## June 28, 2013

### "What’s the most intellectual joke you know?"

Summarizing the results of a great Reddit thread. Example:
Jean-Paul Sartre is sitting at a French cafe, revising his draft of Being and Nothingness. He says to the waitress, "I'd like a cup of coffee, please, with no cream." The waitress replies, "I'm sorry, Monsieur, but we're out of cream. How about with no milk?”

“I love him like a brother. David Greenglass.”

EDH said...

I always found this one to be deeper than it first appears:

Q: Why does a dog lick his balls?

A: Because he can.

ironrailsironweights said...

Today I feel like a kid in a candy store.
So I guess I'll drive my windowless van there.

Peter

Bob Ellison said...

How many Marxists does it take to screw in a light bulb?

EDH said...

Let me guess: Peter's favorite "candy" is cotton candy.

Mark said...

Bob, that's good.

wfgodbold said...

Bob, the light bulb contains the seeds of its own revolution.

A guy was trying to get his two pet snakes to breed. He looked information up online, he talked to his vet, and nothing worked. Desperate, he finally called a snake expert, who came over and looked at the snakes. After thinking a moment, the expert went outside, cut down a couple trees, and built a rough table. He put the snakes on the table, and sure enough, they mated.

The owner was amazed. "How did that work?" he asked.

The expert smiled. "Even adders can multiply if you put them on a log table."

Mumpsimus said...

That Reddit thread is just great.

Here's a couple that don't measure up to the ones in the Slate article, but still pretty good:

1)
Linguistics Prof: So we see, class, that while there are many languages in which a double negative connotes the positive, there is no language in which a double positive connotes the negative."

Student: Yeah, right!

2)
A Math Professor, having filled the whiteboard with equations and calculations, says "and so, from this, it is obvious that . . ." He stops, frowns, and disappears into his office. 45 minutes later, just before the end of class, he emerges with a big smile on his face and says "I was right--it is obvious!

Mark said...

Eleven cheers for binary!

David said...

There are 10 kinds of people in the world; those who understand binary and those who don't.

David said...

There are 10 kinds of people in the world; those who understand binary and those who don't.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

My own favorite in this vein is the one about Werner Heisenberg being stopped for speeding. (For those who've never heard it, which I'd guess is practically no one here, the cop angrily asks Heisenberg, "Do you have any idea how fast you were going?" "No, sir," replies the physicist, "but I know exactly where I am.")

Two hydrogen atoms walk into a bar.
One says, “I think I’ve lost an electron.”
The other says, “Are you sure?”
The first replies, “Yes, I’m positive…”

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

wfgodbold,

"Even adders can multiply if you put them on a log table."

Oh, my. Good one.

Rusty said...

Snotzies!

Rusty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Mumpsimus,

Linguistics Prof: So we see, class, that while there are many languages in which a double negative connotes the positive, there is no language in which a double positive connotes the negative."

Student: Yeah, right!

Another keeper!

Big Mike said...

@Mumpismus, not so much a joke -- it actually happened in one of my classes. Minor changes though, because my math professor was still staring at the chalk board when the bell rang. He started off the next class by attempting to explain why it was obvious, but no one could follow his logic.

edutcher said...

I thought a joke had to be funny.

Big Mike said...

Revenant said...

There are 10 kinds of people in the world; those who understand binary and those who don't.

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who can extrapolate from incomplete information.

Revenant said...

Two hydrogen atoms walk into a bar.
One says, “I think I’ve lost an electron.”
The other says, “Are you sure?”
The first replies, “I dunno, I could be mistaken.”

The dada version of that joke for physicists who've heard the original too often. :)

Clyde said...

Interesting. I'd never heard of the Bechdel test before today, and I read about it twice! Once in a review of the new movie The Heat and now in this article about intellectual jokes. I would never have known what the two women were talking about in the joke if I hadn't read the other article earlier today.

Big Mike said...

Sorry, my comment at 4:49 related to the math professor joke at 4:32.

Two engineering students meet on their way into thermodynamics class, one of them on foot and one on a woman's bicycle.

The one on foot asks where'd you get the bike?

The second one says he was walking across campus and girl pedaled up to him, got off her bike, took off all her clothes, threw open her arms and said "you can have anything you want."

First one says "good choice -- I'll bet you couldn't have fit any of her clothes."

Rusty said...

What's green and eats nuts?

gonnorhea

Big Mike said...

