Humour Archive

Scraps of humour research presented here for your consumption. Comments welcome.

Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Cherished Fart Joke

This post is inspired by an email I received form by beloved AJ, the image of which I include here:
You find me asking the question 'Why?'.

Why do we find farts so funny? Are they funny because everybody does them? Are they funnier when committed by someone famous or held in high esteem, a respected member of the community?

This is not restricted to an 'uptight' British attitude. When wayang kulit (Javanese shadow puppets) stories are told, the puppeteer creates humour by making prince Arjuna fart.

It seems finding humour in the bodily functions of our royals is not restricted to one culture. Is this something that all people can share? Laughter across cultures at our 'superiors'?

A crude action coming from a refined person - is it the incongruity that makes us laugh? - That something just doesn't fit with our expectations of the world? Royals don't fart. Neither do they pick thier noses, or wipe their arses!

Does it bring 'them' down to 'our' level? Is it the recognition that no matter your status in life, we're all biologically the same?

Monday, July 24, 2006

Surrealist or just plain nonsense?

Irregardless [sic] of whether this is 'surreal' or not, I thought I'd include this (though it could be classed simple as nonsense humour, seeing as everything is grammatical and it doesn't mess with your head quite so much as the previous surreal riddles):

There are two penguins on an ice floe, drifting north into warmer waters. These penguins are very fond of each other, but they don’t speak English very well. Suddenly, with a terrific crack, the ice floe splits in half, right between the penguins. As they begin drifting apart, one penguin sadly waves a flipper and calls out, “Chocolate milk!”
An interesting discussion of how and why people do/don't get this joke

'Surreal' Penguin joke (boardering on the unfunny, sorry) was alluded to in the comment discussion of the previous penguin joke. I find it reminiscent of the 'Where's the soap?' joke (except without the R-rated pun hidden in the quishy centre):
There were two penguins in the shower. One asks the other, "Could you hand me the soap?" The second one replies, "No soap, radio."

Maybe there's something about penguins than inspires nonsense...

In other news, some of my recent reading for my thesis - an essay on the humour of Zen Buddhism, would you believe? - has lead me to recall some Alice (which again boarders on surreal/nonsense; and is only paraphrased here):

The dilemma of beheading the Cheshire Cat:
Executioner: "You can't cut off a head unless there is a body to cut it off from"
King: "Anything that has a head can be beheaded"
Queen: "If something isn't done about it in less than no time, I'll have everybody executed!"
(how does this fit in to a discussion of Zen humour? - God only knows!)

At another point in the story, at the Mad Hatter's Tea Party, Alice is offered more tea:
Alice: "I haven't had any tea, how can I have more of nothing?"

Apologies for the paraphrasing but I don't have an Alice book to hand. I urge you to read the original (or listen to it).

Friday, July 21, 2006

Surrealist Riddles

Or that's what they're called according to G is for Grant (where more riddles of a similar vein can be found).

Here are two with which my Dad used to confuse me many moons ago. Perhaps it was my father's love of Goon Show antics that has warped my sense of humour.

Something in me just urges me on to present to you more chucklesome goodies at which no one but me will laugh:

Q: Why is a mouse when it's spinning?
A: The higher the fewer, but some don't.

Q: What's the difference between a duck?
A: One leg's both the same.

Why do I insist on presenting these jokes to you? Nonsense humour - it's my bag baby.

Meanwhile, for those of you who believe in telekinesis - Raise my hand.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Ruling Class Say the Darndest Things

Moi marster, Marster, dassn't understand anything Oi say. Larst woik Oi was mucking out the stables an' Oi says to Marster, "Eee, Marster, dithent ee bampster oi beckon ray deen!" An' 'e says, "wot?", an Oi says, "Dithent ee bampster oi beckon ray deen!" An' 'e says, "Oi dassn't understan' ye." So Oi bampstered 'is beckon ray and the deen is baffin, an' withern sooie bamperstoul am prackser im prathen!

By David Nichols. Big Issue no.233, p.41

While browsing through the Big Issue last year I came across this nonsense gem. Being a linguist, it made me chuckle more than slightly. Upon showing it to my mother and sister, I got very little response. Unperturbed, I went ahead and published it on onlycoolppl - not a sausage. No one seemed to find it as funny as I.

So I put these questions to you:
Is nonsense funny?
Does humour have to have a point?
Even in the above mish-mash of Englishesque silliness, the linguist in me finds some vague point....Is it just language nerds that appreciate this humour? (or is it just me? - AJ, fellow language nerd - you'll be able to offer some insight here!)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


PHONE 123 456

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Cartoons as Blasphemy

In his article, Open Debate: The Righteousness of Blasphemy, Peter Fosl argues the importance of blasphemy as a legitimate form of expression. He comments that 'transgressive cartoons, ridicule, humour, and even swearing' can be used as blasphemic devices.

I am including here links to a couple of cartoons I've found using humour and religion. Whether they are combining these two to be blasphemous....I'll leave it to you, the reader, to decide. Bear in mind, however, that some people have been offended by these cartoons, though there is no intent to offend by my linking them here.

The Second Coming
This cartoon is by Brendan Powell Smith, also the creator of the Brick Testament. This cartoon stars Jesus, God (who looks like a close relative of Mr. Potatohead), Brendan Powell Smith, along with some other characters. I have also linked to this page in the side bar for easier access later.

Jesus and Mo
I found this site a while ago when I was researching Mohammed cartoons (we all remember the scandal when the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published cartoons of Mohammed [NB. there are images of Mohammed on this link]). I find some of these cartoons funny, some quite crude/borderline offensive. The first cartoon was particularly poignant to the issue at hand.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Are you a Pastafarian or a Legologist?

My attention has recently been drawn to two humorous takes on religion. Most recently, The Brick Testament (thanks AJ); and to The Flying Spaghetti Monster, (thanks Dean).

The Brick Testament
This is a series of still shots depicting Bible scenes. The pictures are entirely LEGO. According to Wikipedia (a most respected and almost wholey accturate virtual-tome), these pictures have been embraced by the religious believers 'who often use its material for evangelical and instructional purposes' and also non-believers 'who view The Brick Testament as pointing out what they consider to be absurdities in the Bible'. The images are created by Brendan Powell Smith, who, according to wiki, is no longer religious , but is on the website referred to as The Rev. Brendan Powell Smith [sic]. Is this a serious take on religion? Seeing as it's creator is also responsible for the short film 'Vendetta: A Christmas Story', methinks not. The image of Genesis 3:21 caused much amusement between Erica and myself: consider the horse in the background when you read the caption.

The Flying Spaghetti Monster
Many of you have probably alread hear of this, but if you haven't, then surf on over and be touched by his noodly appendage. It is basically a reaction against the pro-Intelligent Design talk that has been floating around government education departments over the last year or so. It was founded in 2005 by a guy called Bobby Henderson (thanks wiki). It not only has a logo, Tshirts, mugs and other parafernalia, as well as artistic imagery, but also it's own Gospel.