Joke time (Spring 2007)

Each semester, I offer students a last chance for extra credit by writing their favorite joke or riddle on their crib sheet, with extra credit assigned based purely on how funny I think it is. Here are some of the better ones.

Mathy contributions

Q: What does the Little Mermaid wear to math class?
A: An algebra.

Q: What is the shape of a dead parrot?
A: A polygon.

Q: Why did the mathematician-dentist name is son Pi?
A: Because everyone knows pi is transcendental.

Q: What’s the difference between a PhD in Mathematics and a large pizza.
A: The pizza can feed a family of four.

Q: How do you pick-up chicks in a Calculus II class?
A:

Q: Who was the most depressed mathematician?
A: Dedekind.
Q: How do you know?
A: Dedekind cuts.

Math problems? Call 1-800-4^x(2pi)^2-sin(b)/x^y.

Theorem: A cat has nine tails. Proof: No cat has eight tails. A cat has one more tail than no cat. Therefore, a cat has 8+1=9 tails. QED.

George W. Bush visits Algeria. As part of his program, he delivers a speech to the Algerian people: “Ya know, I regret to inform y’all that I’m gonna give this speech in English. I’da liked to talk to y’all in yer native tongue, but I was never any good at algebra.”

The ark lands after the Flood. Noah lets all the animals out, saying, “Go and multiply.” Several months pass. Noah decides to check up on the animals. All are doing fine except a pair of snakes. “What’s the problem?” asks Noah. “Cut down some trees and let us live there,” say the snakes. Noah follows their advice. Several more weeks pass. Noah checks on the snakes again. Lots of little snakes crawl over the earth, and everybody is happy. Perplexed, Noah asks, “Want to tell me how the trees helped?” “Certainly,” say the snakes. “We’re adders, and we need logs to multiply.”

A priest, a lawyer, and an engineer go to Mexico. They party a bit too hard one night and awake the next morning to find they’re about to be executed in the electric chair (though none can remember what they did to deserve it). The priest is strapped in first, and for his last words declares “I believe God will intervene on my behalf!” The guards throw the switch and nothing happens, so they assume God has intervened and let the priest go. The lawyer is strapped in next, and for his last words declares “I believe in the power of justice to protect the innocent!” The guards throw the switch and nothing happens, so they assume justice has been served and let the lawyer go. Finally, the engineer is strapped in, and for his last words declares “Well shoot! You ain’t gonna electrocute nobody if you don’t plug this dang thing in…”

Three engineers are discussing the wonders of the human body. All agree that God must have been an engineer himself, but disagree as to what kind. The first engineer says, “God must have been a mechanical engineer. Look at all the joints and muscles and structures in the body. Definitely mechanical.” The second says, “God must have been an electrical engineer. Look at the miles and miles of nerves we have running through our bodies, not to mention the brain. Definitely electrical.” The third engineer shrugs. “You two have got it all wrong… God was a civil engineer. Who else would run a toxic waste pipeline right through a recreational area?”

Johnny was in his arithmetic class when the teacher singles him out. “If I gave you $20,” she asks, “and you gave $5 to Mary and $5 to Sally and $5 to Betty, what would you have?” Johnny smiles. “One helluva good time!”

A math professor was explaining a particularly complicated concept to his class when a pre-med student interrupted him. “Why do we have to learn this stuff?” the premed blurted out. “Because math saves lives,” answered the professor. “How?” demanded the student. The professor answered: “Because it keeps certain people out of medical school.”

A farmer was showing a mathematician around his fields. Frustrated by his endless demonstrations of cerebral aptitude, the farmer decided to teach him a lesson. He took the mathematician to a field that packed with hundreds of grazing sheep, all moving around, and challenged the mathematician “If you can guess the exact number of sheep in this field, I’ll give you all of them!” The mathematician looked thoughtful for a moment, and his eyes darted back and forth rapidly. Presently he announced, “Two hundred and fourteen.” The farmer gaped, too stunned to calculate his loss yet, “How on Earth did you do that? There’s no way you could have counted all those sheep that fast!” “You’re absolutely right,” the mathematician replied. “I counted all the legs, and then divided by four.”

I got a lot of pictures this time, too:

Other good ones

Jake hears a knock on his door. He opens it and finds a snail there. “Gimme a hamburger!” demands the snail. Jake gets mad and kicks the snail. Twenty years later, Jake hears another knock at his door. He opens it to finds the same snail there. “What’d you do that for?”

Three little old ladies are sitting on a park bench when a flasher steps up and opens his trenchcoat wide. The first two old ladies had a stroke, but the third lady couldn’t reach.

A woman walks into a bar and says “Gimme a double entendre.” So the barkeep gives her one.

A string walks into a bar and orders a drink. The bartender says, “I’m sorry, but we don’t serve strings here.” The disgruntled string walks outside, unravels his edges, and ties himself into a bow. He again walks into the bar and orders a drink. “Say,” says the bartender, “aren’t you that string that just came in here?” The string shakes his head and says, “No, I’m a frayed knot.”

