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A short list of my favorite jokes

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Most recent update:

Introduction | International Unit of Measurement | Religion
Dysfunctional Parenting | Bookstore | Interview
Enthusiasm | Energy | Good News, Bad News
Mistaken | Jewish Joke | Defective Chainsaw
Colors | Math Trick | Total Recall
Lunar One-Liner | Physics Joke | Marriage

(double-click any word to see its definition)


As I have gotten older, I find that fewer jokes seem particularly funny or seem worth remembering, and with rare exception standup comics seem much less funny now that they did decades ago. I haven't decided if this is because my tastes have changed, or because standup comedy has become such an industry that simply being funny has slipped down the priority list. But a handful of jokes stand the test of time.

This page lists the jokes I find myself telling again and again to diverse audiences, with good results (meaning if a joke falls flat, it drops off my personal list). I'm assembling this list to share my favorites, but also to keep me from forgetting some pretty good jokes.

International Unit of Measurement

Source: unknown.

The international unit of female beauty is the milliHelen. It takes one milliHelen to launch one ship.


Source: original.

A dedicated churchgoer discovers there are 100 churches in his town, so he decides to explore. On Sunday he enters a random church, takes a seat, and asks his neighbor, "What denomination is this church?" His neighbor replies, "Most people give five dollars."

Dysfunctional Parenting

Source: original.

Daughter runs into the kitchen and says, "I wish I was dead!"

Mother says, "No, no, dear — you must never say that!"

Daughter: "Why not?"

Mother: "Because it's "I wish I were dead."


Source: original.

In the local bookstore, a sign reads: "'The Tragedy of Illiteracy' ... now available as an audiobook."


Source: original.

An interviewer for the college radio station moves across campus, asking students a question and pushing a microphone in their faces.

  • Interviewer: "What's the biggest problem in your life — ignorance, apathy, or isolation?"
  • Student: "I don't know, I don't care, leave me alone!"

Source: original.

The world's greatest real estate agent visits a "distressed" property. It's pretty disgusting. Inside the house, it smells as though there are mushrooms growing in the walls. The agent holds a handkerchief to his face and runs outside.

Later, in his office, his fingers hover over the keyboard as he tries to think of a way to describe the property. After a pregnant pause, he types, "Breathtaking!"


Source: unknown.

The world's greatest lumberjack comes into a bar. He says, "I'm the greatest lumberjack who ever lived — in fact, I'm the guy who singlehandedly logged the Sahara Forest!"

One of the patrons asks, "Don't you mean the Sahara Desert?"

He replies, "Yeah ... now!"

Good News, Bad News

Source: The movie "Tin Men", Richard Dreyfuss and others.

A doctor calls his patient.

  • Doctor: "Mr. Jones, I have some good news and some bad news."
  • Patient: "Yipes ... okay, tell me the good news first."
  • Doctor: "You have 24 hours to live."
  • Patient: "Whoa, wait, I have 24 hours to live and that's the good news? What's the bad news?"
  • Doctor: "I forgot to call you yesterday."

Source: The movie "Aliens", Sigourney Weaver and others.

A female soldier is working out in a gym. She's very fit and looks great. A guy walks up to her and says, "Are you ever mistaken for a man?" She replies, "No ... how about you?"

Jewish Joke

(Yes, they're different enough to merit a separate category.)

Source: unknown/traditional.

For his birthday, a mother gives her son two ties.

When she sees him again, he's wearing one of the ties.

She says, "You didn't like the other one?"

Defective Chainsaw

Source: unknown.

Elderly Mr. Jones isn't happy with his new chainsaw. He takes it to the hardware store.

  • Jones: "I bought this chainsaw the other day, it's supposed to be able to cut four cords of wood a day, but no matter how hard I try, I can't cut more than a cord and a half. Something's wrong!"
  • Manager: "Mr. Jones, you're one of our most loyal customers, we certainly don't want you to be unhappy. Let's check it out."
  • The manager takes the chainsaw into the workshop, pulls the starting rope and begins cutting a test log.
  • Jones: "Wait ... what's that noise?"

Source: (1) original, (2,3) unknown.

Q: What's Robinson Crusoe's favorite color?
A: Maroon.

Q: What is a fortuneteller's favorite color?
A: Unforeseeable Fuchsia.

Q: What's the color of the dress worn by a 13-year-old girl?
A: Statutory Grape.

Math Trick

Source: A book by Simon Singh, "The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets", highly recommended. A slightly changed version of the original joke.

Two academics, Albert and Bill, are sitting in a bar waiting for their friend Charlie.

  • Albert: "Charlie thinks women don't know any math, he might be right, but I want to play a trick." Albert calls the waitress over.
  • Albert: "Delia, my friend Charlie is going to arrive in a bit, and I want to play a trick. When he arrives, I'm going to ask you a question, and I want you to answer, 'X cubed divided by three.' Can you remember that?"
  • Delia: "Sure, no problem, I can remember that."
  • Charlie arrives and Albert raises his favorite topic.
  • Albert: "I think you're wrong, I think women can learn math. Just as a test, let's ask the waitress a math question." Albert calls Delia over.
  • Albert: "What's the integral of x squared, derived with respect to x?"
  • Delia: "Umm, that would be ... x cubed divided by three ... plus a constant."
Total Recall
Source: unknown.

The kids at my high school were really dumb. How dumb, you ask? Well, an example — the smartest kid in my school arrived one day and announced that, after an intense two-week effort, he had memorized the capitals of all 48 states (yes, I really am that old). "Test me," he challenged. So I asked, "What's the capital of Wyoming?" He began to think really hard. His face got all distorted and his hands twisted and jerked as though finding their way through an extradimensional intellectual landscape. Then he stopped and proudly announced, "W! W is the capital of Wyoming!"

That was the smartest kid.

Lunar One-Liner

Source: unknown.

Did you hear about the restaurant on the moon? Great food, no atmosphere.

Physics Joke

Source: unknown.

Never trust anything an atom says — atoms make up everything.


Source: unknown.

A group of scientists published a large multi-year marriage study and concluded that married people live longer than single people. Critics pointed out that the study relied too much on self-reporting, so the authors reworked their study to use birth and death records instead. They found out that married people don't actually live longer ... it just seems longer.

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