The Joke of the Week Archive:

Q: How come we know the toothbrush was invented in West Virginia?
A: If it had been invented anywhere else it would have been called TEETH bursh!?

When Lindsay Lohan made bail, the judge ordered her to find a job until her case came up for review. She had heard Toys R Us was hiring seasonal help, but Lindsay had trouble filling out an on-line application since she couldn't find the "backwards R" key on her computer's keyboard.

Didja hear about that new Hindenburg perfume?
It's called "Eau de Humanity."

It has come to my attention that six out of seven dwarves are not Happy.

It seemed that the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Ptolemy very much valued education and upon elevation to the throne,  dedided to make an impromptu visit to one of Egypt's academies of higher learning. The academy's headmaster showed the him around the school. The Pharaoh was quite pleased as he made observational stops at classrooms where sciences such as astronomy, calculus, and philosophy were taught.
Naturally, no such trip would be complete without a stop at a class delving into the Egyptian science of "Embalming and Mummification." A pleased Ptolemy noticed various students, each working on a mummy, at different phases of the mummification process -- extracting the inner organs, perfecting airtight procedures, etc.
The Pharaoh then approached one student and inquired, "Tell me young neophyte, how are you progressing on your personal project?" to which the student replied,
"My mummy's done, Ptolemy!"
(inspired by Alice Rosengard)

Sometimes you just can't beat the classics:
 A man walks up to a beat cop in a fair-sized city and explains that he's being followed by a baby penguin. "I don't know what to do; the little fellow keeps following me," the man says.
Not wanting to fill out a report, the peace officer advises, "Take that penguin to the zoo."
A couple of days later, the cop sees the same man being followed by the same penguin and calls out, "Hey, you! I thought I told you to take that penguin to the zoo!"
"I did..." replied the civilian, and, after a brief pause, says, "...Today I'm taking him to the movies!

"Q: What you do when you see a spaceman?
A: You park, man!
Q: Why did John McCain choose an Alaskan as his running mate?
A: After having been in one savings-and-loan scandal, he wanted to deal with something that had "Fair-banks" for a change. (And Juneau it!)

This is one of my friend Melanie's favourite Jokes:
 Q: What do you say to a discouraged angle?
A: "Try, angle."
Didja hear about the merger between Leica Cameras and Virgin MegaStores?
It'll now be called "Leica Virgin."

Without going into too many preliminaries, Disney's live-action of "Underdog" has proven to be a, er, a "dog." As charming as he is on the TV sitcom "My Name Is Earl," Jason Lee, who provides the voice of the new Underdog, is just no Wally Cox.
On TV, Lee's "Earl Hickey" character is obsessed with the concept of "karma." Maybe with him doing the voice of "Underdog," that old bumper sticker slogan "MY KARMA RAN OVER MY DOGMA" has new meaning.

My friend Melanie, collector of jokebooks, shared with me the following from a 1957 tome in her collection:
Didja hear about the guy who carved pairs of dice from Ivory soap?
They're for floating crap games.

Didja hear about the new medication for diabetic Irishmen?
It's called "GlucaMorra."

To my surprise, one of my all-time favourite self-penned jokes has NEVER appeared on the "Joke of the Week." I'm bringing it up because I gave it to my friend Tom Batiuk, syndicated cartoonist of the comic strips "Crankshaft" and "Funky Winkerbean." The following joke is scheduled to appear this coming Saturday, 05-05-2007, in "Funky Winkerbean."
By way of qualification, a character in the on-going "Funky" storyline is having problems with an H.M.O.; hence:
Q: How many H.M.O. providers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: NONE....the lightbulb's tendency to burn out is a "pre-existing condition!"

Kitty Carlisle Hart's passing last week exemplified perfect timing. She died a few days shy of Earth Day...think of all the hairspray that never got used this past Sunday.

One-time actor/singer and professional celebrity Kitty Carlisle Hart died this past week at the age of 96.
In a related story, three hair-dye manufacturers have all filed for Chapter 11.

An analysand sends his psychoanalyst a postcard from the Bahamas. It read "Having a Wonderful Time.....WHY?"

