You Can Bank On It

Q: What runs but never walks, murmurs, but never talks, has a bed but never sleeps, and has a mouth but never eats??
A: A river!

Explanation: Thanks the Instagram account of Glacier National Park for this week’s joke. 

There are many words in English that have multiple meanings and this joke shows us many of them that are related to a river.  The water in a river runs.  The river murmurs by making noise as it flows to the sea.  The bed of the river is the ground that is under the river.  The mouth of the river is where the river flows into the ocean.

This joke is funny because it uses many words related to river that have multiple meanings.

Are you familiar with Colombia’s Rainbow River?

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As Clear as Dud

Q: When does a joke turn into a “dad” joke?
A: When the answer is a parent!

Explanation: There is a category of jokes called dad jokes.  These are jokes that have really bad answers that will make you groan because they are stupid/silly.  Puns fit nicely into this category.  I rather like theses jokes.  By the way, the answer to a joke is also called a punchline.

The word “apparent” (meaning obvious, clear) sounds just like “a parent” (meaning a mom or dad).

This joke is funny because it plays with the word apparent/a parent.  When you become a parent, you become a mom or a dad; when something becomes apparent it becomes clear, like the answer to a question.

Here are some kids telling dad jokes.  They’re awesome!

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A Hard Rain is Gonna Fall

Q: What is worse than raining cats and dogs?
A: Hailing taxis!

Explanation: Precipitation is water in any form that falls from the sky.  This includes rain, snow, sleet and hail.  Hail is frozen rain, ice, that falls; it can be very small or quite large.

Hailing a taxi means to  get the attention of a taxi driver so that you can get a ride somewhere.  Hailing taxis also sounds like taxis are falling from the sky like frozen rain, like hail.

Raining cats and dogs is an idiom meaning that it is raining very hard, that the rain is pouring down.

This joke is funny because it takes the idiom raining cats and dogs and makes it precipitate harder by hailing taxis.  This joke plays with the word hailing, meaning to call a taxi from the side of the street, or falling ice.

Here is Bob Dylan singing A Hard Rain is Gonna Fall:

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Lullaby-me to the Moon

Q: How do you stop an astronaut’s baby from crying?
A: You rocket!

Explanation: Astronauts are scientists who explore and study space.  To get into space they blast off in a rocket.  In this case, ‘rocket’ is a noun, a thing.

When babies cry, they can often be calmed, soothed, by rocking them.  To rock a baby means to gently move a baby back and forth, maybe by swaying, walking, or sitting in a rocking chair.  To calm a baby, rock it.  Here ‘rock’ is a verb, an action.

This joke is funny because rocket sounds just like “rock it.”

Here is another: Rockit by Herbie Hancock:

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X Marks the Spot

Q: What did the Dalmatian say after eating lunch?
A: Wow, that really hit the spot!

Explanation: If you have seen the movie 101 Dalmatians, you know that Dalmatians are a breed of dog known for their spots.  While I like dogs, having 101 of them seems like a lot!

That hit the spot is an idiom meaning something that was needed.  In this joke the speaker, the Dalmatian, was hungry and lunch hit the spot: lunch is exactly what was needed.

This joke is funny because it plays with the idea of hitting the spot (the markings on a Dalmatian) and hitting the spot (being exactly what was needed).

If you want to learn more about Dalmatians, this will hit the spot:

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Crossed with Chicken

Q: Why did the child cross the playground?
A: To get to the other slide!

Explanation: Back in 2013, the first joke that I explained was, perhaps, the most famous of all jokes–Why did the chicken cross the road?  This joke is funny because it plays with that joke.

The answer to the chicken-crossing-the-road joke is “to get to the other side.” This joke plays with that joke by using a different, rhyming word for the last word of the answer, slide.  And it also makes sense that a child would cross the playground to get to a slide.  People cross all sorts of things to get somewhere: they cross the ocean, they cross the mountains, they cross the desert.

Now here is a slide I might cross the playground for:

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Finally Found

Q: Why do you always find something in the last place you look?
A: Because when you find it, you stop looking!

Explanation: Perhaps this is more of a logic puzzle than a joke–but it is true!  Often times we search long and hard for a missing thing and then find it in the last place we look.  Is there a psychological reason it took us so long to find something?  I do not know the answer to that.  I do know that this joke makes me laugh.

This joke is funny because it creates an expectation for an answer that relates to the way we think.  The joke does not fulfill the expectation but gives us a bit of logic.  Who would keep searching for something after you have found it?  Not me.

Do you know the books Where’s Waldo?  If you want to try looking for Waldo, you can click on the this link, or watch this video:

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Whether Balloon?

Q: What music frightens balloons?
A: Pop music!

Explanation: When balloons explode, we say they pop.  If you stick a pin in a balloon, it pops.  If balloons had feelings, I am pretty sure that they would be scared of things that make the pop.

‘Pop’ is also a type of music, originally from the term ‘popular music.’  Pop music now refers to music that is commercial (sells a lot), usually upbeat, and uses a verse/chorus format.  Yea, that’s probably too much information.  (By the way, pop can also mean father, and soda.)

This joke is funny because it plays with the word pop–both a type of music and an action that end the life of a balloon.  There is a lot of famous pop music.  Here is one of the pop music examples from the list (#26) in the previous links:

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Run the Good Race

Q: What race is never run?
A: A swimming race!

Explanation: Thank you to a swimming friend who sent me this joke.

This explanation will be short, maybe abut 50 meters, the length of an olympic swimming pool.  Yes, I know, the Olympics did not start this past week because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  I hope you are staying healthy!

If you race someone in a pool, a swimming race, you are not running. You are swimming. Of course this joke could have other answers such as a car race, a spelling race, … you get the idea.

This joke is funny because the idea of a race that is never run makes people think of running.

Here are the top ten swimming races from the 2016 Rio Olympics (according to the author of this video):

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Sour Milk

Q: What do you call a mean cow?
A: Moo-dy!

Explanation: Wow, there are a lot of jokes about cows!

As you may know, cows say “moo.”  If you don’t believe me you can listen to Old McDonald, “with a moo-moo here and a moo- moo there….”

Moody is a word that means a person who changes his or her mood a lot.  If someone were happy and then gets mad really fast, you might say that the person is moody.  You could use moody for someone who changes from nice to mean and back to nice again.

This joke is funny because it plays with the “moo” in moody and the voice of a cow.

Here is something else that is moody: The Moody Blues singing Knights in White Satin


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