Phone booth prank

March 24, 2021 • 2:00 pm

This is a new version of the old Candid Camera pranks, but better. It involves a Universal Studios phone booth offering free pictures, along with a live human masquerading as a robot voice. To me, at least, this is hilarious.

The “please use less tongue” command at 1:55 made me laugh out loud, which I rarely do. Same with the B&D bit at 9:30!

Do watch the whole thing. Whoever the woman is who makes up these spontaneous bits, she’s very clever.

h/t: Nicole

Tonight: The University of Chicago’s world famous Latke-Hamantash Debate

December 17, 2020 • 10:45 am

The famous Latke-Hamantash Debate of the University of Chicago, now copied by a lot of wannabee schools, takes place tonight. (It started here in 1946.) I’ve been to it a couple of times, and it’s always a hoot. The premise is that local scholars, using only data and analyses from their own academic fields, debate the merits of the two Jewish foods latkes (potato pancakes) and hamantashen (triangular cookies filled with prune or apricot paste, usually eaten during Purim). The debate continues the classical disputations of Judaism, and, like those, cannot be settled.

The debaters, nearly always Jewish, are required to wear academic gowns.

Here’s the entire debate from 2016—the 70th debate. As usual, it begins with a musical piece, and then an introduction. Then the real fun begins: the arguments. They were good that year. Shadi Bartsch, a classical scholar, is also married to our University’s President.

This year, sadly, it’s a virtual debate, but the show goes on, as it has yearly since 1946, but I’m sure it’ll be as funny as ever. You can read about this year’s debate here, which begins tonight at 7 p.m. Central (Chicago) time, and you can register here for a free webcast link, and learn who the three speakers will be. Usually there are at least six speakers, and the debate always ends in a tie. Afterwards, the audience and speakers repair to the nearby refectory, where the two items at issue are served to all.

Latkes (with applesauce, though sour cream is a popular topping as well:

The estimable hamantash, here in the classic prune-filled version:

The post-debate nosh in years past:

Images from the 65th Latke Hamantash Debate at Mandel Hall at the University of Chicago on November 22, 2011. (Photo by Jason Smith)

The best religion + animal joke ever

September 5, 2019 • 3:00 pm

Well, I find it hilarious:

After the Flood, Noah opens up the Ark and lets all the animals out, telling them, “Go forth and multiply.”

As he’s closing the great doors of the boat, he notices that there are two snakes sitting in a dark corner.

So he says to them, “Didn’t you hear me? You can go now. Go forth and multiply.”

“We can’t,” said the snakes, “We’re adders.”



I’ll be here all week, folks, and don’t forget to try the roast beef. And add your own family-friendly joke below.

A holiday joke

December 10, 2017 • 4:00 pm

I just remembered this one, and it’s appropriate for the upcoming Christmas season.

The Three Wise Men, having followed the star, finally make it to Bethlehem. As they enter the stable, one of them, being tall, hits his head on the door frame.

“Jesus Christ!!” he shouts in pain.

“Hey!” said Mary, “That would be a great name for the baby!”

I’ll be here all week, folks.

Add your jokes below (nothing too risqué, please!).

An Easter joke

April 16, 2017 • 9:00 am

When you read this, I’ll be flying back to the U.S. It’s hard to believe a month has passed in New Zealand, but this perceived rapidity is largely because I’ve seen so many things—and that is because of the vaunted kindness of the Kiwis. Thanks to one and all for hosting me, taking me places, and generally being kind and hospitable. I won’t forget this beautiful country and its lovely people.

But now it’s Easter, and time for some religious humor.

Don’t stop me if you’ve heard this before (and if you’ve read this site consitently, you have). I love a good Jewish joke, and this is an excellent one for Easter. It comes from the site Southern Jewish Humorwhich gets the story from Eli N. Evans, who wrote The Provincials: A Personal History of Jews in the South:

Evans said he searched for the best example he could find of Southern Jewish humor.  He told the story of a Jewish storekeeper in a small town who was approached by the Christian elders to show solidarity for their Easter holiday.

Mr. Goldberg was chagrined but when Easter came, after sunrise services on a nearby hilltop, the mayor, all the churchgoers, and the leading families in the city gathered in the town square in front of his store.  The store had a new sign but it was draped with a parachute.

After an introduction from the mayor, at the appointed hour, the owner pulled the rope and there it was revealed in all its wonder for all to see: “Christ Has Risen, but Goldberg’s prices remain the same.”

