STAND-UP comedian Lenny Bruce would read transcripts of his obscenity trials towards the end of his career. It was embarrassing rather than funny. Literary jokes are thin in the air.
“J. K. Rowling is writing a contemporary adult novel; what’s that all about?” is not in the comedic handbook as the intro to a gig. Yet, with so many funny books out there, the world of literature should be a fertile field of frivolity.
Let us see if we can create a few immortal literary jokes – even a few timely ones will do.
This one is supposedly true though I have embellished it to a joke format. American artist James Whistler is holding a dinner party in London in honour of his mother Anna. Among the guests are French writer Guy du Maupassant and Irishman Oscar Wilde. Du Maupassant delivers a bon mot before dessert. “I wish I said that,’’ Oscar Wilde says. Whistler replies, “You will Oscar. You will.”
A very old man knocks on heaven’s doors. From the other side St Peter growls, “We’re closed; come back tomorrow.’’ The old man wearily protests he has been looking everywhere for his son. St Peter asks what is his son’s name. The old man replies, “I don’t know what name he goes by now but he has nails in his hands and his feet. The gates open wide as St Peter says, “Jesus, get out here, someone to see you.” Jesus rushes out to embrace the old man. “Father,” he says. The old man warmly returns the embrace. “Pinocchio,” he says.
An apostrophe, a semicolon and a hyphen walk into a bar. That is all I have.
How does this joke end? You tell me. Send me the ending or a literary joke you know. Respond here or email firstname.lastname@example.orgYour joke will be available for publication, so please supply a name of some sort.
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