Two muffins are baking in an oven. The first muffin exclaims, "Boy, is it getting hot in here." The second muffin responds, "Holy crap! A talking muffin!"

Two bees meet up at a chrysanthemum. One is wearing a yarmulke. The second bee asks, "Hey, what's with the yarmulke." The first bee responds, "Y'see, I don't want to mistaken for a Wasp."

I recently used the "Plastic Man" stamp from DC Comics Superheroes stamps series to mail in my cable-TV payment thinking it was quite apropos...being that before he obtained his powers of elasticity, Plastic Man started out as a thief.

I figured out why North Korea is causing so many problems lately...Because, unlike South Korea, North Korea doesn't have Seoul.

Famed basketball coach Red Auerbach died this past weekend (on 10-28-2006) and it was quite ironic that this was the weekend he died. After all, this was the weekend we set the clocks an "hour back!"


Another story from Talking Books:
The name of the old hymn "Onward, Christian Soldiers" came up in a narrative. The narratrix accidentally rendered it as "Onward, Christian Shoulders.." I posited, "Shoulders should be O.K.; after all, that song is about taking up arms."

A blonde was bragging about her knowledge of state capitals. She proudly says, "Go ahead, ask me, I know all of them." A friend says, "OK, what's the capital of Wisconsin ?" The blonde replies, "Oh, that's easy: W."

Didja hear about those new corduroy pillows?
They're making head lines.

Q: What happened to the guy who jumped through the screen door?
A: He strained himself.

A married couple were asleep when the phone rang at 2 in the morning. The very blonde wife picked up the phone, listened a moment and said "How should I know, that's 200 miles from here!" and hung up. The husband said, "Who was that?" The wife answered, "I don't know, some woman wanting to know if the coast is clear."

Q: How many Mel Gibson fans does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: Ten. One to screw it in and the other nine to deny it all ever happened.

Q: What did the haberdasher say to the epileptic?
A; What a wonderful fit.
[adapted from a joke in a 1945 jokebook in "The Melanie Aultman Collection"]

Q: How many people in Cincinnati does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: None! You're not allowed to say that word in Cincinnati.
[courtesy of my pal Steve Thompson, Covington KY]

Q: What's MTA?
A: A cash machine for dyslexics.
(This joke won't play too well outside of the New York City area where the Metropolitan Transit Authority runs the subways and buses, or in Boston where there is also an "MTA").

Q: What's 999?
A: The number of the dyslexic Beast.

Q: Why won't the Macy Department Store hire dyslexic Santa Clauses at Christmastime?
A: Because they usually end up at the YMCA.

My co-worker Betsey actually fell for this one:
"Did you know the word 'gullible' is not in the dictionary?"
You guessed it..she looked it up.

Q: What do you get when you cross holy water with Ex-Lax?
A: A religious movement.

A termite walks into a bar and asks, "Is the bar tender here?"

Two cows standing next to each other in a field, Bluebell says to Mary, "I was artificially inseminated this morning." "I don't believe you," said Mary. "It's true, no bull!" exclaimed Bluebell

A guy walks into a bar with a slab of asphalt under his arm and says: "A beer please, and one for the road."

A jumper cable walks into a bar. The bartender says, " OK, buddy, I'll serve you, but don't start anything."

Two TV aerials met on a roof, fall in love and got married. The ceremony wasn't much, but the reception was excellent.

Didya hear about the dyslexic on the Adkins Diet plan? He found out he couldn't lose any weight by cutting crabs out of his diet.

Didja hear Mr. Clean was in the hospital?
Yes...he has ammonia.
[courtesy of Walt Gollender]

Years ago, I was working at the famed Strand Book Store in New York City. A customer came in and asked if we had a complete set of Mark Twain.
"Oh, you want a Twain set?" I answered, "Wook in the wailwoad section."

I recently traded with a friend an e-mail in which I inadvertently misspelled the word "arsenic" as "arsenoc." My friend corrected me by asking if I were having vowel problems. I replied "Yeah, I'm having vowel problems...guess I better go for a semi-colonoscopy!"

