As with most kids, teaching or explaining humor, particularly grown-up jokes, is a challenge. Our little goddess, though, at least began to recognize (and use) sarcasm early. Must be genetic. One of the first big words I learned from my mom was facetious and as you might guess, she used sarcasm often. I got bad pun-making from my dad.
One of the earliest “good” jokes my girl finally learned (a couple years ago now, I think) was:
Why did the cookie go to the doctor?
… I don’t know. Why?…
… Because he was feeling crummy!
Get it? Crummy? Crumb-y? Cookies crumble…Heh he hee…. Yeah, you’re all grown-ups; you figured it out.
For a while, she’d tell that joke between three and 10 times a day. You think that Larry the Cable Guy and Lisa Lampanelli know how to wear out a routine and drive it so deeply in the ground that the funeral services have to be held in China? Well, they ain’t got nuthin’ on my girl!
Anyway, for a year or more now, the wee one has been trying to craft her own jokes. Knock-knock jokes, punchline jokes, puns…you name it. Not with much success, mind you. They almost never make any sense.
But just yesterday, in the car:
Daddy, why did the peanut go to the doctor?
… I don’t know, Honey. Why? …
…He was feeling nutty!
By the way, my wife figured it out a split-second before our girl actually spit out the punchline, so kudos to her. But, at last, my daughter has made a legitimate joke. Also, even more to her credit (and astuteness), our girl realized there was a slight flaw in her joke, and noted she probably should have said therapist instead of doctor. For what it’s worth, I also suggested that using almond or pecan might work better, as they don’t have nut in their name and would be less likely to give the punchline away.
Just wait until we hit the road with a polished routine. We’ll be a hit in the dinner clubs in Florida that are filled with retirees, and whomever is still alive in the borscht-belt circuit, I bet.