- Isaac Asimov (author)
- Houghton Mifflin
- Publication year:
As advertised on the front cover, the book contains 640 jokes, anecdotes, and limericks, complete with notes on how to tell them. The jokes are sorted into eleven chapters (Anticlimax, Shaggy Dog, Paradox, Put-down, Word Play, Tables Turned, Jewish, Ethnic, Religion, Marriage, and Bawdy), more or less successfully (apparently it's hard to classify jokes).
Most of the jokes are pretty good, and some stand out. Here's a little selection:
Science has a language of its own which sometimes puzzles laymen. The word "obvious" is a case in point.
Thus a professor of physics, deriving some profound point of theory for the class, scribbled an equation on the board and said, "From this, it is obvious that we can proceed to write the following relationship —" and he scribbled a second equation on the board.
Then he paused. He stared hard at the two equations and said, "Wait a while. I may be wrong —"
He sat down, seized a pad and started to write furiously. He paused for thought, crossed out what he had written, and began over. In this fashion, half an hour passed while the class held its breath and sat in absolute silence.
Finally, the professor rose with an air of satisfaction and said, "Yes, I was right in the first place. It is obvious that the second equation follows from the first."
Two gentlemen, both hard of hearing and strangers to each other, were about to ride the London Underground. One of them, peering at the station they were entering, said, "Pardon me, sir, but is this Wembley?"
"No," said the other, "Thursday."
"No, thank you," said the first, "I've already had my little drink."
The Latin professor arrived home in a state of utter confusion, and much the worse for wear. His jacket was torn, his trousers muddy, his hat a battered ruin, his eyeglasses bent askew.
His wife ran to him, startled. "Septimus," she cried, "whatever has happened to you?"
"Why, my dear," said the professor, seating himself carefully, "I scarcely know. I was passing the corner of Second and Main when, without provocation of any sort on my part, I was suddenly assaulted by two hoodla."
The curator of one zoo was shipping several animals to another zoo, and wrote an accompanying letter which said in part, "Included are the two mongeese you asked for."
The curator paused. "Mongeese" looked funny.
He tore up the letter and tried again, saying, "Included are the two mongooses you asked for."
That looked funny, too.
After long thought, the curator began a third time and now completed it without trouble. He wrote in part, "Included is the mongoose which you requested. Included is also the other mongoose which you also requested."
Tell me why the stars do shine;
Tell me why the ivy twines;
Tell me why the skies are blue;
And I will tell you why I love you.
Nuclear fusion makes the stars to shine;
Tropisms make the ivy twine;
Rayleigh scattering makes skies so blue;
Testicular hormones is why I love you.
I highly recommend the book.
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- Table of Contents:
- I Anticlimax
- II Shaggy Dog
- III Paradox
- IV Put-Down
- V Word Play
- VI Tables Turned
- VII Jewish
- VIII Ethnic
- IX Religion
- X Marriage
- XI Bawdy