Joke’s on you

A discussion of different jokes and different people

I am generally considered to be a pretty funny person. I frequently cause entire rooms to burst into uncontrollable laughter. My fans subsequently beg me to repeat my jokes. Basically, I am the Jerry Seinfeld of our generation.


Normally, my joke-telling experience goes as follows. I am in a room full of people. I make a comment I think will be hilarious, and — if I am lucky — one person will appreciate it and laugh for about a second. But more likely than not, my comment will either go unnoticed, or I will continue to be the only one laughing — inevitably left to make fun of my lacking talent.

There are many different types of jokes: the practical joke, the inside joke, the corny joke, the pun, the knock-knock joke. As an English major who loves to play with words, puns are my favorite. They are so simple, yet so wonderful — and I can actually sometimes pull them off.

(P.S. Did you hear about the guy who got hit in the head with a can of soda? He was lucky it was a soft drink!)

My dad, who is well known for his elaborate storytelling, prefers long stories with a clear punch line. I have to hand it to him — it’s a solid strategy. Once you have invested time and effort into telling a story which leads up to the punch line, people really have no choice but to laugh. It is common courtesy to at least muster up a giggle after someone has dedicated five minutes to your amusement.

Then there is the good ole inside joke — a favorite for my middle school self. There is something about an inside joke that is just so exclusive — which is why I think they are so prevalent among 12- to 15-year-old girls. Never underestimate the punch packed in, “Oh, you think I’m not cool enough for you because of my rainbow braces? Well sorry, you aren’t going to understand the hilarious joke I am about to make.”

But aside from this cynical reading of humor, jokes are a great way to capture memories and recreate old times. Because let’s face it — these things, unlike sweaters, never get old (sorry, inside joke).

The knock-knock joke is a childhood staple always fun to revisit. Classics like, “Knock knock — Who’s there? — Boo — Boo hoo? — Aw, why are you crying?” will always have a soft spot in my heart. The only question I have is who developed this format, and just how it became so popular. Did it originate with someone actually knocking on doors? These are the types of things I should be learning in college.

Then there is the practical joke — the most risky of all jokes, but so full of hilarious potential. This one is for the daredevils. Some practical jokes are borderline unacceptable, risking either safety, emotional stability or both. But some are harmless and flat out hilarious.

The most amusing practical joke I was ever a part of was when my family decided to put those giant obnoxious blow-up Christmas decorations in our friends’ yard without their knowledge. We got up around 3 a.m., dressed in all black for added stealth, unloaded the giant Santa-on-a-motorcycle from our car, plugged it in and made a run for it. We did this for two years in a row, but they never found out who it was — and hopefully they aren’t reading this column.

There are many different jokes for many different people, so find one best suited for you this April Fools’ Day. Go forth and cause some laughter — even if it is just you laughing at yourself.

Kelly’s column runs biweekly Tuesdays. She can be reached at

Published March 31, 2014 in Life

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