Posted by Michael Dickens on July 30, 2009
Here are two jokes. Very similar, and yet very different. Both written by Flight of the Conchords.
Bret: “There is no more unethical treatment of elephants.”
Jemaine: “There are no more elephants either.”
Bret: “There are no more elephants.”
Jemaine: “There is no more unethical treatment of elephants either.”
What is the difference here?
The first is funny because it is unexpected. At first you think that robots (click the link, you’ll see what I’m talking about) have eradicated all unethical treatment of animals. But then it turns out that all the elephants are dead. This could be described as black humor.
The second is also humor through unexpectedness. “There are no more elephants”, without the context of the first joke, seems like a rather neutral statement. Then, Jemaine takes an unexpected point of view by looking at the bright side, if in a rather off-color way.
I just love to kill jokes.