A panda walks into a bar, but before he can order anything, the barkeep chases him out the door and yells “Don’t come back!” When his assistant asks why, the barkeep says “We don’t serve pandas,” and leaves it at that. The next day, the panda returns to the bar, but before he can order anything, the barkeep chases him out the door again and yells “Don’t come back!” When his assistant asks why, the barkeep says “We don’t serve pandas,” and leaves it at that. On the third day, the panda walks into the bar, but the barkeep (being in the back restocking the booze) doesn’t see. It walks up the bar and orders a hamburger. It then scarfs it down, pulls out a handgun, and shoots several patrons before it runs off. The barkeep rushes back at the sounds of the gunshots, only to see the devastation. “What happened?” he asks the assistant. Dumbfounded, he answers “The panda…” “Dammit man,” shouts the barkeep. “Don’t you know anything about pandas? A panda eats chutes and leaves!”

George Dubya Bush is awakened one night to a spooky sound in the White House. He investigates and finds the ghost of George Washington wandering the halls. “Hey George,” asks Dubya, “my presidency’s failing and I’m losing the trust of the people. What can I do to better serve my fellow Americans?” Washington ponders this gravely, then answers: “Always tell the truth, even if it hurts you to do so.” Dubya doesn’t like the sound of that, but says he’ll try. The next night, he wakes up to find the ghost of Thomas Jefferson wandering the halls. Dubya asks: “Hey Tom, my presidency’s failing and I’m losing the trust of the people. What can I do to better serve my fellow Americans?” Jefferson ponders this gravely, and then answers: “Always listen to the will of the people, even if you find it disagreeable.” The following night, he wakes up again, this time to find the ghost of his idol Abraham Lincoln wandering the halls. Dubya asks: “Hey Abe, my presidency’s failing and I’m losing the trust of the people. What can I do to better serve my fellow Americans?” Lincoln ponders this gravely, and then answers: “Go to the theater.”

During a trans-Atlantic flight, both engines of a 747 blow out and the pilot announces that the plane is going to crash into the freezing ocean. The passengers began to panic, except for a couple at the back of the plane. The woman looks at her man, rips off her blouse and skirt and says, “Make me feel like a woman one last time before we die.” Her man looks back at her, rips off his shirt and pants, and says “Here. Iron these.”

During his sermon, a minister asks his congregation if anyone had been married for fifty years. “I’ll celebrate my 50th in two days,” says Ralph. After a round of applause, the minister asks Ralph to share some insight into a successful married life. “Well,” Ralph replies, “I treated her with respect, spent money on her, and took her traveling on special occasions. Like for our 25th anniversary, I took her to Beijing.” The minister beams: “What an inspiration to us all. What do you have planned for your 50th anniversary?” Ralph shrugs. “I’m going to back to Beijing to get her.”

An Englishman, a Frenchman, and an American were traveling through the Amazon when they are captured by natives. The chief tells them they are to be killed, and their skins used to make canoes; however, the men may choose the manner in which they are killed. The Englishman demands a gun. Upon getting it, he cries “God save the Queen” and shoots himself. The Frenchman demands a sword. Upon getting it, he cries “Vive la France!” and impales himself. The American demands a fork. Upon getting it, he stabs himself repeated over his whole body and shouts “Screw your canoes!”

Bill goes to the circus. A clown leads a donkey into the center ring and then asks Bill to identify the type of animal it is. Bill replies “That would be a jackass,” to which the clown replies, “No, that would be a donkey. You’re the jackass!” The crowd explodes into laughter, and Bill is humiliated and angry, but has no reply. Dead set on revenge, Bill goes to college and, after four years and $50 thousand, earns a B.A. in Witty Comebacks. Bill returns to the circus, and (sure enough!) the same clown leads a donkey into center ring and (sure enough again!) asks Bill to identify the type of animal. Bill replies “That would be a jackass,” to which the clown replies, “No, that would be a donkey. You’re the jackass!” The crown again explodes into laughter, but as soon as it subsides, Bill stands up, defiantly points his finger at the clown and yells, “Screw you, clown!” And leaves.

MA kindergarten teacher is trying to explain the definition of “definitely” to her class. To make sure of their understanding, she asks several students to us it in a sentence. “The sky is definitely blue,” says Molly. “Well,” says the teacher, “sometimes when it’s rainy, the sky is grey, so that’s not completely true.” “Grass is definitely green,” offers Joey. “Well,” says the teacher, “sometimes when it’s very hot, grass becomes brown, so that isn’t entirely correct either.” Ray then raises his hands and asks, “Teacher, do farts have lumps?” The teacher scowls and replies “No, they don’t.” “Well then,” announces Ray, “I have definitely crapped my pants.”

Two little brothers hear some folks cussing and think it sounds pretty cool, so they decide to try it out. The next morning at breakfast, their mom asks “What do you want to eat?” The older brother replies “I want some fucking pancakes!” Mom is so horrified that she yanks him out of his chair, beats him black and blue, and sends him to his room. When she returns, Mom asks the younger brother “What do you want to eat?” Terrified, he squeals “I don’t want any fucking pancakes!”

And the winner is…

You know you’re a mathematician if you’ve ever wondered how Euler pronounced Euclid.

Update!

I totally forgot to mention this notable entry, which appeared not on the exam itself, but in tee-shirt form:

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