Mr. Potato-Head's daughter had a maddening crush on ol' Tom Brokaw and was explaining to her dad that one day when she grew up, she was going to NYC in hopes of meeting her dreamboat andat Brokaw would one day ask her to marry him.
Mr. Potato-Head bellowed, "No daughter of mine is going to marry a 'common-tater' like him!"

Abbott & Costello in the 21st Century:

ABBOTT: Fry's Electronics. Can I help you?
COSTELLO: Thanks. I'm setting up a home office in the den, and I'm thinking of buying a computer.
COSTELLO: No, the name is Lou.
ABBOTT: Your computer?
COSTELLO: I don't own a computer. I want to buy one.
COSTELLO: I told you, my name is Lou.
ABBOTT: What about Windows?
COSTELLO: Why? Does it get stuffy?
ABBOTT: Do you want a computer with Windows?
COSTELLO: I don't know. What do I see when I look out the windows?
ABBOTT: Wallpaper.
COSTELLO: Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software.
ABBOTT: Software that runs on Windows?
COSTELLO: No, on the computer! I need something I can use to write proposals, track expenses. You know, run a business.
What have you got?
ABBOTT: Office.
COSTELLO: Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?
ABBOTT: I just did.
COSTELLO: You just did what?
ABBOTT: Recommended something.
COSTELLO: You recommended something?
COSTELLO: For my office?
COSTELLO: Okay, what did you recommend for my office?
ABBOTT: Office.
COSTELLO: Yes, for my office.
ABBOTT: Office for Windows.
COSTELLO: I already have an office and it already has windows! Let's say I'm sitting at my computer, and I want to type a proposal.
What do I need?
COSTELLO: If I'm writing a proposal, I'm going to need lots of words. But what program do I load?
COSTELLO: What word?
ABBOTT: The Word in Office.
COSTELLO: The only word in office is office.
ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.
COSTELLO: Which word in "office for windows?"
ABBOTT: The Word you get when you click the blue W.
COSTELLO: I'm going to click your big W if you don't give me a straight answer. Let's forget about words for a minute. What do I need if I want to watch a movie over the Internet?
ABBOTT: Real One.
COSTELLO: Maybe a real movie, maybe a cartoon. What I watch is none of your business. But what do I need to watch it?
ABBOTT: Real One.
COSTELLO: If it's a long movie I'll also want to watch reels two, three and four. Can I watch reel four?
ABBOTT: Of course.
COSTELLO: Great! With what?
ABBOTT: Real One.
COSTELLO: Okay, so I'm sitting at my computer and I want to watch a movie. What do I do?
ABBOTT: You click the blue 1.
COSTELLO: I click the blue one what?
ABBOTT: The blue 1.
COSTELLO: Is that different from the blue W?
ABBOTT: Of course it is. The blue 1 is Real One. The blue W is Word.
COSTELLO: What word?
ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.
COSTELLO: But there's three words in "office for windows!"
ABBOTT: No, just one. But it's the most popular Word in the world.
ABBOTT: Yes, although to be fair there aren't many other Words left. It pretty much wiped out all the other Words.
COSTELLO: And that word is the real one?
ABBOTT: No. Real One has nothing to do with Word. Real One isn't even part of Office.
COSTELLO: Never mind; I don't want to get started with that again. But I also need something for bank accounts, loans, and so on.
What do you have to help me track my money?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: That's right. What do you have?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: I need money to track my money?
ABBOTT: No, not really. It comes bundled with your computer.
COSTELLO: What comes bundled with my computer?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: Money comes bundled with my computer?
ABBOTT: Exactly. No extra charge.
COSTELLO: I get a bundle of money with my computer at no extra charge? How much money do I get?
ABBOTT: Just one copy.
COSTELLO: I get a copy of money. Isn't that illegal?
ABBOTT: No. We have a license from Microsoft to make copies of Money.
COSTELLO: Microsoft can license you to make money?
ABBOTT: Why not? They own it.
COSTELLO: Well, it's great that I'm going to get free money, but I'll still need to track it. Do you have anything for managing your money?
ABBOTT: Managing Your Money? That program disappeared years ago.
COSTELLO: Well, what do you sell in its place?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: You sell money?
ABBOTT: Of course. But if you buy a computer from us, you get it for free.
COSTELLO: That's all very wonderful, but I'll be running a business. Do you have any software for, you know, accounting?
ABBOTT: Simply Accounting.
COSTELLO: Probably, but it might get a little complicated.
ABBOTT: If you don't want Simply Accounting, you might try M.Y.O.B.
COSTELLO: M..Y.O.B.? What does that stand for?
ABBOTT: Mind Your Own Business.
COSTELLO: I beg your pardon?
ABBOTT: No, that would be I.B.Y.P. I said M.Y.O.B.
COSTELLO: Look, I just need to do some accounting for my home business. You know--accounting? You do it with money.
ABBOTT: Of course you can do accounting with Money. But you may need more.
COSTELLO: More money?
ABBOTT: More than Money. Money can't do everything.
COSTELLO: I don't need a sermon! Okay, let's forget about money for the moment. I'm worried that my computer might...what's the word? Crash. And if my computer crashes, what can I use to restore my data?
COSTELLO: Okay. I'm worried about my computer smashing and I need something to restore my data. What do you recommend?
COSTELLO: How many times do I have to repeat myself?
ABBOTT: I've never asked you to repeat yourself. All I said was GoBack.
COSTELLO: How can I go back if I haven't even been anywhere? Okay, I'll go back. What do I need to write a proposal?
COSTELLO: But I'll need lots of words to write a proposal.
ABBOTT: No, you only need one Word-the Word in Office for Windows.
COSTELLO: But there's three words in...Oh, never mind.
ABBOTT: Hello? Hello? Customers! Why do they always hang up on me? Oh, well. Fry's Electronics. Can I help you?

