Make Your Own (Math) Joke

April 22, 2010 at 12:30 am 3 comments

Here’s my favorite joke (even though it’s not a math joke):

Two cannibals are eating a clown. One turns to the other and says, “Does this taste funny to you?”

 It’s beautiful in its simplicity. Just 19 words, none of them extraneous. It’s a triumph of humor, and I tip my hat to its creator.

I love this joke, and I would have included it in Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks, but it’s not a math joke. But it got me to thinking — could it be altered so that it could be a math joke? That is, can you put two different words in the blanks below so the joke is more mathy? And can you do it so that it’s still reasonably funny?

Two cannibals are eating a ________. One turns to the other and says, “Does this taste ________ to you?”

I offered this challenge to attendees at the Math Joke Hour that I hosted yesterday at the 2010 NCTM Annual Meeting. They came up with quite a few that are worth sharing, though not all of them are mathematical:

math teacher… chalky
statistician… normal
Kenneth Appel… fruity*
actuary… bland
angel… heavenly
mechanic… greasy
Iowan… corny
pot smoker… mellow
Warren Buffett… rich
old seafarer… salty
bodybuilder… strong

Got another worth sharing? Leave it in the comments section.

* Kenneth Appel is the mathematician who, along with Wolfgang Haken, proved the Four Color Theorem in 1976.

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Venn Diagram for April Success at NCTM Annual Meeting!

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. All About Cannibals « Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks  |  September 17, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    […] Puzzles workshop at Reiter’s Books in Washington, DC. During the talk, I told the audience my favorite non-math joke, which I’ve posted on this blog before. But it’s worth repeating… Two cannibals are […]

  • […] (If you’re wondering what my favorite joke is, read all about it in Make Your Own (Math) Joke.) […]

  • 3. Joshua  |  May 28, 2015 at 11:35 pm

    An old post, but I was brought here by your 2nd favorite joke post. Here are some other versions:

    calculus teacher . . .derivative
    topologist … like a donut or a coffee cup
    number theorist . . . rational
    21 …odd (lots of other possibilities here)


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About MJ4MF

The Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks blog is an online extension to the book Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks. The blog contains jokes submitted by readers, new jokes discovered by the author, details about speaking appearances and workshops, and other random bits of information that might be interesting to the strange folks who like math jokes.

MJ4MF (offline version)

Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks is available from Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, NCTM, Robert D. Reed Publishers, and other purveyors of exceptional literature.

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April 2010

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