Thursday, October 30, 2008

Reason Not to Drink #482: Alcoholics Don't Get Jokes

This is off my usual topic, but was so interesting that I wanted to share it.

German researchers studying the many ways in which alcoholism screws you up found that it impairs your ability to understand a joke. This would be a tragedy in the Gruntled household.

The sample joke that they released was this one:

It was Mother's Day. Anna and her brother had told their mother to stay in bed that morning. She read her book and looked forward to breakfast. After a long wait she finally went downstairs. Anna and her brother were both eating at the table.

The subjects were given a choice of four punchlines:
a) Anna said: "Hi mum, we didn't expect you to be awake so early."
b) Anna picked up an egg and smashed it on her brother's head.
c) Her brother said: "We have a new teacher at our school."
d) Anna said: "It's a surprise for Mother's Day. We cooked our own breakfast."


The correct punchline is the last one. (Didn't get that? Put that bottle down!) Only 68% of alcoholics got that, compared to 92% of other people.

Actually, I could see how each of them could be funny in the right context.

With teenagers who sleep 'til noon, and don't realize that they normally find breakfast ready because mom gets up and makes it: Anna said: "Hi mum, we didn't expect you to be awake so early."

With the "Three Stooges: The Next Generation": Anna picked up an egg and smashed it on her brother's head.

OR with a little more dialogue: Anna picked up an egg and smashed it on her brother's head. "We were just discussing the proper method for scrambling eggs."

With ADD kids, or with the normal attention span of little kids: Her brother said: "We have a new teacher at our school."

6 comments:

Michael Kruse said...

So you're saying that drinking is no laughing matter? ;-)

katie said...

I swear I don't have a drinking problem...I thought that #3 was by far the funniest punch line. Maybe it's because I grew up in a household with extremely obtuse men or that I really like unexpected punch lines.

Kelly said...

In all fairness to drinkers, that is a pretty bad joke.

brax4444 said...

Drinking doesn't mean becoming an alcoholic, does it?

Kelly said...

Obviously drinking doesn't = alcoholism, though obviously there are high amounts of both correlation and causation.
Alcoholics were less likely to get the joke, whereas drunk people think everything is hilarious.

Red_Cleric said...

Maybe it's funnier in German. Then again maybe sober German's can't tell jokes?!?

Cute but not that funny.
Alan