Jokes that, nowadays, need explaining

I also feel people accidentally going to nude beaches was a sitcom/comedy movie plot I saw far too often back in the 80’s, I also assume nude beaches were far more common back then?

There is the other trope that a surgeon thinks that they are the best and wouldn’t let anybody else operate because they are the best chance that the person will live.

And there’s the other side. My classmate died of a heart attack. Her father was a cardiac surgeon. If he could have done something, he would have.

We were in Paris with friends who had a 2-year-old daughter. The waiters all catered to her. One even quacked at her. They all had pride in their work and were happy to answer questions about the food, despite our poor French skills.

To be clear, it’s not the server’s tip. The waiters are paid a living wage and are professionals, not just working until they can find something better. Kowtowing waiters is usually considered annoying, by anyone outside of the U.S.

OK, but “ordering something that you have no idea what it is” — which happens in real life, and of course there is no guarantee you will not be surprised by the results — and being “intimidated” into ordering something is not quite the same thing. After all, nobody forced you to walk into the place.

Tempted or cajoled, sure:

MAÎTRE D: And finally, monsieur, a wafer-thin mint.


MAÎTRE D: Oh, sir, it’s only a tiny, little, thin one.

MR. CREOSOTE: No. Fuck off. I’m full.

MAÎTRE D: Oh, sir. Hmm?

MR. CREOSOTE: [groan]

MAÎTRE D: It’s only wafer thin.

MR. CREOSOTE: Look. I couldn’t eat another thing. I’m absolutely stuffed. Bugger off.

MAÎTRE D: Oh, sir, just-- just one.

MR. CREOSOTE: [groaning] All right. Just one.

MAÎTRE D: Just the one, monsieur. Voilà.

MR. CREOSOTE: [groaning]

MAÎTRE D: Bon appétit.

They’re probably slightly more common now. In any case, the idea of them was so far out of mainstream American thinking, that they were a ripe subject for comedy.

I invite you to read again what I actually wrote. Beyond that, there’s no point in continuing this exchange with you.

Huh? Anchovies on pizza is still very much a thing. I ordered a pizza with anchovies a couple weeks ago (well, anchovies on half because my wife hates them).

What’s the name of the Mexican phone company? Taco Bell.

Back when most people had a local phone company with the name ‘Bell’ in it.

There aren’t very many store clerks anymore that are going to reply in the affirmative about the availability of Prince Albert in a can.

What is this a reference to? Other than Catch-22.

“Catch-22” didn’t mean anything. prior to the book of the same title. In fact, the original manuscript called it “catch-18”.

What do you call an abortion in Czechoslovakia?
A cancelled Czech.
~Unknown Comic, Gong Show, circa 1977.

Czechoslovokia no longer exists…could update to “Czech Republic,” I guess. But people don’t write nearly as many checks as they once did.

In the "what joke will they not understand in the future?’ vein, it’s not a setup/punchline joke but…

Mrs. L was in the grocery and a young (11?) boy was on the phone, talking to a friend. He grew agitated and said, “Don’t come for me, Karen!”

If anybody found conclusive evidence as to why “Karen” became this whole phenom, great. But maybe we won’t be able to explain in the future.

There’s also that notion that if you took a Radio Shack ad from 1978, everything they had on sale in a given week is on your smart phone. Alarm clock, calculator, voice recorder… things become more automated the stand alone item will be less known. Someone posted on Facebook about a kid visiting grandma and trying to figure out how we texted from a rotary dial phone.

Thanks, @Didi44.

Were smoked oyster, Louisiana shrimp, and sardines also surprisingly common?

I don’t think I’ve ever seen an actual pizza with anchovies on it. I can’t remember the last time I saw anchovies on a menu, though I’m pretty sure I have at some time.

Given how regional pizza can be, I wonder if anchovies are more of a thing in some parts of the country than in others. Or if they’re something you’re more likely to find at an “authentic” Italian place.

I agree. It has nothing to do with how common they are or were, but rather that the idea is no longer as shocking as it was.

I recently watched an episode of the Burns and Allen show in which the absurd premise was that Gracie wanted to open a bank account in her own name. (Well, it probably wouldn’t have been a good idea in that case, but not because she was a woman.)

Faster than an Ethiopian chicken.

What do you get if you cross a rooster with a Bell telephone pole?

A 30-foot cock that wants to reach out and touch someone.

The Sneed’s Feed and Seed joke usually needs to be explained to someone.

I saw a movie long ago with a joke I remember, but I remember absolutely nothing else about it. The Voice of God (IIRC) says something along the lines of 'Who [performed this miracle]? Who [performed this miracle]? And who’ll stop the rain?

But it needed explaining at the time it was made. It isn’t an example of something that became more obscure with time.

Shakey’s is still very regional. From my perspective, the hatred of anchovies was far more common than the availability of anchovies on pizza. Most of the kids I knew who said they hated anchovies turned out never to have actually had anchovies on a pizza.

You seem to be quibbling over the exact phrasing of the trope. The trope that French cuisine is haughty has existed for more than a century and is very, very common.

In movies and TV, characters are intimidated into ordering because they don’t want to look unsophisticated in front of their date or boss or wealthier friends.

Whether or not actual French waiters are like this is irrelevant to the joke, because that’s the established stereotype. It’s like disputing that the stereotype exists because you know a German butcher who doesn’t have a handlebar moustache, or an Italian pizza-parlor owner who doesn’t talk with his hands.