Joke time (Spring 2009)

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’s the first derivative of a cow?
A: Prime rib.

Q: What do you get when you divide the circumference of a jack-o-lantern by its diameter?
A: Pumpkin pi.

Q: What’s a proof?
A: One-half of one percent of alcohol.

Q: Did you hear about the constipated mathematician?
A: Yeah. He worked it out with a pencil.

Q: What do you get when you cross a mountain climber and a mosquito?
A: You can’t cross a scalar with a vector!

Q: Why did the mathematician name his dog Cauchy?
A: Because it left a residue around every pole.

Q: What does a topologist call a virgin?
A: Simply connected.

Q: What do you call a fear of convergent series?
A: Zenophonbia.


A Dozen, a Gross and a Score,
plus three times the square root of four,
divided by seven,
plus five times eleven,
equals nine squared and not a bit more.

Little Johnny returns from school and says he got an F in arithmetic. “Why?” asks the father. The teacher asked ‘How much is 2×3?’ I said ‘6’” “But that’s right!” “Then she asked me ‘How much is 3×2?'” “What’s the fucking difference?” asks the father. Little Johnny replies “That’s what I said!”

Rene Descartes walks into a bar. The bartender approaches him and asks, “Ah, good evening Monsieur Descartes! Shall I serve you the usual drink?” Descartes replies “I think not,” and promptly vanishes.

Three mathematicians walk into a bar. You’d think the third one would have ducked.

An infinite number of mathematicians walk into a bar. The first orders a beer. The second orders half a beer. The third orders a quarter of a beer. Before the next one can order, the bartender says, “You’re all assholes,” and pours two beers.

A dyslexic mathematician walks into a bra.

A mathematician, a physicist, and an engineer walk into a bar. The barman looks at the three and says, “Is this some kind of joke?”

Theorem. All numbers are equal.
Proof. Let a and b be arbitrary numbers, and let t denote their sum. Then

Q.E.D.

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 farmer’s chickens stopped laying eggs. He calls his friend, a mathematician, for help. The mathematician comes out to the farm, inspects the chickens, and copies some measurements down on a pad of paper before heading back to the university to do some calculations. A week later, he calls the farmer excitedly. “I’ve found a solution!” he cries, adding, “but it only works for a spherical chicken in a vacuum.”

In a dark alley, a function and a differential operator meet. says the operator, “Get out of my way, or I’ll differentiate you till you’re nothing!” “Yeah?” counters the function, “I’m ex.” “Yeah,” replies the operator. “I’m d/dy.”

Two mathematicians are looking at an infinite sum scrawled on a blackboard. After staring at it for a while, they both agree that the series does, in fact, converge. Staring at it a little longer, the first one says, “Do you realize that the series still converges even when all the terms are made positive?” The second asks, “Are you sure about that?” The first smiles: “Absolutely.”

Mathematical pick-up lines:

  • I’ll take you to the limit if you show me your end behavior.
  • I don’t know if you’re in my range, but I’d like to take to home to my domain.
  • You’ve got more curves than a triple integral.
  • I wish I was your asymptote, so then I could take you to the limit.
  • I wish I was your derivative, so I could be tangent to your curves.
  • I wish I was your integral, so I could be the space beneath your curves.
  • I wish I was your calculus homework, so I’d be really hard, and you’d be doing me on your desk.

Mathematical insults:

  • Me = s(t). You = s”'(t).
  • Your mama’s easier than the trivial solution.
  • Your mama’s so fat, she’s isomorphic to a proper subgroup of herself.

A math convention and an engineering convention were being held in the same city. Consequently, a bunch of mathematicians and a bunch of engineers were on the same train headed for the city. Each of the engineers had his/her train ticket. The group of mathematicians had only ONE ticket for all of them. The engineers started laughing and snickering.

Then, one of the mathematicians said “here comes the conductor” and then all of the math majors went into the bathroom. The engineers were puzzled. The conductor came aboard and said “tickets please” and got tickets from all the engineers. He then went to the bathroom and knocked on the door and said “ticket please” and the mathematicians stuck the ticket under the door. The conductor took it and then the mathematicians came out of the bathroom a few minutes later. The engineers were dumbfounded.   So, on the way back from the convention, the group of engineers had one ticket for the group. They started snickering at the mathematicians, for the whole group had no tickets amongst them. Then, the mathematicians’ lookout said “Conductor coming!”. All the mathematicians went to the bathroom. All the engineers went to another bathroom. Then, before the conductor came on board, one of the mathematicians left the bathroom, knocked on the other bathroom, and said “ticket please.”