He is NOT risen!

Two tweets

March 21, 2017 • 12:50 pm

by Matthew Cobb

Readers are invited to explain the first one, which involves calculus of some kind, I believe.

And this might amuse you

The Joe Black joke

January 20, 2016 • 3:00 pm

I’m not even going to try to show some gravitas today. Instead, we’ll finish the day (it snowed, too) with the Joe Black joke, which for some reason I find hilarious. I can’t remember who first told it to me, but stop me if you’ve heard it before.

Two guys were sitting in a bar talking.  One guy was Joe Black, and the other guy was named Fred. As they were talking, people kept coming in and going out of the bar. Everyone who walked past said “Hi” to Joe Black.

Fred finally said. “Wow, Joe—you really know a lot of people”.  To this Joe replied,  “I do indeed. In fact, I know everyone in the world“. At this Fred laughed.  “No, really!” said Joe, “I really do know everyone in the whole world.”  They argued quite a while about this until Fred said, “I’ll bet $1,000 that you don’t know the Mayor.”

Joe warned Fred that he did know the Mayor and that Fred was sure to lose his money.  Fred took the bet anyway.  So on to the Mayor’s office they went. Upon entering, they were greeted by the secretary with, “Hi, Joe, how ya doing today?” Joe said, “Great; I need to see the Mayor”.  To make a long long story a little shorter, the Mayor knew Joe very well.

Fred was a little upset about this and asked Joe if he could go double or nothing on whether Joe knew the President of the United States.  Joe warned Fred again that he was going to lose his money, but if Fred were willing to pay for their travel to Washington, D.C., he’d gladly take  the bet. As it turned out, the President knew Joe very well, even inviting the two for dinner in the White House.

After this Fred was really pissed.  He said, “Joe, I’ll bet you $100,000 that you don’t know the Pope.” (Fred was a rich guy.) Joe tried to talk Fred out of the bet, again telling him he would lose his money, but Fred insisted.  So off to Rome they went.

When they got to the Vatican, Joe told Fred that not just anybody could get inside to see the Pope. He gave Fred a pair of binoculars and told  him to climb a hill behind the Vatican and watch for him and the Pope to come out in the yard and wave to him. Fred was a little wary at first but finally agreed.

Fred waited on the deserted hill in the hot sun for over an hour. Just when he was about to leave, he saw two people coming out the Vatican door. The two walked  to the middle of the courtyard and started waving up at the hill.

Fred wasn’t sure what the Pope really looked like, and, since he had a lot of money riding on this, he wanted to make sure that it really was the Pope, “But how?”, he thought. Just then a dusty-looking old peasant walked by. Fred figured that a local should know what the Pope looked like, and called him over. Fred gave him the binoculars and asked him who those people were waving below.

To this the peasant replied, “I’m not sure who the guy in the robe is, but that other guy is Joe Black!”

I’ll be here all week, folks. Don’t forget to tip the waitress. And leave your favorite joke in the comments.

An atheist joke

August 30, 2015 • 2:30 pm

There’s not much doing today (though we’ll have some science this week), but here’s a pretty good atheist joke sent by reader Glenn.

An atheist was walking through the woods.
‘What majestic trees!”What powerful rivers!’
‘What beautiful animals!’
He said to himself.
As he was walking alongside the river, he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him.
He turned to look. He saw a 7-foot grizzly bear charge towards him.
He ran as fast as he could up the path. He looked over his shoulder and saw that the bear was closing in on him.
He looked over his shoulder again and the bear was even closer.
He tripped and fell on the ground.
He rolled over to pick himself up but saw that the bear was right on top of him, reaching for him with his left paw and raising his right paw to strike him…
At that instant the Atheist cried out,
‘Oh my God!’
Time stopped.
The bear froze.
The forest was silent.
As a bright light shone upon the man, a voice came out of the sky.
“You deny my existence for all these years, teach others I don’t exist and even credit creation to cosmic accident. Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament?
Am I to count you as a believer?”
The atheist looked directly into the light. “It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask you to treat me as a Christian now, but perhaps you could make the BEAR a Christian?”
“Very well,” said the voice.
The light went out. The sounds of the forest resumed. And the bear dropped his right paw, brought both paws together, bowed his head and spoke:
“For what I am about to receive, may the Lord make me truly thankful, Amen.”

We’ll be here all week, folks. You got any atheist jokes?