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Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

Agosto 2014
Quando qualcuno inizia a raccontare una barzelletta, ci si aspetta la battuta finale. Se la battuta non arriva, i casi sono due: o la persona si è dimenticata la storiella oppure siamo davanti a un caso di anti-humour. È un tipo di umorismo al contrario, basato sul fattore sorpresa. Non fa ridere, e dunque... fa ridere! (ok, non a tutti...)

di Emgeli Haupt © British Council

File audio:

Speaker: Rachel Roberts (Standard British accent)

Question: Why did the chicken cross the road?
Answer: To get to the other side.
Question: How many electricians does it take to change a light bulb?
Answer: One.
Question: If you have four apples in one hand, and six oranges in the other, what do you have?
Answer: Quite large hands.

THE PUNCHLINE

Did you find those jokes funny? If not, it probably means you are not a fan of anti-humour. We normally laugh at jokes because the joke-teller creates certain expectations while telling the joke, and we start laughing at the punchline when it does not meet these expectations.
Anticlimax jokes, like the ones we’ve just heard, also do not meet our expectations, but in this case it’s because they are not funny. Ironic, isn’t it? They state the obvious, by giving an answer that is easier than you expect.

A SHAGGY DOG STORY

A shaggy dog story is another example of a joke that ends with a silly punchline. So, in other words, there’s this joke … and it doesn’t matter what it’s about ... the joke can start in a bar … or in a hotel … or in a small town … that’s not the point. The joke goes on and on … and on. The joke-teller gives you detail after detail  … when you have imagined all the events in this long and complicated story … Bam! The punchline! And what’s so funny about the last line? Nothing!

STAND-UP

Many stand-up comedians use anti-humour, which seems to be funnier because they always look serious. Perhaps it’s not funny at all but, as they say, laughter is contagious. So if you are laughing because the joke was funny, it’s likely that other people are also laughing. And if you are not laughing because you didn’t think it was funny, maybe you are missing the most important ingredient which is, according to scientists: other laughers.
One last question: What did the doctor say to the patient who couldn’t laugh?
Maybe you can think of a punchline that will make the patient start laughing … or maybe not!


ANTO-HUMOUR JOKES

A HORSE WALKS INTO A BAR. THE BARTENDER ASKS, “WHY THE LONG FACE?”
THE HORSE DOES NOT RESPOND BECAUSE IT IS A HORSE. IT CAN NEITHER SPEAK NOR UNDERSTAND ENGLISH. IT IS CONFUSED BY ITS SURROUNDINGS AND GALLOPS OUT OF THE BAR, KNOCKING OVER A FEW TABLES.

WHAT DO YOU CALL A DOG WITH NO LEGS?
IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOU CALL HIM, HE ISN’T COMING.

A PRIEST AND A RABBI WALK INTO A BAR.
THEY HAVE NOTHING IN COMMON, WHY WOULD THEY BE THERE TOGETHER!?

WHAT IS GREEN AND HAS WHEELS?
GRASS, I LIED ABOUT THE WHEELS.

WHAT’S BIG, WHITE, AND WILL KILL YOU IF IT FALLS FROM A TREE?
A FRIDGE.


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Explains

Shaggy dog story. Un racconto tirato apposta per le lunghe e super-dettagliato, che finisce con una non-battuta oppure con una freddura o un gioco di parole. Questa frase è molto usata nel mondo anglofono ma l’origine non è chiara. L’ipotesi più accreditata è che abbia avuto origine proprio da una di queste storielle lunghe e inconcludenti che parlava di un cane col pelo lungo (shaggy).