knock knock

31 Comedians Share Their Favorite Joke-Joke

From puns to chickens crossing the road to giving Willie Nelson a blowjob.

Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photos by Getty Images
Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photos by Getty Images

Jokes like grandpa tells or the ones from joke books you give your kid have no place onstage — at least anymore. A century ago, comics might’ve told “street jokes,” but slowly the practice grew hack. Eventually, as comedians grew increasingly observational, personal, and political, the idea of doing a stock one-liner became absurd. Comedians tell jokes, but they don’t tell jokes. Again, that is onstage. Offstage, it’s a different story. Some comedians love telling street jokes in green rooms, and some carry one around with them in case of a radio appearance or bothersome person sitting next to them on a plane. As a result, if you need a joke in a pinch, a comedian is not a terrible person to ask.

Luckily, Vulture’s comedy podcast Good One has done the work for you, asking comedian guests the question: “What’s your favorite joke-joke?” And now, we’ve compiled a collection of their answers here. That’s right: This is a list with no observational humor, no prop comedy, and no “comedic songs.” Just pure, unadulterated joke-jokes that you can steal for your next icebreaker.

“‘What’s the difference between a refrigerator and an elephant?’ ‘What?’ ‘Are you stupid? Like, everything.’” —Nikki Glaser

“A guy walks into a bar and says, ‘Ouch.’” —Sam Richardson

“‘Hey, ask me if I’m a dinosaur.’ ‘Are you a dinosaur?’ ‘No.’” —Jamie Lee

“A couple is lying in bed. It’s the middle of the night and there’s a knock on the door at three in the morning, and the guy gets up out of bed and opens the door. He comes back to bed and his wife says, ‘Who is that?’ And he says, ‘Oh, some stranger who wanted a push. I told him I couldn’t help him.’ She says, ‘What if that was you? What if you needed a push in the middle of the night?’ He says, ‘You’re right. Fine.’ So he gets dressed and he goes out into the darkness and yells, ‘Hey man, are you still there? Do you still need help?’ The guy yells back, ‘Yeah, I do!’ He says, ‘Where are you?’ And he says, ‘I’m over here on the swing.’” —Tig Notaro

“There is this moose hunter, and he’s hunting moose in the woods. And there is another guy who is walking in the woods, and he yells over at him from a mile away, ‘Don’t shoot me! I’m not a moose!’ And the day goes on, and they get to half a mile away from each other, and the guy sees the moose hunter again, and shouts out, ‘Hey don’t shoot me! I’m not a moose!’ Then later, they’re all of a sudden 200 feet away from each other and the guy sees the moose hunter again, and he shouts, ‘Hey don’t shoot me! I’m not a moose!’ Now they’re ten feet away from each other, and the guy shouts again ‘Don’t shoot me! I’m not a moose!’ And the moose hunter turns the gun and shoots him, and the guy falls to the ground dying and goes, ‘Why did you shoot me? I told you I wasn’t a moose!’ And the moose hunter goes, ‘Oh. I thought you said you were a moose.’” —Vanessa Bayer

“Did you hear what happened when the guy who wrote the song ‘The Hokey Pokey’ died? They couldn’t close his coffin. Every time they put a right foot in, he put his left foot out.” —Felipe Esparza

“Why’d the man get fired from the orange-juice factory? He couldn’t concentrate.” —Craig Robinson

“I was in premed, and I remember one time I was doing rounds, and a guy had been in a motorcycle accident and broken his jaw — it was all wired shut — and he said: [Muffled sounds.] They say, ‘Well, we have to feed you through the back door.’ So they flipped him over on his stomach, and they put a funnel in his ass. He says, ‘Well, I’m kind of hungry. What’s for lunch?’ They say, ‘We have roast beef, broccoli, a baked potato, and hot chocolate.’ [Muffled sounds of agreement.]  So they pour it down the funnel and he goes, ‘OH!’ And they said, ‘Too hot?’ and he said ‘Too sweet!’” —Martin Short

“Two whales are sitting at the bar. One turns to the other and goes, ‘Aaaooooowhhhooo ooooooohhhoohh.’ And the other one goes, ‘Man, you are drunk.’” —Cecily Strong

“This guy goes to a silent retreat where you don’t speak at all for a year. He stays in this little room, and after three months, the room is freezing cold. So he goes to the leader of the retreat and goes, ‘My room is very cold. Can I get a blanket?’ The guy gets the blanket and he goes back to his room and continues his silent retreat. Three months later, There’s a leak in his room and he goes back to the leader and goes, ‘There’s a leak in my room. Can someone come and fix the leak?’ They fix the leak, and he goes back to his room. After nine months, he goes back to the leader, and he goes, ‘This retreat is not going as well as I’d hoped. I’d like to leave.’ And the owner of the retreat goes, ‘Yeah, I think you should. You haven’t shut the fuck up since you’ve been here.’” —Gina Yashere

“A guy catches his wife in bed with his best friend, and he goes, ‘Sal, I have to! But you?’” —Wayne Federman

“How did the gum cross the road? It was stuck to the chicken’s foot.” —Sam Jay

“A panda walks into a bar. He orders some food, and then the bartender gives him the bill. He gets up, walks away from the food and the drinks, and gets to the door. The bartender goes, ‘Hey, man, what are you doing?’ The panda bear goes, ‘I’m leaving.’ The bartender goes, ‘You can’t leave. You’ve got to pay me right now.’ The panda pulls out a gun and fires two shots in the air. He’s about to walk out the door. ‘Are you fucking crazy? I’m gonna call the cops right now.’ The panda bear goes, ‘It’s what I do, look it up. Check an encyclopedia.’ The bartender opens up the book; it says, ‘Panda bear: eats shoots and leaves.’” —Hasan Minhaj

