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Society, Politics & Law
  • Video
  • 5 mins
  • Level 1: Introductory

Joke booth: Take my wife... please

Updated Friday 1st June 2007

James from Swansea came at us with a humour barrage


Copyright The Open University


I must tell you about when I was a school boy. I was the only boy in school who won the 3 legged race on his own.... ha ha ha... daft isn't it...

Then, when I got married, my wife said, 'you know, our anniversary coming up. It only seems like yesterday doesn't it?'. I said 'I wish it was tomorrow, I could bloody cancel it'

And then she said 'What would you say if I threatened to leave you?' and I said 'Taxi!' She didn't laugh.

I don't know why, she hasn't got a sense of humour. I came home one day and said 'do you notice anything different about me Danny? I said 'No, what is it, hair cut?' She said 'No, it's this bloody gas mask I'm wearing'...

I was telling my neighbour, he had a bit of bad luck, didn't he. Bought a packet of after eight mints and died at half past seven.

And then again, my wife ran off with the next door neighbour and I don't half miss him. He's a bloody nice bloke...

I'd better stop there. I can upset my wife if I go too far. You know, I said to her the other day, you my darling, you're as pretty as an oil painting. And we all know they look better from a distance.

I came rushing home one day, I took my wife's pants off, her bra off... everything... she said what for Jim? I said 'cos they were killing me!

Wicked bugger when I was at school. My mum caught me putting a cat flap in the budgie's cage.

Marie Gillespie Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Marie Gillespie Marie says

This is a Swansea man in his 70s telling a string of jokes but cleverly weaving them into a personal narrative. In the survey we found that people from Swansea and Liverpool were much more likely to tell narrative jokes. They were also very skilled storytellers.

The joke about the wife wearing a gas mask has been in circulation since World War II. Like many of the jokes above, they express, albeit playfully, a crude male misogyny. Homophobia, xenophobia, misogyny continue to be dominant themes in popular jokes.

In the late 1970s and 80s, modern British alternative comedy emerged. It reacted against sexist, racist and homophobic jokes. But alternative comedy is an upper-middle class phenonomenon.


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