August 20, 2008

“So, do dogs tell jokes?”

—Oh sure, all the time. We love jokes. In fact, in my humble opinion, dogs are probably the funniest species on the planet.

“I wouldn’t argue with that, you’re pretty darn goofy.”

—Ha, ha.

“Okay, tell me a dog joke.”

—Here’s a classic: why did the cat cross the road?

“I don’t know, why did the cat cross the road?”

—The chicken.

“What?”

—The chicken.

“That’s the joke?”

—Hilarious, isn’t it?

“Uh, not really. The punchline doesn’t make much sense.”

—Too subtle for you, I suppose.

“Subtle? It’s just . . . nothing.”

—Look, it’s a well-known fact that cats are afraid of chickens.

“They are?”

—Absolutely. So, obviously, the cat’s going to cross the road to escape the chicken. Now, if the punchline was: Because the cat was afraid of the chicken, it would be a bit too blatant.

“If you say so.”

—All right, here’s a less subtle variation on that joke: why did the cat cross the road?

“I don’t know: why did the cat cross the road?”

—Because cats are stupid.

“Hey, your leg is doing that pumping thing like when I rub your special spot.”

—Yeah, I just love that joke, it cracks me up every time.

“So, dogs laugh by pumping their hind legs?”

—That’s one way.

“Interesting.”

—Here’s another one: A cat goes into a bar and asks for a saucer of milk. And the bartender says, Hey, you stupid cat, this is a bar, not a dairy farm. And the cat says, Boy, do I feel stupid. And the bartender says, That’s because you’re a stupid cat.

“Um, doesn’t that joke sort of violate the whole subtlety thing?”

—No, not at all: the subtlety in that joke has to do with the precise timing of the repetition of the main point.

“That cats are stupid.”

—Yes.

“Are all dog jokes about cats?”

—Many of them are. There are some human jokes, but I won’t tell you any of those: it’s clear that your sense of humor is not that refined, and you might be insulted.

“And you wouldn’t want to insult the hand that feeds you.”

—That, too.

“Well, I’m insulted that you think I might be insulted.”

—Does this mean I don’t get a biscuit?