What's funny? What isn't? And why do I never get a laugh when I tell that joke about the moose?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Remember Elephant Jokes?

Q: What do you get when you cross an elephant with peanut butter?
A: An elephant that sticks to the roof of your mouth.

Ahh, elephant jokes. Silly, childish, repetitive...and everybody loves them.

Q: How do you get an elephant in a palm tree?
A: Sit it on a coconut and wait 20 years.

The sheer repetition is part of the fun....just how long can you string out jokes about elephants?

Q: Why do elephants have flat feet?
A: From jumping out of palm trees.

The answer is: "A long time" especially if you can remember back to your childhood.

Q: Why shouldn't you walk in the jungle between two and four in the afternoon?
A: Because that's when elephants are jumping out of palm trees.

In fact, a lot of elephant jokes aren't actually about elephants at all...you can consider the elephant to be nothing more than "a silly joke delivery system."

Q: Why are pygmies so short?
A: Because they walked in the jungle between two and four in the afternoon.

When I was growing up, there was a book called "101 Elephant Jokes". I think I memorized that book, and I think I still remember most of them today.

Q: What do you find between an elephant's toes?
A: Slow running pygmies.

In any event, all of these jokes are from memory.

Q: How can you tell if there's an elephant hiding in your refrigerator?
A: You can see his footprints in the Jell-O

(By the way, if anybody knows if I can find a copy of that book, I'd be most grateful).

Q: Why are elephants big, grey and wrinkled?
A: Because if they were small, white and smooth, they'd be an aspirin.

Anyway, I can't even begin to explain my lasting affection for elephant jokes...

Q: What's the difference between an elephant and a grape?
A: They're both purple, except for the elephant.

In fact, you're probably an elephant joke fan, too. At the very least, you've snorted a time or two...maybe even a full out laugh.

Q: What did Tarzan say when he saw the elephants coming down the path?
A: "Here come the elephants coming down the path!"

I don't want to make this a competition like the limericks (which is still being won by Dr. Jay unopposed...) but if you'd like to post some elephant jokes, you're encouraged to do so.

Q: What did Jane say when she saw the elephants coming down the path?
A: Here come the grapes coming down the path! (she was colorblind)

Just for fun, though...no fair looking at the various elephant joke web sites out there (and there are an appalling number). Elephant jokes from memory, or make them up yourself!

Q: What time is it when an elephant sits on your fence?
A: Time to get a new fence!

On your mark, get set, go!


  1. What do you do with an elephant with three balls?

    Walk him and pitch to the giraffe!

  2. Q: What's grey on the inside and red and white on the outside?

    A: An inside-out elephant!

  3. Q: Why are elephant jokes funny?

    A: Because they aren't moose jokes!

  4. BTW, Amazon has several copies of the book for sale. Best review: "It is what it is."

  5. Q. A lawyer calls an elephant as a witness. What does the judge say?

    A. "What kind of joke is this?"

  6. Q: What did the elephant say after the car crash?

    A: "That wasn't funny."

  7. Q: Who wrote limericks about pachyderms?

    A: L. O'Fant.

    (I'll stop now.)

  8. No soap, radio.

    Q. How do you get four elephants in a Volkswagen?
    A. Two in the front seat, two in the back seat.

    Q. How do you get five elephants in a Volkswagen?
    A. Two in the front seat, two in the back seat, one in the glove compartment.

    There once was an old pachyderm
    Who on seeing a mouse, would just squirm.
    But he said "Oh, I know,
    "I could squash it, just so.
    "But I fear it might carry a germ."

    Of course, "Here come the grapes" leads to its own series of silly jokes, as in:

    Q. What's purple and conquered the known world?
    A. Alexander the Grape.

    Q. What's purple and just elected a coalition government?
    A. Grape Britain.

    And in honor of our host's son the math major (in case "Alexander the Grape" isn't enough honor):

    Q. What's purple and commutes?
    A. An Abelian grape.

    Q. What's purple, commutes, and has a definite number of worshippers?
    A. A finitely-venerated Abelian grape.

    I'd better stop before all of *you* turn purple. (And thus rhyme with orange and silver.)

  9. Jay: Isn't the answer to the last joke "Artie"?

  10. I'm sure Artie would be glad to hear that, Jon. Actually, the purple-orange equivalence may be his as well. Unless it's mine. (Referring to the famous martian cat, of course. Or maybe I just came up with the explanation that its color was orange, and "purple" was a corruption of its characteristic action of purring and then pulling. But I stole that one from Ferdinand Feghoot.)

