesus existed; just about everyone believes that Jews exist.
  2. A fair amount of people don’t believe Jesus was actually crucified; just about everyone believes that Jews were killed in the holocaust (I focus on that group, of course, because it’s the subject of the joke).
  3. Jesus’ crucifixion would have happened around 2000 years ago; the holocaust, around 60 years ago.
  4. Jesus was one guy killed; the Jews were millions of people killed.
  5. Jesus kind of wanted to be killed, in a sense; I doubt very many of the holocaust Jews wanted to be killed, in any sense.

That’s all I got, but those reasons are why it’s clear to me why the latter joke is more offensive.

I agree for the most part, but what makes the second joke funny is the disconnect between the nature of the joke, and the nature of the person telling the joke. A skinhead telling that joke would be offensive, because you know the guy telling the joke is a racist who really hates Jews. Howard Stern telling the joke wouldn’t be offensive, because you know Stern doesn’t hate Jews, but it would be especially funny, because Stern is known for saying outrageous things to get a reaction. Now if a Rabbi told that joke? It might possibly be the funniest thing I’ve ever heard in my life.

More german to the OP, I think the principle difference between the two jokes is that what happened to Jesus happened to just one guy. It’s specific, and doesn’t necessarily say anything about anyone other than Jesus. Even if you assume the person telling it has an animus against the subject of the joke, it’s still just one person that the joke teller doesn’t like. The second joke is general, and refers to anyone who died in the holocaust. It’s about a group, and listeners are naturally going to wonder if/assume that they or someone they know is included as part of that group. If the joke is taken to be representative of the personal feelings of the teller, than he appears to have a prejudice against an entire race of people, not just one person.

Er, that should be “germane,” not “german.” :smack: At least I caught “Rabbit” before I hit submit.

Perhaps also that Jesus is making the joke on himself. He’s in control, choosing to be crucified. The Jews, not so much.

I always flash on pictures of dead and starving children in the camps when I think of the Holocaust. Dead children are not funny, when it actually happened (and for a horrible reason at that). Dead baby jokes are a bit better because it’s an imagined child that never existed.

I also think context is important – in the 1st one, Jesus is joking about himself.

If we change the jokes so they become parallel, the Jesus joke gets more offensive:

Q. What’s the difference between a piece of plywood and Jesus Christ?

A. Plywood doesn’t scream when you nail it up.

Now its more offensive.

I agree. If Jesus was a certain kinda guy*, you could almost see him telling the joke, slapping his knee and saying, “I slay me.” Your change to the joke definitely makes it more offensive.

*Everyone knows someone like that–they think they are sooo funny and they just crack theselves right up (sometimes it’s me).

I agree with you. The first joke is kind of funny (I’d rate it maybe a 1 in offensiveness, just because there are a few people I wouldn’t tell it to), but the second one gets a 10 on the Offend-O-Meter. Not funny at all. Maybe because joking about death can be okay (not always, but sometimes), but joking about genocide is not funny, ever.

Joke 2 is just plain dumb. They were dead by oven time. They screamed in the gas chamber.

Sorry about that, folks.

To me, neither are offensive. They’re just jokes. Jokes are just words strung together in a certain order.

You, sir or madam, are my new best friend. You have caused me to hork vodka out my nose. And that’s not fun, although my sinuses will now be clear for a while.

It’s humor, folks. Nearly all humor is based in pain.

Someone else’s pain.

Folks with a healthy sense of humor have the ability to remove themselves as the object of the joke, and see the latent humor. Me, I’m part American Indian. I don’t find Indian jokes offensive…direct insults, yeah. Jokes, no. Funny is still funny.

I can’t agree. Shortly after the Bhopal disaster, my brother told some joke about which killed more Indians, Custer or Union Carbide. When he was through laughing by helpself, we reminded him that my sister, who was present, was married to an Indian,who fortunately wasn’t present.

At the time, I didn’t think it was humorous, and found it offensive, probably because it was too close to home. People use humor to cope with disasters – remember all the Challenger jokes? – but the families probably didn’t appreciate them. I did like the Challenger jokes, so it’s situational.

Quite possibly, one of the reasons for the big discrepancy is that joke #1 involves a mythological character, whereas joke #2 ties back to something that actually happened to real people.

Joke 1 is not offensive because it is a play on words. Joke 2 is offensive because it is trivializing an international tragedy. And it is not that funny. byomtoob’s joke is frikking hilarious, and I don’t find it very offensive. And gatopescado’s joke is still funny, even if offensive. Is there some sort of funny to offensive ratio? Can you get away with an offensive joke if it is funny enough?