Make Your Own (Math) Joke
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
Kenneth Appel… fruity*
pot smoker… mellow
Warren Buffett… rich
old seafarer… salty
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.