    Now I'd *really* better stop, before I drive away all of Jerry's fans, friends, curious onlookers, innocent bystanders, etc., who *don't* know him from where I do.

  11. Oh, just remembered another math one:

    Q. What do you get when you cross an elephant with a moose?
    A. |moose| |elephant| sin theta.

  12. Q: Why is the elephant playing the viola?
    A: He wasn't good enough to play the violin.

    And this one, which must be in Jerry's book:

    Q: Why did the elephant cross the road?
    A: To get away from the chicken.

    (No comments from Jerry since Jay and I started. I guess we aren't funny.)

  13. Jon, I trust you never told that first one in the presence of the late Mrs. Murphy....

  14. You folks simply went mad in the 36 hours since I last read the blog...sheesh.

    Grape jokes are hereby ruled out of order.

    Q: What's the difference between a bunch of elephants and a bunch of grapes?

    A: If you don't know, remind me never to send you to the supermarket for a bunch of grapes...


  15. Jay -

    Helen knew much better viola jokes.

  16. And actually the viola joke is just the musician's version of the elephant joke.

    (Wow. Someone could write a thesis on that!)

  17. Someone probably has.

    I heard the following one on Steve Post's morning show on WNYC, back when he (a) had a morning show on WNYC, (b) was healthy enough to actually show up to do it most of the time, and (c) used to start of each morning with a bad joke, including a string (pun intended) of "bad violist" jokes, where "bad" modifies *both* the violists and the jokes.

    Q. If you're lost in the forest, and you come upon the Easter Bunny, the Great Pumpkin, a good violist, and a bad violist, which should you ask for directions?
    A. The bad violist. The other three are figments of your imagination.

  18. And as for grape jokes, Jerry, "Alexander the Blueberry" just isn't funny.

  19. On the other hand, "Alexander the Kiwi" has a K in it.


  20. Alexander the anything has a K in it, if it's in Russian.

    But come to think of it, is *is* pretty funny to imagine your son (or just about anyone else for that matter) as a large, flightless bird from New Zealand.

  21. Going back to an earlier joke, I remember it differently:

    Q: What's grey on the inside and red and white on the outside?

    A: Campbell's Cream of Elephant Soup!

    And going back to the '60s, the band Moby Grape obviously got their name from some elephant/grape style joke (which I remember there were a bunch of - get it, bunch of grapes! - when I was back in the single digits).

  22. One I remembered over the weekend, as I checked the pillows in my hotel room for allergens:

    Q. How do you get down off an elephant?
    A. You don't, you get down off a duck. (And it doesn't even have to be a unique duck, he said, ducking.)

  23. Q: How do you make an elephant shake?

    A: Two scoops of ice cream and an elephant.

    Q: Name a a scat-singing pachyderm.

    A: Ella Phantz Jerrold.

  24. Or, what does our fearless leader throw when he's heard too much scat singing?

  25. Now *this* post has some relevant ads, pun definitely intended. Except for the one for grape vines.

    Q. What's purple (with white on the bottom) and a fearsome maritime predator?
    A. A grape white shark.

    Sorry, the ads made me do it.

  26. Then there's the immortal Ludwig Bemelmans story "The Elephant Cutlet." I don't want to post the whole thing (or even my condensed recollection of it) here, but I think the punch line captures the, uh, flavor:

    "We are very sorry, Madame, but for just one cutlet we cannot cut up our elephant."

  27. OK, these two definitely belong here. Theoretical physicist Brian Greene, at the 2010 World Science Festival, when New York Magazine asked him "Got any good science jokes?" (Possibly the first thing even approaching intentionally funny in NYM since Mary Ann Madden stopped doing the Competition. (And BTW Jerry, you may *still* have my copy of "Maybe He's Dead." And I probably still want it back, even though that particular line hasn't been funny to me since my father died.))

    Q. What's yellow and imaginary?
    A. The square root of a negative banana.

    Q. What's gray and undefined?
    A. An elephant divided by zero.

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  29. From the same book,
    Why do elephants have wrinkled knees?
    From playing marbles.
    That book had me in stitches as a kid

  30. Why do ducks have webbed feet?
    To put out forest fires.

    Why do elephants have flat feet?
    To put out burning ducks.

  31. Here is a great kids song about an elephant complaining about the jokes being told. Enjoy!


  32. Why did the tiger get crushed by an elephant?

    It slept underneath a palm tree

    Did you hear the story about the family of elephants who lived on a palm tree?

    They fell off

    How many elephants can a palm tree hold?

    0 (they all fell off)