Three engineers got on a crowded lunchtime bus. They somehow worked their way to the middle of the bus where they found three girls willing to exchange their seats for a place on the guys’ laps. After they got settled and had ridden that way for a while, the first girl suddenly asked the gentleman under her whether he might be an electrical engineer. Surprised, he replied, “Yes, I am! How did you know?” “Easy,” she said. “I’m getting shocked by your soldering iron.” Just a few minutes later, the second girl asked her guy, “Are you a mechanical engineer?” He said, “Why, yes, ma’am. How did you know that?” “Simple,” she said, “Your piston is scraping my cylinder.” Shortly thereafter, the third girl turned to her fellow and asked, “Are you a civil engineer?” “I certainly am,” he answered. “How could you have known that?” “Well,” she said, “I figured it out as soon as your dam burst and flooded my village.”

Three men are in a hot-air balloon. Soon, they find themselves lost in a canyon somewhere. One of the three men says, “I’ve got an idea. We can call for help in this canyon and the echo will carry our voices far. ” So he leans over the basket and yells out, “Helllloooooo! Where are we?” They hear the echo several times. Fifteen minutes later, they hear this echoing voice: “Helllloooooo! You’re in a balloon!” One of the men says, “That must have been a mathematician.” Puzzled, one of the other men asks, “Why do you say that?” “For three reasons: (1) he took a long time to answer, (2) he was absolutely correct, and (3) his answer was absolutely useless.”

Professor Serp the mathematician was always rather absent-minded. On one occasion, he had to move into a new residence.. His wife wife didn’t trust him very much, so when they stood down on the street with all their things, she said “Now, you stand here and watch our ten trunks, while I go and get a taxi.” She left and left him there, gazing off into space and humming absently. Some minutes later she returned, presumably having called for a taxi. Said Dr. Serp: “I thought you said there were ten trunks, but I’ve only counted to nine.” Panicked that some of their possessions might have been stolen from under their noses, his wife demanded “No, they were TEN!” “No, no, no!” disagreed Dr. Serp, “Just count them. 0, 1, 2, …”

Four friends have been doing really well in their calculus class: they have been getting top grades for their homework and on the midterm. So, when it’s time for the final, they decide not to study on the weekend before, but to drive to another friend’s birthday in another city ” even though the exam is scheduled for Monday morning. As it happens, they drink too much at the party, and on Monday morning, they are all hung over and oversleep. When they finally arrive on campus, the exam is already over. They go to the professor’s office and offer him an explanation: “We went to our friend’s birthday party, and when we were driving back home very early on Monday morning, we suddenly had a flat tire. We had no spare one, and since we were driving on back roads, it took hours until we got help.” The professor nods sympathetically and says: “I see that it was not your fault. I will allow you to make up for the missed exam tomorrow morning.”
When they arrive early on Tuesday morning, the students are put by the professor in a large lecture hall and are seated so far apart from each other that, even if they tried, they had no chance to cheat. The exam booklets are already in place, and confidently, the students start writing. The first question ” five points out of one hundred ” is a simple exercise in integration, and all four finish it within ten minutes. When the first of them has completed the problem, he turns over the page of the exam booklet and reads on the next one:
Problem 2 (95 points out of 100): Which tire went flat?

A thermodynamics professor had written a take home exam for his graduate students. It had one question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or is it endothermic (absorbs heat)? Support your answer with proof. Many of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle’s Law (gas cools off when it expands and heats up when it is compressed). One student however gave the following answer:
First we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate that souls are moving into Hell, and the rate they are leaving. I think we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave (that is, after all, the point of Hell). Therefore, no souls are leaving. As for how many souls are entering Hell, lets look at the different religions that exist in the world today. Some of these religions state if you if you are not a member of there religion, you will go to Hell. Since there are more than one religion out there that has this belief, we can now assume all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rate as they are, we can now expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially.
Now, we look at the rate of change in the volume in Hell because Boyle’s Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand as souls are added. This gives two possibilities: (1) If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all hell breaks loose. (2) If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than that of the souls entering Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over. So which is it?
If we accept the postulate given to me by Ms. Theresa Banyan during my Freshman year, “That will be a cold night in Hell before I go out with you,” and take into account the fact that I still have not succeeded in getting her to go out with me, then #2 can not be true. So, Hell is exothermic.
P.S. There was only one “A” given on the exam.

