Level Up

Q: Why are elevator jokes the best?
A: Because they work on so many levels!

Explanation: What goes up, must come down, says the old adage.  (Blood, Sweat and Tears sang about that, too.)  The same is true for elevators: Elevators (called a lift in England) go up and down to bring people to different floors in a building.  The floors in a building are sometimes called levels.  Just like in a video game where you move to the next level, elevators can take you up or down one or more levels.

“Works on many levels” is an idiom that means something works in many different ways.  For example, the story of Alice in Wonderland could be read, on one level, as a silly adventure.  On a different level, it could be about children trying to understand the adult world.  Others say it is about drugs, or eating disorders.  If you do a search for different interpretations, you will find many.  Many Disney movies that are made for children, have themes or dialogue that adults will better understand–They work on different levels.  Has that ever happened to you?  Have you seen a movie as an adult and you understand it differently than when you were a child?

This joke is funny because it plays with the phrase “it works on many levels.”  By the way, things can be wrong on may levels too.

Take a look at the world’s tallest elevators–

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Airport Food

Q: What kind of candy can you get an an airport?
A: Plane M&Ms!

Explanation: Even though there are lots of studies that talk about sugar being bad for you, well, a little bit still tastes good.  Every place in the world has candy, and candy can even make for  a good joke too!

You know what candy is, so I won’t explain that.  And you know all about airports, especially that airports have airplanes, also called planes.  There are many different types of planes.  Did you know that you can get a license to be a pilot at age 14 in some places?  I have always wanted to get a pilot’s license but never did, at least not yet.

Plane, though, is not the same as plain.  Plane refers to airplanes, while plain means ordinary, not decorated, not special.  (Plane can also be a tool, and plain can also be a type of land, depending on the context.).   M&Ms come in many flavors such as peanut M&Ms, and almond M&Ms.  Plain M&Ms are the ones that only have chocolate in the middle, nothing else.

This joke is funny because it plays with the words plane and plain, which sound the same.  Take a look at this video to see how M&Ms are made.  (You could even try adding narration to make the video better.)

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After the All-Star Break

Q: How is a good baseball game like good pancakes?
A: They both need a good batter!

Explanation: And…we’re back with a rerun!

The baseball season in the United States and Canada is half done, so a baseball joke seemed appropriate.  In baseball, the person who has the bat and is ready to hit the baseball is called the batter (in the sport of cricket, too).  A good batter is able to hit the ball that is pitched, usually at 80 miles per hour or more.  That’s fast, and hard to hit! And remember, if a player is able to get a hit 3 out of every 10 pitches, that is considered good.

As for pancakes, well, a good pancake starts with good batter.  Batter is the liquid mix that you put on the griddle or in the frying pan to make pancakes.  There are lots of recipes for pancakes, like this one.

This joke is funny because it plays with two meanings of the word batter: Someone who hits the ball in baseball, and the thick liquid that you mix together to make pancakes.

Pancakes and crepes are not the same, but they are similar.  Here is and old video of Julia Child making crepes:

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Three Sheets to the Wind

Q: Why did the composer only compose while lying in bed?
A: Because he was composing sheet music!

Explanation: A composer is someone who writes music.  Two of the most famous composers are Mozart and Beethoven.

Years ago, when composers wrote music, they would write the music on sheets of paper that the musicians could read and perform.  This music written on sheets of paper is called sheet music.  Lots of music is written now using computers programs such as Notion or Sibelius.  (I do not write music and do not know anything about these programs.)  For musicians to perform, the music is most often printed out in sheets, sheet music.  There are probably musicians who use a computer or tablet to read their music.

Sheets, though, has another meaning.  When you make your bed, you put sheets on your bed, along with pillows and blankets.

This joke is funny because of the different meanings of sheets–sheets for your bed and sheet music.  I wouldn’t recommend, however, using bed sheets for writing music; it might be difficult for the performer to read the music!

If you would like to learn to read sheet music, you could start here:

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Prove Your Chops

Q: What did the angry lumberjack say to the tree?
A: I have an axe to grind with you!

Explanation: Lumberjacks are people who work cutting down trees so that people can use wood to make things.  Many years ago, lumberjacks would use a saw and/or an axe to cut down trees.  (Hopefully they planted two new trees for each one cut down!)  Before working with an axe, it is important to sharpen the axe. One way to sharpen the axe is to use a grinder.

