In a Single Bound

Q: Can a kangaroo jump higher than the Empire State Building?
A: Of course!  Buildings can’t jump!

Explanation: Kangaroos are well known for being able to jump high and far with their powerful legs.  Buildings, on the other hand, cannot jump.

This joke is funny because the expected answer is that no, kangaroos cannot jump higher than the Empire State Building (they can only jump about 30 feet).  Everyone knows that buildings cannot jump. Because we know that buildings cannot jump, we are thinking about the kangaroo jumping as high as the 1,250 foot Empire State Building. Clearly impossible!

What if we replaced the Empire State Building with a frog so the question reads, “Can a kangaroo jump higher than a frog?”  Now we know that we are comparing who can jump higher.  It all depends on how you understand the question and what the kangaroo is compared to.  Logic says the answer to the question is no but the joke looks at the illogical and we laugh.

Learn more about kangaroos here:

And learn more about the Empire State Building here:

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Sweet Swiss Music

Knock Knock.
Who’s there?
A little old lady.
A little old lady who?
I didn’t know you could yodel!

Ah, the beauty of a knock knock joke and Alpine music.  Yodeling is a type of singing where the singer changes the voice from falsetto singing (high singing like the Bee Gees) to normal singing and back again.  It is commonly associated with the Alps of Europe but is also found in other cultures.

The words “little old lady who” sound a bit like yodeling and that is what makes this joke funny.

In the 1970s there was a TV commercial for hot chocolate that used a bit of yodeling

There is also a yodeling song from The Sound of Music:

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Lost Sleep

Q: Why did the boy run around his bed?
A: Because he was trying to catch up on his sleep!

Explanation: To catch up on something (such as sleep) is to do something you have not had time to do.  You catch up on sleep by sleeping more after a time of little sleep.  You can also catch up on the latest news by reading/ watching today’s news (or the newest tweets on Twitter, for example).  Someone might say, “When I returned from vacation I had to catch up on the news/ my emails/ my homework …

To catch someone is to chase after that person until you can touch him or her.  You might catch someone in a race; a police officer might catch a criminal.  (You can also catch a ball but that is a different meaning).

This joke is funny because it plays with the different meanings of the word catch and the phrasal verb catch up on.

Speaking of catching, do you know the story of The Gingerbread Man?

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On Your Marks…

Q: How do you keep an elephant from charging?
A: Take away its credit cards!

Explanation: When an elephant runs towards you or something else, we say the elephant is charging, much like a bull might charge (run) at the cape of a matador.  To charge is also to pay for something by credit card. The beginning of the joke makes us think of how to stop an elephant from running at something- very difficult to do!

This joke is funny because it plays with the two of the meanings of the word charge: a way of moving forward and using a credit card.

The word charge has many other meanings, such as charging your phone or to accuse someone of doing something wrong.

Here is an elephant charging and someone stopping it:

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Toothache

Q: What is the best time to go to the dentist?
A: 2:30 (Tooth hurty!)

Explanation: A bad joke for the new year… and I hope your teeth (one tooth, two teeth) do not hurt!

This joke is funny because two thirty (2:30) sounds the same as tooth hurty.  You’re right, ‘hurty’ is not a real word.  A child might use the word ‘hurty’ or ‘owie’ or ‘boo boo’ to say that something hurts: “I have a tooth hurty.”  It’s not common but it happens.  If your tooth really hurts it is time to go to the dentist no matter the hour of the day.

Please send me any child-friendly jokes that you would like explained.

Watch Caillou visit the dentist:

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Hamburger, No Helper

Q: What do you call a cow with no legs?
A: Ground Beef!

Explanation: Beef is a type of meat that comes from cows, cattle. When this meat is put through a grinder it is called ground beef.  Ground beef is the type of meat that is found in hamburgers and other dishes.

This joke is funny because it plays with the word ground.  Ground is the land you stand on when you are outside.  Ground is also the past tense of the verb grind, to reduce something to small particles.

If a cow has no legs it would be on the ground, therefore, ground beef.

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Make Me a Drink

Frankenstein: Hey witch, can you make me a glass of lemonade?
Witch: Poof!  You’re a glass of lemonade!

Explanation: The word ‘poof‘ in this joke is the sound of a witch casting a spell.  (I could have used the word zap or another magic word.)

When you hear the question, “Can you make me a lemonade?” you expect the answer to be a yes, a no, or something like that. Maybe a, “Sorry, we have no lemons.”  In this case the witch turned Frankenstein into a glass of lemonade with magical powers and that makes this joke funny.

Here is a summary of the book Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley:

 

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