Alex Balk

Nov 12

These are the jokes, the thrilling conclusion.

Those things were so long, right? Sorry. But I needed the set-up to explain this: Back when I was employed, I briefly had the idea of doing a crowdsourcing feature for jokes. My basic theory is that jokes are dead. When’s the last time someone told you a new joke? Not a bit, or a story, or a funny overheard line, but an honest-to-goodness joke? I think between the way we read and write the Internet and our crippling addiction to irony in all its forms, we’ve lost either the interest or the ability to tell actual jokes anymore.

Take the two jokes below. You may find them funny or not, but rest assured, they were both very big in their day, and that day probably spanned a good sixty or so years, if not longer.

But today? They don’t work. What traveling salesman these days wouldn’t have access to a cell phone and 24-hour roadside assistance? And, sure, you could update the Cindy Crawford one to make it someone like Megan Fox (who, by the way, is hot as fuck), but you’re essentially still working from a very old template.

So my idea was to ask a bunch of people if they could come up with new jokes. I’m not even sure how they would work, what the structure would be, or what they’d be about. (Probably something web-related.) But they’d have to be bona fide jokes, not McSweeneysesque lists or Daily Show routines. Obviously, now that I’m free and easy I’ve got nowhere to go with this one, but if you feel like you’re somehow able to rescue the dying medium of the joke, feel free to e-mail me your contribution or reblog it on your Tumblr or whatever. If it’s really, really good, I’ll tell you the classic about the black guy and the French guy on the subway, which, for various reasons mainly having to do with it being incredibly racist, you don’t hear all that often these days. I’ve also got a clean, non-racist one involving polar bears which I will share instead if you’re sensitive about that kind of thing. Okay, make me laugh! God knows I need it.