Other good ones

Q: What happens when you tell a joke to an upside-down duck?
A: He quacks up.

Two sausages are in a frying pan. The first one says “Man, is it hot in here,” to which the second replies, “Holy crap! A talking sausage!”

Three blondes were taking a walk in the country when thy spy some tracks. The first declares “These must be deer tracks.” The second disagrees. “No, stupid. Anyone can tell those are rabbit tracks.” The third chirps, “You morons. Those are horse tracks.” They were still arguing ten minutes later when the train hit them.

A blonde was on the side of the road hoping to catch a ride on a terribly dark night while in the middle of a raging thunderstorm. Time passed slowly as she realized no cars were going to go by. It was raining so hard she could scarcely see her hand in front of her face when suddenly she saw a car moving slowly, appearing translucent and ghost-like in the rain. The car slowly crept toward her and lurched to a stop.
Wanting a ride so very badly, the lady quickly jumped in the car and closed the door. It was only then that she realized there was no driver behind the wheel. The car slowly started moving slowly forward and the stranded woman became terrified… too terrified to even think of jumping out and running.
In stark terror, she saw that the car was slowly approaching a sharp curve, with the icy black waters of the lake just below and no guardrail to protect her. Still too scared to jump out, she started to pray and begged God to spare his life. She was sure the ghost car would go off the road and into the lake where she would surely drown.
Then, just before the curve, a pale hand appeared through the driver’s window and gently turned the steering wheel, guiding the car safely around the bend. Paralyzed with fear, the frightened woman watched the hand reappear every time the ghost car reached a curve.
Finally, scared near to death and with all any human could take, the blonde jumped out of the car and ran the rest of the way to town. Wet and in shock, she went into a bar and with quavering voice, began to relate her story to all about her supernatural experience. A silence enveloped the bar as the barflies realized that this poor woman was telling the truth and wasn’t just some drunk.
About half an hour later two guys walked into the bar and one said to the other, “Look Ole, der’s dat idiot dat rode in our car while we was pushin’ it in the pouring rain!”

A pirate walks into a bar with a steering wheel sticking out of his pants. The bartender says, “Hey Pirate…do you realize there is a steering wheel sticking out of your pants?” The pirate walks over to the bartender and says, “ARRRGGHHH… it’s drivin’ me nuts!”

A guy walks into a bar with his pet monkey, sits down and orders a drink. Shortly after, the monkey starts jumping all over the place and acting crazy. The monkey grabs some olives off the bar and eats them; grabs some sliced limes and eats them; then jumps up on the pool table, grabs the cue ball, sticks it in his mouth and swallows it whole. The bartender screams at the guy, “Did you see what your monkey just did?” “Yeah, yeah,” sighs the guy. “Stupid monkey always eats everything in sight. He’s got quite an appetite.” He the finishes his drink, pays for the cue ball and the olives and the limes, and leaves. Two weeks later he’s back at the same bar again, monkey by his side as usual. He orders a drink and the monkey starts running around the bar again. While the man is drinking, the monkey finds a maraschino cherry on the bar. He grabs it, sticks it up his butt, pulls it out, and eats it. The bartender is disgusted. “Did you see what your monkey did?” “Yeah, yeah,” sighs the guy. “Stupid monkey still eats everything in sight, but ever since that damn cue ball he measures it first!”

Old Man Jenkins fears his wife isn’t hearing what it used to be and he thinks she might need a hearing aid. Not quite sure how to approach her, he calls the family doctor to discuss the problem. The doctor suggests a simple informal test: “Just stand about 40 feet away from her, and in a normal conversational speaking tone see if she hears you. If not, go to 30 feet, then 20 feet, and so on until you get a response.”
That evening, Mrs. Jenkins is in the kitchen cooking dinner, and Mr. Jenkins is in the den. He says to himself, “I’m about 40 feet away, let’s see what happens.” Then in a normal tone he asks, ‘Honey, what’s for dinner?” No response. So the husband moves closer to the kitchen, about 30 feet from his wife and repeats, “Honey, what’s for dinner?” Still no response. Next he moves into the dining room where he is about 20 feet from his wife and asks, “Honey, what’s for dinner?” Again he gets no response. So, he walks up to the kitchen door, about 10 feet away. “Honey, what’s for dinner?” A gain there is no response. So he walks right up behind her. “Honey, what’s for dinner?” To which Mrs. Jenkin spins around and shouts “For the fifth time, I said CHICKEN!

