The Is This A Joke? Offensive

This morning we get to start our day with a twofer! Remember back when joke books were all the rage and you could count on them to add quality wisecracks to your witty repertoire?

Well all that has changed and jokes have officially been canceled thanks to society’s desperate attempt to avoid offending anyone. Especially if you’re a boomer male making a joke in front of your colleagues right before a webinar on how to not be offensive!

Oy and vey.

Jeff over at The Good Men Project relays his regret at attempting to bring a little humor to his otherwise dull and unfunny workplace:

Russ, the IT guy, was still setting up the projector. I felt awkward with the silence. Off the cuff, I blurted out: “I’m going to tell you the only joke I know… Why did the Siamese twins move to London?”

Calls of Why, Why Jeff, Why did the Siamese twins move to London?

“So the other one could drive.”

Okay, that was actually pretty funny and everyone laughed, according to him.

It wasn’t until after he’d had time to overthink it though that it occurred to him that he’d committed the unforgivable offense of telling what might be perceived as a “racist” joke.

I could only imagine what my coworkers were thinking about me. I wished I could go back and undo that moment. It used to be such a fun joke. How is it possible that it became offensive since I last used it?

Growing up in the sixties, my family had a giant hardback book called Tell Me Another Joke. I essentially learned to read from this book. My brothers and I lounged around our family room reading jokes to each other. Several years ago, I told my preteen children a few of the jokes I remembered, and then, like any good baby boomer, I immediately went to Ebay and found a copy to buy.

When the book came, I was appalled. Many (most?) of the jokes relied on prejudices against ethnic groups to create the “humor.” The Scottish are cheap. The Irish are drunks. The Jews are greedy. People from India are poor. The Africans are… well never mind. Disgusted, I threw out the book. Here I am, ten years later, perpetuating the same stereotypes as my racist book.

While Jeff is no doubt in therapy now, trying to come to terms with an ever changing, ever evolving world of political correctness, over at McSweeney’s they are reviving the lost art of the joke book and bringing jokes back, baby.

Woo hoo!

With jokes aimed directly at men. Or people who identify as men. More specifically, people who identify as men that want to date people who identify as women.

I think. I don’t know, I can’t keep up.

In their new book, Jokes to Offend Men Who Refuse to Believe You’re Not Interested in Them, four (presumably) female-identifying authors have compiled what I assume they assume are funny, non-offensive jokes. Because, you know, male stereotypes are still fair game.

Here are just a few samples (brace yourself):

Which came first: the chicken or the egg?

That’s beside the point. They were both excellent communicators who checked in with each other to make sure they were equally satisfied.

– – –

“Knock knock.”

“Who’s there?”


“Greg who?”

“Greg who? Wow, no one’s ever asked me that before. Who am I really? There’s so much to explore. I will now spend the next half hour of our date talking about myself—don’t interrupt.”

– – –

“There are plenty of fish in the sea,” said the Tinder employee.

“I’m afraid not,” said the marine biologist. “The straight men caught them all for their profile pics.”

– – –

A man reaches across the table for a check, but it’s not the bill. What is it?

His phone, so he can check Wikipedia for the accuracy of something his date said.

– – –

What happened to the man who expected the women in his life to manage his calendar?

He had a hard time finding a date.

– – –

“So, what? You just don’t like men?” said the man.

“Yes,” said the woman.

Yeah. Did I mention it took FOUR (presumably) women to write these?

Okay, in all fairness, that last one was sort of funny. Not as funny as Jeff’s Siamese twin joke, but it was a pretty good attempt at humor.

Maybe when Jeff is done with his therapist they can have him take a look and give his opinion.

What do you think? Should jokes be banned altogether? What about good ones? Let me know what you think in the comments!

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