22 Jokes From a Colleague

August 29, 2012 at 2:31 pm 8 comments

This past Sunday, I received 22 jokes from Keith Raskin, who has, among other things, too much time on his hands. Though some of them are clearly based on old chestnuts, Keith claims that they are all his original creations.

When I suggested to Keith that he had too much time on his hands, he responded, “Not much. Enthusiasm! Maybe brief obsession.” He proved his point by sending me another four jokes.

It wouldn’t be fair for me to keep these jokes to myself. I see no reason that you shouldn’t have to suffer, too.

Of the jokes he sent, there were six that I wasn’t sure I understood or just didn’t think were funny. The jokes that immediately follow are the 16 jokes that I understood and for which I saw possible inherent humorous value. The other six appear at the bottom of the post, along with Keith’s explanations. (Warning! When a joke has to be explained, it is no longer funny!)

A math student is told by his mother to set the table.
“To what?” he replies.

Which polygon is also a card trick?

I went to see Plane Meets Plane, but there was a long line. Not much point in seeing Plane Meets Line again.

Two barcodes go to a shady optometrist. They sit and stare at a light for half an hour. One of them says, “I think this is a scan.”

Two lines walk into a barcode. They hashed it out.

What does a vegan mathematician eat?
Roots, whole numbers, natural logs, tree diagrams, and stem-and-leaf plots.

Student: What’s infinity?
Math Teacher: Think of a number.
Student: Okay, I’ve got one.
Teacher: Good. That’s not it.

Student: What’s zero?
Teacher: The number of times something happens that doesn’t.
Student: What are the chances of that?
Teacher: Exactly.

How many mathematicians does it take to change a light bulb?
On average, or do you want the whole distribution?

In life, trees grow roots.
In math, roots split logs.

A guy goes into a math store exactly eleven times.

What did the 8 say to infinity?
Rise and shine, buddy!

What did the Venn diagram say to infinity?
Eat something, dude!

How do you solve any equation?
Multiply both sides by zero.

What did the trig teacher say to the triangles?
You’re all right.

Security Guard: I need some ID.
Math Teacher: Additive or multiplicative?
Security Guard: Yours.
Math Teacher: Ah, reflexive!

In the interest of full disclosure, here are the jokes that I didn’t understand or didn’t think were funny. But Keith admits he’s not going for funny. He’s a high school teacher and is “desperate for tension breakers and minor amusements or moments of actual  engagement.”

Yes, I know that I am not the official arbiter of what’s mathematically funny. But then again — if not me, who?

What is the binomial distribution?
A free lunch program.

(“Binomial” sounds like “Buy no meal.”)

Two circles walk into a club. They made a tree.

(The suit clubs in a deck of cards is made from three circles and looks like a tree. Add two more circles, it looks even more like a tree.)

How did every student get a score over 100 on the test?
They were percentages!

(Percentages are numbers over 100, literally: for example, a% = a/100.)

What are inequalities?
Read a newspaper.

(Social commentary.)

Student: What’s abstract reasoning?
Teacher: …

A guy goes into a beleaguered math store.
Guy: What happened?
Clerk: Well, we have wall-to-wall problems, our answers are still in boxes, and our solutions are leaking out.

Along with explanations for some of the jokes above, Keith sent along four additional jokes. Here you go…

What’s the ultimate epsilon delta argument?
Public education.

Did Pythagoras do the first PPT presentation?

What’s a pyramid scheme?
Death by triangulation.

How are filmmakers topologists?
There are open and closed sets, sequences that wind up in or out of the film, full attention to surface details, whether things are connected and continuity, and lots of coffee and doughnuts.

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Keith Raskin  |  August 29, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    Ah, didn’t realize the multiply by zero joke was in there. Can’t claim that as my own. Had a roommate in college who would often say things like ‘when in doubt, multiply both sides by zero’ or ‘if you get stuck, multiply both sides by zero’. And he probably got it from someone else.

    Please note, I did warn you, Patrick, that some were old jokes reworked.

    One for the road?
    How many mathematicians does it take to change a lightbulb?
    a) n
    b) 0, it changes by infinitesimal amounts all the time.
    c) One team to work in bulb classification theory and hardware store locations on lattices, and another team to focus strictly on installation theory.
    d) Actually physically replace it or change its representation?
    e) pi
    f) Individuals or the number of subgroups?
    g) Abstract algebra

    • 2. venneblock  |  August 30, 2012 at 7:10 am

      Yep, I had been adequately warned, which is why I said that “some were based on old chestnuts.” Whatever. A funny joke is a funny joke, whether it’s completely original, modified slightly, or stolen outright. Check out my book — less than 1% completely original material!

  • 3. Keith Raskin  |  September 1, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    What did the base angles of an isosceles triangle say to each other?
    You see what I see?
    Oh, that’s a cute one!

    What’s a difference of squares?
    A Republican primary.

    What’s a contrapositive?
    When you score a point for the other team, then realize you’re ON the other team.

    What did one angle of a regular polygon say to an adjacent angle?
    See those guys, they all wanna be us.

    Three small circles walked into a club.
    They began to fractal geometrically.

    What did the integer say to the whole number?
    Hey, what’s your sign — Oooh, sorry! My bad.

    • 4. Keith Raskin  |  September 2, 2012 at 4:48 pm

      Hear about the reciprocal?
      Totally flipped out! Was too inverted.

      Hear about the guy who reversed all the numbers on his calculator?
      Wound up with an address book.

      Unsurpassed range for domain!
      And introducing our newest model
      ‘Greatest thing since the invention of i and the complex plane’. — Annulus of Mathematics
      {Do NOT run on empty, or Ka-Boom!}

  • 5. Success » Diigo Links (weekly)  |  September 2, 2012 at 4:31 am

    […] 22 Jokes From a Colleague « Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks […]

  • 6. Keith Raskin  |  September 14, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    A mathematician saw a double feature of The Matrix and Transformers and was sorely disappointed that they were not documentaries on linear algebraists. In despair she turned to graphic novels, only to find no graphs!

    In the middle of a proof, Bill lost all generality and became somebody, unfortunately a zookeeper who knew nothing of algebraic number theory!

    A mathematician’s epiphany: Let x be . . . Just Let x be!
    Some months later: Let x get a haircut and a job.

    Quick, the teacher cried, I need 150 copies of this!
    Try an exponent, said the snarky math student.

    This exponential growth must be curtailed, or else we’ll need a new definition of superscript.

    PRESIDENT: Professor, the population is exploding exponentially! What should we do?
    PROF: Take two logarithms and call me in a decade.

    • 7. Keith Raskin  |  September 26, 2012 at 11:46 am

      Heard about the mathematician who broke the law?
      He found a counterexample. Did five years on a möbius strip. Never got to the end. After that he was in and out of a Klein bottle.

  • 8. Keith Raskin  |  February 24, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Old MacEuler had a complex vector
    And to this vector he added 1
    With a 0-0 here and a 0-0 there
    Here a 0, there a 0, everywhere that’s locally analytic a 0-0
    Old MacEuler had a complex vector
    And from this he had a proof
    With a [voice of Alanis Morissette goes 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.

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