A mathematician is sleeping in a hotel when he is awakened by a fire alarm. Smoke is coming in under the door, and it feels hot to the touch.

The mathematician goes into the bathroom, turns on the faucet, and says "Ah! a solution exists!"

And goes back to bed.

Sdv1949 said...

@michelle

So, Heisenberg and Fineman go on a road trip....

3 irishmen leave a bar

Rusty said...

What do you call a jews in Florida?

orange Jews.

What do you cALL Jews in California?

Grape Jews.

What do you call Jews in North Dakota?

Don't be stupid. There are no jews in North Dakota

3 irishmen leave a bar

Bob Ellison said...

There's also the whole series of musician jokes.

What do you call a trombone player with a cell phone?

An optimist.

What's the difference between an oboe and a bassoon?

A bassoon burns longer.

And so on. Not really intellectual jokes, but there are lots of them, and they require some degree of specific knowledge or imagination to seem funny.

Susan Stewart Rich said...

That's funny.

The worst part about being a dick is that your hair is always a mess.

Oh wait, that's not intellectual.

Iconochasm said...

Clyde said...
Interesting. I'd never heard of the Bechdel test before today, and I read about it twice! Once in a review of the new movie The Heat and now in this article about intellectual jokes. I would never have known what the two women were talking about in the joke if I hadn't read the other article earlier today.

Enjoy all the times this week you'll hear about the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon.

My favorite intellectual joke: Infinite mathematicians walk into a bar. The first one orders a beer. The second one orders half a beer. This third one orders a quarter of a beer. The bartender says "You're all idiots" and pours two beers.

Big Mike said...

@Bob Ellison, what do you call someone who hangs around with real musicians?

The drummer.

Jay Vogt said...

I don't think it's all that funny, but wasn't this the "intellectual's joke" a while back ~

"A panda walks into a restaurant, sits down and orders a sandwich. After he finishes eating the sandwich, the panda pulls out a gun and shoots the waiter, and then stands up to go. "Hey!" shouts the manager. "Where are you going? You just shot my waiter and you didn't pay for your sandwich!"

The panda yells back at the manager, "Hey man, I am a PANDA! Look it up!"

The manager opens his dictionary and sees the following definition for panda: "A tree-dwelling marsupial of Asian origin, characterised by distinct black and white colouring. Eats shoots and leaves."

Jay Vogt said...

I don't think it's all that funny, but wasn't this the "intellectual's joke" a while back ~

"A panda walks into a restaurant, sits down and orders a sandwich. After he finishes eating the sandwich, the panda pulls out a gun and shoots the waiter, and then stands up to go. "Hey!" shouts the manager. "Where are you going? You just shot my waiter and you didn't pay for your sandwich!"

The panda yells back at the manager, "Hey man, I am a PANDA! Look it up!"

The manager opens his dictionary and sees the following definition for panda: "A tree-dwelling marsupial of Asian origin, characterised by distinct black and white colouring. Eats shoots and leaves."

Darrell said...

Nikita Khrushchev actually said "We will Barry you!" that night in 1956. How could we have been so stupid?

Homophones!

Astro said...

An infinite number of mathematicians walk into a bar. The first one tells the bartender he wants a beer. The second one says he wants half a beer. The third one says he wants a fourth of a beer, and so on. The bartender puts two beers on the bar and says "You guys need to learn your limits."

Helium walks into a bar. The bartender says, "Sorry, we don't serve noble gases here." Helium doesn't react.

Then the bartender tries to take one of Helium's electrons, but fails. Helium is nonplussed.

Chip S. said...

The "lingusitics prof" joke was an actual riposte by the philosopher Sidney Morgenbesser.

The most intellectual joke I know is actually a riddle:

Q: What does the "B." in "Benoit B. Mandlebrot" stand for?

A: "Benoit B. Mandelbrot"

Astro said...

There needs to be a term like " L'esprit de l'escalier " * that describes posting an idea only to find out that someone else posted the same idea while you were busy typing.

* The French phrase that means thinking of a good retort, but too late to use it.

Heisenberg and Schrodinger are on a road trip, when a cop pulls them over. The officer walks up and asks if they know how fast they’re going. Heisenberg replies that they do not, but know with high precision where they are. The cop thinks that’s weird, and begins to search the vehicle. He opens the trunk and asks, “did you know you’ve got a dead cat in the trunk?” Schrodinger says, “well, NOW we do.”

Hammond X Gritzkofe said...

Skeleton walks into a bar. Orders a beer and a mop.

