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The language of jokes

The flatmates having Christmas lunch

'Cross' jokes

What do you get if you cross a stereo with a refrigerator?
Cool Music

In these jokes two things that we can't or don't usually mix together (for example, a stereo and a refrigerator) are mixed. The result is the punch-line (the part of the joke that makes us laugh) in this case, 'cool music'.
These jokes also depend on the result having two meanings, a usual meaning and an unusual (or joke) meaning. 'Cool music' usually means 'music that's fashionable' but cool also means 'of cold temperature'.

What do you get if you cross a sheep with a kangaroo?
A woolly jumper.
(We get wool from sheep and kangaroos jump a lot. 'Jumper' has two meanings - the usual meaning is a 'sweater made of wool'. The unusual or joke meaning here is to describe 'someone or something that jumps'.)

What do you get if you cross a dog with a computer?
A computer with lots of bites.
(Dogs often bite. Computers have bytes. 'Bite' and 'byte' sound similar.)

'Knock Knock' jokes

A: Knock, knock.
B: Who's there?
A: Lettuce
B: Lettuce who?
A: Lettuce in. It's cold out here!

These jokes involve two people - A and B.
A knocks on B's door because A wants to go into B's house.
B asks A to say who s/he is.
A says her/his first or given name.
B asks for the A's second or family name.
A gives more information and this final line is the punch-line.
The humour of these jokes is that the words in the final two lines sound similar, for example, 'lettuce' and 'let us'.

A: Knock, knock.
B: Who's there?
A: Sam and Janet
B: Sam and Janet who?
A: Sam and Janet evening!
('Sam and Janet' and 'Some enchanted' sound similar. Also, 'Some enchanted Evening' is the first line of a well-known song.)

What did one _____ say to the other _____? jokes

What did one dolphin say to the other dolphin?
You did that on porpoise.

In these two-line jokes, two things that don't usually speak (animals or things) talk to each other.
These jokes depend on the second line of the joke being a pun (a funny use of a word that has two meanings or of different words that sound the same but mean different things).
For example, 'porpoise' and 'purpose' sound similar. And saying 'You did that on purpose' is a fixed phrase we can use to blame someone for something they did wrong.

What did one elevator say to the other elevator?
I think I'm coming down with something!
(A lift can 'come down with something' - usually people from one floor of a building to another - but 'come down with something' also means 'feel sick or ill'.)

What did one hurricane say to the other hurricane?
I've got my eye on you.
(The centre of a hurricane is called 'the eye' but to 'have your eye on someone' means that you fancy them or like them in a romantic or sexual way.)


a cracker (n): a small paper tube which is pulled from each end by two people at Christmas time. It makes a sharp bang when it is pulled and inside there is a small prize and usually a paper hat and a joke written on a small piece of paper

to cross (v): to mix or blend something together

to crack someone up (v, informal): to make someone laugh

to look sharp (v, informal, to talk about someone's clothes): to look good, stylish or fashionable

frostbite (n): injury to skin and tissue from being in freezing temperatures

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