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Resident delights in telling jokes — good, bad and corny

August 16 is “Tell a Joke Day.” Here at Wichita Presbyterian Manor, we have one resident who embodies the spirit of this holiday every day.

The resident, who prefers to remain anonymous, developed the joke-telling habit because he enjoys making people laugh (and sometimes groan).

“I enjoy people’s laughter,” he explained. “I enjoy fellowship.”

The mysterious resident graciously shared some of his favorites so we’ll all be prepared to tell a joke on Aug. 16.

Q: What do you call a pallbearer in Oklahoma?

A: Karaoke (“carry-Okie”)

Q: What resort’s grand opening received very little coverage?

A: The nudist colony’s

Q: Who wore the first Arrow shirt?

A: General Custer

Q: What do you call a cat that ate a lemon?

A: A sourpuss

Q: Why couldn’t they play cards on Noah’s Ark?

A: Because an elephant stood on the deck

The History of the joke

While the origin (and creator) of National “Tell a Joke” Day are a mystery, many “experts” have tried to find the origin of the “joke.”

But as it turns out, that’s a difficult task as well.

Some suggest that the joke was created by the Greek hero Palamedes, who outsmarted Odysseus during the Trojan War but there’s no evidence to support that claim.

But there’s another claim for the Greeks.

In 350 BC, the original Friar’s Club met regularly in the Temple of Heracles in Athens to tell jokes but “none have been passed down.”

In the 1600s, Shakespeare included lots of humor in his plays, some funny one-liners, and many jokes that were actually insults such as “Thine face is not worth sunburning” from Henry V (Act 5, Scene 2).

A classic joke that endured the test of time was first published in 1847 in the monthly New York magazine Knickerbocker: “Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side.”

In modern times, stand-up comedians brought humor to clubs and on the radio, TV and the internet. In 2002, an English professor held a contest for the world’s funniest joke. The winner was from comedian Spike Milligan:

“Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn’t seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy whips out his phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps, ‘My friend is dead! What can I do?’ The operator says, ‘Calm down. I can help. First, let’s make sure he’s dead.’ There is a silence, then a shot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says, ‘OK, now what?’”

The above dates are from Stop Me If You’ve Heard This, A History and Philosophy of Jokes, by Jim Holt.

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