Humour Archive

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

Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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).


Anonymous Hooch said...

Stickler for 'correct English' as I am, I feel obliged to point out to anyone who is unaware that 'irregardless' IS NOT A WORD!

There is 'irrespective' and 'regardless', and never the twain shall meet! (Well, sometimes the twain do meet - but only under the cringing scrutinous eyes of sticklers like my self, and only at the hands of 'inequivocable' cretins who deem themselves 'supposably' 'edumacated')

5:30 pm  
Blogger TimT said...

Penguins famously featured in the title of the try-hard Australian surrealist poetry movement, Angry Penguins. I once worked in a reference to the angry penguins in a poem - it's on my blog - that started this way:

The little blue bird of happiness
Sits in my garden bed
I think I'll take my 44
And shoot the blighter dead ...

The penguins came a few stanzas later:

Then the penguin of cold fury,
And the slightly sadist gull
Will come with evil gleaming eyes
And nest within my skull ...

For some reason, I love amputation humour ... decapitations, chopping hands or other limbs off - it's all hilarious to me. (Any Zen amputation jokes???) I tried a new variation on that Cheshire cat 'off with its head' joke in a recent short story I wrote ... may publish it some time.

11:10 pm  
Anonymous Hooch said...

"Any Zen amputation jokes???" - not that I've come across, but it's surprising what you can find out there.

Can't say I'm particularly a fan of 'amputation humour'. I think it depends how removed from reality it is - the more removed the funnier.

11:19 am  
Blogger TimT said...

That's probably true. I find there's something fascinating about it. Maybe it's related to the way horror stories/films keep returning to the amputation theme. You know, 'The Claw!', or 'The Headless Horseman' (though God knows if I was headless, being hoarse would be the least of my worries ...) Or, of course, those disembodied heads in Futurama. What's with those?

3:13 pm  
Anonymous Hooch said...

First time I saw those was the Beastie Boys episode. It cracked me up.

I would say that 'spoof horror' definately exploits amputation humour. Perhaps it's the incongruity of something made light of which in reality would be really painful. For example, The Black Knight from Holy Grail: "it's a mere flesh wound" and "I've had worse!" - such blatantly unreal claims. Then there's the fact that King Arthur takes the knight's wounds more seriously than the knight himself. So we laugh at Arthur for being so serious, and at the knight for feeling no pain in what would realistically be very painful cercumstances.

Slapstick lies in a similar vein, I think.

5:03 pm  
Blogger AJ said...

They're called "heads in jars":

I've got my eye on you, or should I say lens?

9:57 pm  

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