Q: Why did the thief wash his clothes after the robbery?
A: He wanted to make a clean getaway!

Explanation: A thief is a robber, someone who steals things. Washing your clothes, well, you already know, will make your clothes clean. A robbery is the moment when something was stolen.  If you want to get technical, the law in the United States differentiates between burglary, robbery, and theft, but people do not usually make that difference when they speak.

A clean getaway is an idiom meaning that you escape without anyone noticing or without getting caught.

This joke is funny because it plays with the words clean getaway: escaping without getting caught and getting away while being clean.

Maybe if you want to make a clean getaway, it’s time for a cool change…

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Zombie Out

Q: Why didn’t the zombie go to work?
A: Because he felt rotten!

Explanation: When you are sick, it is very important that you don’t go to work or school, especially now with COVID still making people sick.  If you feel really sick you might say that you feel rotten; to feel rotten is an idiom meaning to feel sick.

A zombie is a dead body (corpse) that has come back to life. (By the way, zombies are fictional, mythological, not real.)  Once a body stops living, the body begins to decompose, to rot. So, a zombie’s body is in the process of rotting.

This joke is funny because it plays with the idiom to feel rotten and the verb to rot.

Speaking of zombies, this seems like a good time to revisit Michael Jackson’s Thriller-

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These Wings are Made for Walking

Q: Why do birds fly south for the winter?
A: Because it is too far to walk!

Explanation: Where I grew up, in Minnesota, it was very common to see birds fly south for the winter. When all of the lakes freeze, the trees lose their leaves, and ground is covered with snow, most birds cannot find food.  It’s also just too cold for them to survive.  So, they migrate to an area where they will be able to survive.

While birds can walk a bit, their main way of traveling is by flying. 

This joke is funny because it sets up an expectation for an explanation about why birds have to migrate to a different area.  What you get, though, is a silly answer about birds not being able to walk so far.

Check out The Great Migration from KQED-

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Hickory Dickory Clock

Q: What time is it when your clock strikes 13?
A: Time to get a new clock!

Explanation: When a clock “strikes the hour” it means that it is exactly on the hour, 8:00 or 11:00 for example (not 8:17 or 11:36) and the bells will chime.  Here is Big Ben striking the hour.

On a clock or a watch, the only numbers you see are the numbers 1-12; there is no 13.  So if the clock strikes 13, there is a big problem!  Yes, at 13 o’clock you will need a new clock.

(Some readers might argue that the military and some countries use the hours from 13 to 24 to talk about the hours after noon.  Point taken.  You will, however, not see the number 13 on the face of a clock, only on some digital clocks.)

Here is a brief history of how we keep time:

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Them’s Fighting Words!

Q: Why did the dentist and the manicurist decide not to be friends?
A: Because they were always fighting tooth and nail!

Explanation: A dentist is a doctor that improves the health of your teeth.  A manicurist is a specialist who improves the health and appearance of your fingernails.

To “fight tooth and nail” is an idiom that means to fight hard with all of your resources to achieve a goal.  You might fight tooth and nail against an injustice.  A union might fight tooth and nail for its members.  Firefighters fight tooth and nail to put out a fire.

This joke is funny because it plays with the idiom, and the work that these two professions do: dentists work with teeth and manicurists work with nails.

Here is Foreigner singing about fighting tooth and nail.  Some of the lyrics are hard to understand so here they are.

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Picking Up the Pieces

Q: Is collecting shells on the beach easy to learn?
A: Yes, you’ll pick it up right away!

Explanation: Picking up shells on a beach is easy because, if the beach has shells, you just bend over and lift them up with your hands.

To pick something up is also an idiom meaning to learn something.  If I say that my nephew picked up guitar really quickly it means that he learned to play guitar easily.  A few more examples: My friend who speaks Spanish picked up Italian after a few weeks in Rome; Just watch what I am doing and you will ick it up right away.

This joke is funny because it plays with two meanings of “pick up:” to lift something up and to learn something.

Have you always wanted to learn to play guitar?  There are lots of videos online.  This series form Fender is pretty good, in my opinion.

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A Weight Off My Shoulder

Q: Why was the pirate sad when his parrot left?
A: It gave him the cold shoulder!

Explanation: Yes, the last parrot joke for a while.

Have you seen those pictures of a pirate with a parrot sitting on his shoulder?  Take a look at this one, if you haven’t.  (That link will also explain about the history of parrots and pirates.) I have never had a parrot sit on my shoulder, but I would expect the parrot to feel warm on my shoulder.  Then, when the parrot flies away, my shoulder would feel cold.

To give someone the cold shoulder” means to purposely ignore that person

This joke is funny because it plays with the phrase cold shoulder, in both the literal sense of feeling colder, and in the meaning of the idiom, to ignore someone.  Perhaps the parrot was ignoring the pirate, giving him the cold shoulder?

Here is Adele with her song Cold Shoulder

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A Parrot and a Shtick

Q: What is bright orange and sounds like a parrot?
A: A carrot!

Explanation: Yes! A second parrot joke!

As you can hear when you read the joke aloud, parrot rhymes with carrot.

This joke is funny because the question has a second meaning.  When you read the question, it seems to ask for the name of another bird, or maybe an animal, that makes the same sounds as a parrot.  Maybe there is another bird that talks like a parrot?

But, no.  Because it is a joke, the answer is a word (or words) that sound like (rhyme with) “a parrot.”

Now for something really silly- Here is Captain Vegetable with Elmo—

Then again, thinking of parrots led me to Jimmy Buffet

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Bee Amazing!

Q: What creature is smarter than a talking parrot?
A: A spelling bee!

Explanation: And we’re back!

Perhaps you have seen or heard parrots that talk.  Well, they actually mimic (copy) the sounds that they hear.  It is quite amazing.  In English the typical phrase that a talking parrot says is, “Polly want a cracker.”

A spelling bee is a competition to see who is the best speller, that is, the one who spells the most difficult words.  A spelling bee has nothing to do with a bee, the insect that makes honey.

This joke is funny because it plays with the idea of smart animals and then plays again with two meanings of the word bee: an insect and a spelling competition. By the way, there are other types of bees such as a quilting bee which is a gathering of people who make quilts.

Thanks for the joke, Pete!

If you want to see a movie about a spelling bee, I highly recommend this one:

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Ghost Ships

Q: Where do ghosts like to go sailing?
A: Lake Eerie!

Explanation: If you ever get the chance to go sailing, I would highly recommend it.  It is a beautiful experience to let the wind move your boat without using a motor.

Ghosts, of course, like places that are scary or frightening.  The word eerie means strange or frightening.  An eerie experience might be sitting alone in a dark house, hearing strange sounds, and seeing faint lights that look like ghosts.

Lake Erie is the 4th largest of the Great Lakes in North America.  I have never seen it, but the pictures sure look nice.

This joke is funny because it plays with the words eerie and (Lake) Erie which sound exactly the same.

Here is the song Sailing by Christopher Cross to take you on your journey:

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