Old Man Jenkins has had serious hearing problems for a number of years. He goes to the doctor, who fits him for a set of hearing aids that allow the old man to hear perfectly once again. A month later, Old Man Jenkins goes to the doctor for a check-up. “Your hearing is perfect,” says the doctor. “Your family must be really pleased that you can hear again.” Old Man Jenkins smiles. “Oh, I haven’t told my family yet. I just sit around and listen to the conversations. I’ve changed my will three times!”

One night, a father passes by his son’s room and hears his son praying: “God bless Mommy, Daddy, and Grandma. Ta ta, Grandpa.” The father isn’t quite know what this means, but is glad enough that his son was praying. The next morning, they find Grandpa dead on the floor of a heart attack. The father reassures himself that it was just a coincidence, but is still a bit spooked. The next night, he hears his son praying again: “God bless Mommy and Daddy. Ta ta, Grandma.” Sure enough, the next morning finds Grandma on the floor, dead of a heart attack. Scared, the father decides to wait outside his son’s door the next night. And sure enough, the boy starts to pray: “God bless Mommy. Ta ta, Daddy.” Now the father is panicked. He stays up all night, and goes to the doctor early the next day to make sure his health is fine. When he finally comes home, he finds his wife shaking inside. “Thank God you’re back,” she cries. “We found milkman dead on our porch this morning.”

At the morning roll call at Fort Dix, the sergeant calls out, “Platoon, atten-HUT! Private Martinez, report to the office. Your brother died last night.” The Chaplain looks on in horror. “Sergeant,” he says afterwards, “that’s a rather cruel and unfeeling way to break tragic news. We must be more gentle and less abrupt in the future,” The sergeant shrugs. “Yes sir. I’ll try to remember that,” he says, sounding unconvinced. Several days later, a call comes in again about another family death. As the troops were assemble for roll call, the Chaplain steps forward. “Let me take this one, sergeant”, he says. He turns toward the sleepy-looking soldiers and calls, “Platoon, atten-HUT !” They snap to attention. “Men, today is Mother’s Day,” says the chaplain, “and I hope all of you will be calling home to send your moms a loving thought. In fact, all of you who are fortunate enough to still have a mother who’s alive and well, take two steps forward. Private Jones… not so fast.”

A petty thief, a teacher, and a lawyer die and go to Heaven. There they find Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates. He says, “Heaven is getting too crowded, so we’ve added a new test to get into Heaven. You will each have to answer a single question.” Saint Peter turns to the thief. He says, “What was the name of the ship that crashed into the Iceberg and sunk with all its passengers?” The thief thinks a moment. “The Titanic,” he says, and he is ushered into Heaven. Next, Saint Peter turns to the thief. He says, “How many people died on the ship?” The teacher thinks a moment. “One-thousand, two-hundred twenty-eight,” he says, and he is ushered into Heaven. Finally, Saint Peter then turns to the Lawyer: “Name them.”

Q: What did the hurricane say to the palm tree?
A: Hold on to your nuts!

Q: How are women like tornadoes?
A: They both make a lot of noise when they come, and take the house with them when they leave.

Q: How is procrastination like masturbation?
A: At first it feels good, but in the end you’re only screwing yourself.

Four married guys go golfing. At the fourth hole, the first guy says “You have no idea what I had to do to be able to come out golfing this weekend.. I had to promise my wife that I will paint every room in the house next weekend.” The second guy says, “That’s nothing. I had to promise my wife that I will build her a new deck for the pool.” The third guy adds, “Man, you both have it easy! I had to promise my wife that I will remodel the kitchen for her.” They continue to play the hole when they realized that the fourth guy — a mathematician — hasn’t said a word, so they ask him about it. “I just set my alarm for 5:30am. When it went off, I gave the wife a slap on the rear and said: “˜Golf course or intercourse?’ and she said: “˜Wear sun-block’.”

And the winner is…

Q: What do you call an empty jar of spreadable cheese?
A: Cheeze Whuz.

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