Have an axe to grind” with someone is an idiom.  It means that you have a personal, maybe selfish reason for saying something, or that you have a complaint that you have to talk to someone about.  Here are some examples from Linguee.com.  (Linguee is one of my favorite sites for translating, by the way.)

This joke is funny because it plays with the idea of grinding an axe, both the literal idea of using an axe sharpened on a grinder to cut down a tree, and the figurative idea of the idiom have an axe to grind.

Here is one of the most famous fictional lumberjacks, Paul Bunyan, from 1958:

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A Bone to Pick with You

Q: What do you call a fossil that never does any work?
A: A lazy bones!

Explanation: Fossils are parts of a living thing that has been preserved, or left an impression from a very long time ago, perhaps 10,000 years ago or more.  The human skull that was recently found in Minnesota was not called a fossil, maybe because it was only 8,000 years old.  Bones are a very common type of fossil because they last longer than the soft parts of living things. Because fossils come from living things that have been dead for a very long time, they do not do any work.

A lazy bones is a person who is lazy, who doesn’t help, who doesn’t do much of anything.  Imagine someone doing the work alone and saying to the other person, “Don’t be such a lazy bones.  Help me get this done!”

This joke is funny because it plays with the idea of bones and fossils, along with ancient bones being lazy.

Watch here to find out how dinosaur fossils are formed:

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A Fair-weather Flower

Q: What kind of flowers are great friends?
A: Rose buds!

Explanation: Roses are one of the best known flowers.  As a rose grows, in the spring you will notice buds.  Rose buds are little bumps on the stem of a rose from which the flowers will appear.  Yes, roses are beautiful! (Be careful of the thorns, though.)

Friends are, well, you know what friends are.  There are many synonyms for the word friend.  One of those synonyms is bud, short for buddy.  Your bud is your pal, is your friend, is your bestie, is your bff.  You get the idea.

This joke is funny because it plays with the word bud: a baby flower and a friend.

If you would like to see a rose bloom from a bud to a flower, watch this:

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Maybe a Snack Later On

Q: Why did the two 4s decide to skip dinner?
A: Because they already 8.

Explanation: Told to me by a 6th grader, this one made me laugh!  It is rather absurd and it really makes no sense…so let me try to explain it.

If someone invites you to eat, you might say, “No, thank you,” if you have just eaten.  Or you might say, “I’ll go with you, but I am not hungry.  I already ate.”  I already ate sounds just like I already eight.

Of course if there are two 4s together, you can add them up and they total eight (4 + 4 = 8).

This joke is funny because it plays with the words ate and eight, which sound the same…and because it really doesn’t make sense.

Here are some folks who did not skip dinner.  They just had to use their imaginations!  And some of them are probably eight (years old).

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Bounce Back

Q: What’s the best season for jumping on a trampoline?
A: Spring time!

Explanation: The northern hemisphere is about a third of the way through the season of spring.  Of course summer will come after spring, and then fall and winter.  Spring is a beautiful time of year as the trees bud and bloom, the flowers are reborn, and the days get longer. (Actually, days do not really get longer than 24 hours, but the amount of sunlight during the day increases.)

A trampoline is a piece of equipment that has a strong fabric attached to a frame with springs; the springs make you bounce up and down.  Springs are coils of wire that can get longer when stretched, and then pull back into its original form.  You might find a spring used to close a screen door, to make the tip of a pen come out or go in, or to make a mattress more  comfortable.

This joke is funny because it plays with the word spring: A season of the year and a coiled piece of metal.  Springtime is different from spring time, too.  If you play on a trampoline, you will enjoy your time bouncing because of the springs.

Here are some amazing trampoline athletes (thanks to the springs):

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Live and Let Live

Q: Why are cats good at video games?
A: Because they have nine lives!

Explanation: Many video games let you have another chance to keep going if you make a really bad mistake, maybe even getting your character killed.  (Other games do not give you another life in the same game, and you have to start over.)  I am reminded of the classic video game Pac-Man where you would get three lives.  It also reminds me of the pre-video game era when people played pinball, and you had to score the maximum number of points with a limited number of balls.

Cats are known as curious explorers who get themselves into difficult situations.  Because of their instincts, including the ability to land on their feet (usually), cats survive (usually).  Therefore, in English speaking countries cats are said to have nine lives.  (Here is an interesting article about the nine lives of cats.)

This joke is funny because it combines the the lives you get while playing video games with the saying, “cats have nine lives.”

Here is a cat who survived-

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