Now, there’s no accounting for taste, mind you. You may find them stupid or simply unfunny, but at least you won’t be reading about H1N1, Tiger Woods’ marriage, or “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” for the next ten minutes.
Second runner up: A wife is having breakfast with her husband on Valentine’s Day morning. She hints coyly, “I dreamt last night that you gave me a gorgeous diamond pendant for Valentine’s Day. What a strange dream. What do you suppose it means?”
With a wink and a smile, her husband replies, “Well, my dear, you’ll find out exactly what that dream means tonight, and that’s all I’m going to say.”
The wife is on pins and needles until her husband arrives that evening with an elegantly-wrapped package under his arm. She grabs it. Tearing it open; her eyes grow wide as she looks at her gift:
A copy of the “The Interpretation of Dreams” by Sigmund Freud.
First runner up goes to this story, told to me by a member of my church, about an older couple in denial about their dead dog. They brought their pet’s carcass to the vet and insisted he treat the animal. When he tried to explain that the animal was deceased, they demanded a second opinion, so the vet summoned a yellow Labrador into the room. The canine carefully examined the dead dog and then looked at the couple, gravely shaking his head. Still unconvinced, they demanded a third opinion. The vet complied again, calling in yet another associate, a Siamese cat. The feline examined the expired dog and, just like the yellow Lab had done, she shook her head sadly. At last persuaded, the couple left to bury their beloved companion.
A few days later, the couple returned to the vet, angrily demanding an explanation for the bill he had sent them.
“One thousand dollars?! Just to tell us that our dog was dead?!”
“Well,” the vet replied, “when you figure in the lab work, and the cat scan…”
Ah, a classic to be sure, but it’s also a bit lengthy; brevity being the soul of wit, I picked a short riddle that takes Best Joke of 2009 honors hands down:
Q: What did 0 say to 8?
A: Nice belt!
See what I mean? It’s succinct, brilliant, and you have to work for a minute to get it.
Those are the Best Jokes of the Year, but what is the Best Hope for the Next, as far as humor is concerned? Apart from the sudden and permanent retirement of Dane Cook, only one thing, really: That my four-year-old daughter Weezie would find a new joke. You see, for all of this year and the latter half of 2008, she has been stuck on an antique knock-knock joke about a cow who compulsively interrupts others while they are speaking. The 18 months of repetition aside, simply participating in the joke is a Sisyphean nightmare of soul-crushing futility. If you’re one of the eight people on earth who has never heard it, here it is:
Me: (Heavy sigh) Who’s there?
Weezie: Interrupting cow!
Me: (Groan) Interrup…
Me: You got me again, Kid.
My best hope for jokes in 2010 is that The Interrupting Cow will contract bovine spongiform encephalopathy and die a mercifully swift death.
Won’t you help?
You see, Weezie and children just like her all over the world go through each day, for months – sometimes years – on end, in comedic poverty, repeating the same tired joke, over and over. Won’t you consider sponsoring a child by providing the quips and jests they desperately need, but which we take for granted? It only costs a pun, a one-liner, a simple wisecrack. Please send a kid’s joke to firstname.lastname@example.org today. If your joke silences “Interrupting Cow” in my home once and for all, it will be featured in an upcoming column and you’ll receive a free “I Killed the Interrupting Cow” t-shirt.
And, most importantly, you’ll also receive an exhausted father’s undying gratitude. Please – don’t delay.