Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Greatest Joke in the World

There’s this old Monty Python sketch about a joke that was created during WWII, that was so powerful and so funny that as soon as the guy finished writing it, he died laughing.

Naturally, the British Government felt that this joke would be a powerful weapon to use again the Axis powers. So they decided to have it translated into German. It took translators weeks to do it because they had to work in shifts. A person could only translate a few words at a time for fear of being overwhelmed by the sheer hilarity of the joke. One guy had to go to the hospital because he accidentally translated four words.

Once the joke was finally translated, copies were given to British soldiers who didn’t understand German, to read aloud during battles. Instead of firing their rifles, the soldiers would simply advance while reciting the joke at the top of their lungs. Everywhere they went, German soldiers would fall, dead.

Of course the Germans tried to develop their own joke, but failed miserably. Just as they have done with everything besides beer, cars and shiza porn.

I’ve always wondered just what that joke was that made people die laughing. If such a joke were to exist, what could it possibly be about? What type of joke is it? Is it about some sort of wacky person walking into a bar?* Perhaps some sort of limerick? Maybe a dirty joke unfit for mixed company? Or was it a knock-knock joke? (Which I doubt, because those are never funny.) Was it a dead baby joke? Maybe something simpler, like a clever play on words, a pun or some other bon mot or turn of phrase. You know, a more cerebral joke, dry humor for a more sophisticated palette.

Though, I doubt it’d be something cerebral. It’d have to appeal to everybody. Kind of like a Lowest Common Denomination thing. Which, when you think about it is even harder to create. It’s got to appeal to the upper class, the lower class and everything in between, (ummm, the middle class?). Republicans have to find it funny. (Which means it can’t be about the government, or patriotism, or abortions, cause they seem to be sensitive about that stuff.) Democrats have to find it funny, (which means it can’t be about anything racist or sexist or involve cute, little puppies.) It must be found equally humorous to Catholics and Jews, meaning it can’t be about pedophile priests or the Holocaust respectively. If you want all the races to enjoy a chuckle, it can’t be about lynchings, stupidity, the eating of cats, rednecks, illegally crossing international borders, or any racial slurs.

As you can see, that’s a hella long list. Which just goes to show you how easily offended everybody is by just about everything. So basically, all that leaves us with, internationally, is making fun of the French. Which is something we can all enjoy together, (except for the French, but they don’t count.**) But that’s too easy, everybody’s made fun of the French. Just like blond jokes and Michael Jackson jokes, jokes about the French are trite and no longer funny to anybody.

So what does that leave us with? Only stuff that’s inoffensive to anybody.

Which isn’t very much:

• Wood
• The weather
• Bugs
• The color fucia
• Drapes
• Water
• Toenails

That’s a pretty lame list. I can’t think of how to make a joke out of any of that stuff, (except maybe toenails.)

Maybe I’m looking at this the wrong way. Maybe the joke is so overly offensive that nobody takes it seriously, and nobody gets pissed. In which case it could be about almost anything.

What is the funniest joke you’ve ever heard?

* Which makes me wonder, do bartenders really see that many priests, bears, pieces of rope, grasshoppers, etc, walk into bars? Are they good tippers?

**I kid the French! One of my best friends is French and I’ve known him for over 20 years. He seems pretty decent. I mean, I think I would have noticed anything untoward by now.

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