Paul Zrimsek said...

"If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate." --Steven Wright

YoungHegelian said...

A guy walks into a bar with his dog, and the bartender asks "What'll be, buddy?"

The guy says "Well, I don't have any money, but I've got a talking dog"

"Oh yeah, what can he say?"

"Lots. Watch. Hey, Rover, what's on the outside of a tree?"

"Bark" says the dog.

"What does sharkskin feel like?"

"Rough!"

"Who was the greatest German composer of the first part of the 20th century?"

"Orff!"

At this point the bartender becomes enraged and says "Get out of here, you charlatan, and take that goddamned dog with you!"

As they're walking out, the dog looks back and says "Did you think it was Hindemith?"

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Jay Vogt,

Way to spoil a joke there. The entire point was the extra comma: "Eats, shoots and leaves."

Big Mike said...

@Younghegelian, the way I heard it the third question is "who is the greatest baseball player of all time"?

Ruff!

Bartender throws the guy and his dog out in the street.

As the bartender turns back from the door he hears ...

"I guess I should have said DiMaggio."

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Bob Ellison,

There's also the whole series of musician jokes.

What do you call a trombone player with a cell phone?

An optimist.

What's the difference between an oboe and a bassoon?

A bassoon burns longer.

And so on. Not really intellectual jokes, but there are lots of them, and they require some degree of specific knowledge or imagination to seem funny.

You're obviously coming from the wind side. I know those as viola jokes.

My favorite of those involves a man on an expedition in some very rustic bit of country. There are sounds of drumming in the distance. He asks his guide what the drumming means, and gets no answer than "if drums stop, very bad."

This continues for a few days. Always the answer when he asks what the drums mean is "if drums stop, very very bad."

Finally he asks point-blank: "What happens when the drums stop?"

"Very bad. When drums stop, viola solo begins."

doustoi said...

The Dalai Lama walks into a pizza joint and says, "Can you make me one with everything?"

doustoi said...

Q: How many psychoanalysts does it take to change a light bulb?

A: One ... but the light bulb really has to want to change.

ironrailsironweights said...

I locked my keys in the car and had to go to a nearby business to ask for a coat hanger.

My God, those people at Planned Parenthood have an attitude problem!

Peter

Jay Vogt said...

MDT, I think the joke was spoiled before I got there. IMHO.

The dictionary definition wouldn't use the comma.

As Churchill was reputed to have said, "This is the sort of English up with which I will not put." ~ pretty good joke in and of itself.

Crunchy Frog said...

A seriously depressed woman stands at the edge of a cliff, trying to get the nerve up to jump.

A passing hobo stops and says, "Since you're about to kill yourself anyway, would you mind if we had sex first?"

The woman said "Hell no...get away from me!"

The bum turned to leave and muttered, "Fine, I'll just go wait at the bottom".

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Jay Vogt,

MDT, I think the joke was spoiled before I got there. IMHO.

The dictionary definition wouldn't use the comma.

The "dictionary definition" of what? The point (man, I hate explaining jokes) is that in "eats shoots and leaves," "shoots and leaves" are nouns, but in "eats, shoots and leaves" they're verbs. Though we Oxford comma nuts would put another comma after "shoots."

Molly said...

The thing about Sartre was that he also thought that when something was there, nothing was there.

And in his case, he may have been right.

gpm said...

Nobody noticed the ripoff from Ninotchka? For this, I think, Garbo cries, not laughs. Or is that off topic?

--gpm

kentuckyliz said...

What's green and skates?

Peggy Phlegm.

Dr Weevil said...

Q. Why did the ram commit suicide?
A. He heard someone singing "There'll Never Ever Be Another You".

Don't make me explain it. I once told it in a Latin class and one of the students begged me to do more Latin exercises.

Dr Weevil said...

Q. Why did the cowboy buy a weiner dog? [For you northerners, that's another name for a dachshund.]
A. He'd heard that the cowboy motto is "Get a Long Little Dawgy".

Dr Weevil said...

Wait, you wanted intellectual jokes? Here's one:

Descartes and Spinoza are walking down the street on a very hot day, and Spinoza suggests stopping at a bar for a nice cold beer. Descartes says "I think not" . . . and disappears.

Eric Jablow said...

First, a classic Polish joke:

A plane crashes just outside Warsaw. Two investigators from the Polish Government comes to pore over the wreckage, and they find the black box. They take it back to Warsaw and listen to the recording.