Tales from the Strand Underground:

From 1983 to 1985, I worked at the Strand Book Store, a famous large used bookstore in NYC known for its slogan "Eight Miles of Books." Here are some of my favourite stories from my reckless youth.

Being that I never got the message to set aside for a customer a German-language biography of Franz Liszt, the book accidentally got sold to somebody else. I had to tell the disappointed customer, "Looks like we're 'Liszt'-less."

An elderly woman came in and asked me "Excuse me, young man, does the name 'Benny Goodman' ring a bell to you?'
"No," replied I, "he plays a clarinet."

Another woman was profusely appreciative after I had helped her find a collection of Roald Dahl stories. She said, "Thank you ever so much. You're a doll."
"Yeah...just like Roald."

"Is 'Saki' filed under 'S' for 'Saki' or 'M' for 'H. H. Munro?" I asked a co-worker covering the fiction section.
"I'm not sure where Ben files it;" the helpful co-worker answered. "you'd better check both." After a brief pause, he added, "Oh, by the way, that's 'M-u-n-r-o,' not 'M-o-n-' like 'Marilyn Monroe."
"Hey, I know all about H.H. Munro and 'Saki.'" I protested. "My father used to read it to me."
"All my father ever did was drink it!"

If you've ever seen "The Lost Weekend," you'll remember that powerful scene where Ray Milland is plodding underneath the Third Avenue El (NYC colloquial for "elevated train tracks") looking for an open pawn shop where he can hock his typewriter in order to acquire drinking money.
Once at the Strand where author alphabetization is the order of the day, a manager asked me "Derek, would you show this gentleman where the 'L's' are?"
"I'd like to, but I think Robert Moses tore 'em all down."

A co-worker once told me a customer asked him where the self-help section was located. "I'd tell you, but I think that would be defeating the purpose."


Recently, the prestigious Stratford Shakespeare Company from Ontario performed a production of "King Lear" starring Christopher Plummer at NYC's Lincoln Center. When I had heard that this four hour-plus"Lear" was only being scheduled for five performances a week rather than the customary eight due to it being so massive a production to mount, I commented "Well, you know how hard it is to schedule a Plummer!"

My friend Laura Leff, president of IJBFC, the International Jack Benny Fan Club, told me this anecdote about the time she was at a friend's sister's house for a Passover seder.
"...[T]he youngest boy was complaining about his tooth. I said, "Well that's in keeping with the spirit of the holiday." "What do you mean?" he asks. I said, "You're a slave to your pain." He replied, "I'm not a slave to it."

I said, "Okay, then you're an indentured servant."

--Laura Leff
President, IJBFC


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