We’ve just got into joke telling at our house. Or to be more accurate, I’ve decided that at 5 years old, my daughter should learn how to tell a few gags. My reasoning was that, having not long started school, it would help her to make a few more friends (although I do have a vague recollection that when I was her age, the class clown was friendless and just a little bit smelly), and that I would have a new audience for my tired repertoire. What better place to start than with a few “knock, knock” jokes, I thought. The formula is simple there are almost limitless variations and a huge amount of fun can be had.
Well as the old Jewish proverb goes; “man plans, and God laughs”, or more accurately Ross plans, and no one laughs, as I rapidly discovered that whilst I understand a knock, knock joke (and I’m hoping that you do too), explaining how and why they work, is really pretty difficult. It’s like trying to explain what water tastes like (it tastes like water), or like Albert Einstein attempting to demonstrate to a doom brain like me, how E does equal mc². These are things that simply are and I at least don’t question. They do what they are supposed to do or taste the way they are supposed to taste and that is all I need to know.
Anyway, this is pretty much how my comedy tutorial went.
Around the dinner table one evening, I began by bringing out a few rib ticklers, not my best material, at least not yet. This prompted a fierce discussion with my daughter about why it should be funny. In the end I had to resort to the age old “I’m your Dad and I said so,” chestnut. Not the most promising of starts, I agree, and this prompted a lot of very serious thought as I sat on the toilet later that evening.
Well, imaging my surprise when over breakfast the next morning, my daughter turned to me and said “Knock knock.”
I was quietly elated, and wanted to hug her. I briefly toyed with the idea of contacting an agent with a view to starting a national tour (all for my daughter’s benefit you understand), but thought that perhaps I should exercise a little caution.
“Who’s there?” I replied.
“Bee,” came the response. Now I was getting excited. “I’ve not heard this one,” I thought. “My five year old is writing her own jokes. Maybe an international tour would be more appropriate.”
“Bee is for breakfast, yummy, yummy!” and with that she continued to eat her porridge. She was so intent on finishing her oats that she didn’t notice my shoulders slump, that wistful look in my eye evaporate and my breath catch. Put simply, I was crushed.
My two year old son was also keen to get in on the game though.
“Knock, knock,” he asked.
My heart leapt. “Well at least one of them gets it,” I silently rejoiced.
My boy began to cackle mirthlessly, and whilst it was very cute, (this has since become one of his party pieces), it cut me to my very core! In fact, if you asked one of my workmates how I was that day, they probably would have told you that I was having serious matrimonial issues!
Weeks have passed and I still haven’t unleashed my “A material” but I think that my daughter at least is starting to understand. Just this morning she treated me to this beaut.
“Boo is what you say when you try to scare me.”