Captain: "Ladies and gentlemen, you can now see Krakow from the port side of the plane."

And, an hour later:

Captain: "You can now see Warsaw from the starboard side of the plane."

There's a lot of noise from the cabin; evidently people are rushing to the side of the plane to look through the windows. Suddenly, an alarm goes off.

One investigator exclaims to the other, "The fools! Everyone knows that any dynamical system is unstable if you have poles on the right side of the plane."

That's actually a standard result in stability theory.

I came up with this riddle a long time ago at a math conference:

Q. "When the bases are loaded, and no one is out, what PDE must the pitcher attempt to solve?"

A. "The KdP Equation."

This was at a conference that covered a lot of results on the Korteweg-deVries [KdV] equation. The two people I told this to were both baseball fans. K, of course, is the abbreviation for strikeout and DP is for double-play.

Dr Weevil said...

Do Astronomy and Physics jokes count?

Q. What's up?
A. The Zenith?

Q. What's new?
A. Pi over Lambda.

(The standard Greek letter variable names for frequency and wavelength are Pi and Lamba, and the two are - obviously, when you think about it - reciprocal.)

David Savage said...

Descartes walks into a bar. The bartender says "Hey buddy, do you want a drink?" Descartes says "I think not," then he disappears.

Christy said...

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

My favorite answer: Because there is a B in both and an N in neither.

Jay Vogt said...

. . . MDK, said "The "dictionary definition" of what? The point (man, I hate explaining jokes) is that in "eats shoots and leaves," "shoots and leaves" are nouns, but in "eats, shoots and leaves" they're verbs. Though we Oxford comma nuts would put another comma after "shoots."

OK as much as you may hate explaining jokes - that's how much I hate explaining declarative sentences. You ask, "the dictionary definition of what?" Answer: the dictionary definition of PANDA. The same dictionary definition that is referenced in the punchline of the joke. Jeeesh.

At least read my answer man. Eats shoots and leaves is what a panda does hence that's what the dictionary would say under the definition for the asian marsupial. Eats, shoot and leaves is what a hungery rifleman does as be departs. Another comma may be inserted as you Oxford types might like.

Eats shoots and leaves (verb noun and noun) NO COMMA is what the DEFINITION of PANDA should read. As it does in the joke.

I really don't want to explain this to you again.

Jim S. said...

How many light bulbs does it take to change a light bulb?

One, if it knows its GÃ¶del number.

Jim S. said...

A rabbi, an Irishman, and a one-eyed, one-armed, one-legged leper walk into a bar. The bartender looks at them and says, "What is this, a joke?"

William said...

What's the difference between a hormone and an enzyme? An enzyme doesn't make any noise in bed.

Unknown said...

Q. How Many abstract artists does it take to change a lightbulb?

A. A fish.

Ken Mitchell said...

doustoi said...

The Dalai Lama walks into a pizza joint and says, "Can you make me one with everything?"
6/28/13, 6:57 PM

The bill for the pizza was \$25, and the Lama paid with two twenties. The cashier put the bills in the drawer, and turned away. The Lama said, "Where's my change?"

The cashier replied, "Change must come from within!"

doustoi said...

Alright, it's not intellectual, it's just a lightbulb joke:

Q: How many Jewish mothers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: That's alright, I'll just sit here in the dark.

Rusty said...

An English department Don is crossing the quad with two of his graduate students when he spies a group of scantily clad hookers.
"Now ladies and gentlemen. What would you call that?" pointing to the working girls
"Uh, uh a pod of prostitutes?"
"A good effort, David. Jennifer?"
"An assortment of tarts?"
"Better."
"What would you call them professor?"
" Ah.There goes , my friends, an essay of pros."

Joseph Blieu said...

Two Soviet prisoners are digging canal. One says "how long are you in for?" Other answers "20 years." Next day first one says "What did you do?" Other says "I did nothing." Next day first says "You are lying, everyone know for nothing you get only 10 years."

Joseph Blieu said...

Two Soviet prisoners are digging canal. One says "how long are you in for?" Other answers "20 years." Next day first one says "What did you do?" Other says "I did nothing." Next day first says "You are lying, everyone know for nothing you get only 10 years."

mikeski said...

Since I'm far to late to post the Heisenberg/speeding joke, here's my next-favorite one:

Three mathematicians walk into a bar.

The barkeep says "I know this is probably a joke, but I'll play along. You all want a beer?"

The first one says "I don't know."

The second says "I don't know."

The third says "Yes!"