“What did the fish say when he swam into a wall? ‘Dam(n).’” —Rory Scovel

“This guy gets a horse, and when he says, ‘Thanks be to God,’ it makes the horse move, and when he says ‘Amen,’ it makes the horse stop. One day, the guy gets on the horse and he says ‘Thanks be to God,’ and the horse starts bolting. He’s trying to get the horse to stop and the horse won’t stop, and he’s getting close to a cliff. He shouts ‘AMEN!’ and the horse stops. He’s really relieved, and he sighs ‘Thanks be to God,’ and the horse runs off the cliff.” —Dennis Feitosa

“What’s the difference between beer nuts and deer nuts? One’s a dollar 99, and the other one’s under a buck.” —Fortune Feimster

“What’s the difference between a Camaro and an erection? I don’t have a Camaro.” —David Sedaris

“A little boy turned 16 years old, and he went to his dad, who was a minister, and said, ‘Dad, I turned 16 today. I’d like to use the family car.’ His dad said, ‘Son, I’d know you’d like to use the family car, but I think we have other priorities. Number one, you need to improve your grades. Number two, me being a minister, it’d be nice if you were to start reading the Bible. Number three, you need to get a haircut.’ So six months go by, and the son comes to his dad and says, ‘Dad, I love you. I tried to do everything you asked me to do. You asked me to improve my grades, and it took a long time and a lot of work and staying up late at night, but, Dad, here’s my report card, and I want to thank you for that. Dad, you being a minister, thank you for making me read that Bible, because do you know that I read that Samson had long hair? Daddy, I continued to read that Bible even more, and even Moses had long hair. Daddy, you know what? Because of you, I read the whole Bible, and even Jesus had long hair.’ And his dad looked at him and said, ‘If you notice, now, everywhere they went, they walked.’” —George Wallace

“What did the farmer say when he lost his tractor? ‘Where’s my tractor?’” —Bobby Moynihan

“Why would you be Black and gay? It’s not like you wake up and go, ‘I want my life to be doubly hard.’” —Nicole Byer

“A frog goes into a bank and says, ‘I want a loan.’ And they say, ‘You need to go sit with Miss Whack in the back.’ So he goes and sits down with Miss Whack, and he figures if he’s going to get a loan, he better try to be somewhat personable, so he goes, ‘Hey, I want to get a loan. How are you doing? What’s your name?’ She says, ‘My name’s Patty, but let’s get down to business.’ He goes, ‘Right, I want a loan.’ She’s like, ‘You’re a frog.’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, I know, I know. But you’re probably curious as to why I’m here and how I came to be. Well, my mother was a frog and my father is Mick Jagger, and I guess they had a crazy weekend and I’m the result. Anyway, I want a loan.’ She’s like, ‘This is so unusual. I’ve never sat with a frog to get a loan. Do you have any collateral?’ So he pulls out a little pink ceramic elephant and says, ‘There’s my collateral.’ She’s like, ‘I think I’m going to have to talk to the bank president about this.’ So she goes back to the bank president and says, ‘I don’t know if you can see that frog out there, but he wants a loan. He gave me this thing as collateral.’ The guy looks out, sees the frog, and says, ‘I have to think about this so I don’t mess it up.’ Then he looks back at the big elephant and says, ‘That’s a knick knack, Patty Whack, give the frog a loan! His old man’s a Rolling Stone.’” —Brian Regan

“Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and a little girl are on a plane. The plane is having problems, and there are three parachutes on it. Oprah says, ‘I’m the richest woman in the world, so I’m getting one,’ and Oprah takes the parachute and jumps off the plane. Trump says, ‘Well I’m the president, so I get one,’ and he jumps off the plane. And Obama looks at the little girl and says, ‘My dear, you’re the future, so you take the last one.’ The little girl looks at Obama and says, ‘No, we both get one. Trump took my bookbag.’” —Kenan Thompson

“‘Doctor, doctor! I have five penises!’ ‘Well then how do your pants fit?’ ‘Like a glove.’” —Max Silvestri

“Two old ladies are talking. One of them says to the other, ‘You look fabulous! What’s your secret?’ The other one says, ‘I’ve been giving my husband oral sex every day for the last month. I feel great and I look great, and I can’t recommend it enough.’ They see each other a couple months later, and the second lady says to the first lady, ‘Now you look great! What have you been doing?’ And the first lady says, ‘I’ve been taking your advice. I’ve been giving oral sex every night for the last month and I’ve never felt better or looked better, but your husband was really surprised!’” —Julie Klausner

“Hello everybody. What a great wedding that we’re at! Weddings, they have three rings. The first ring is the engagement ring. Then you have the wedding ring. Then, finally, you have the suffe-ring!’” —London Hughes

“A duck walks into a bar and is like, ‘You got any grapes?’ The bartender is like, ‘No, get out of here.’ Then the next day, the duck walks into the same bar and goes, ‘You got any grapes?’ The bartender says, ‘Like I told you, we don’t have any! Get out. And if you come in here one more time, I’m gonna nail your feet to the floor.’ Then the duck comes in the third day and goes, ‘You got any nails?’ Bartender’s like, ‘No.’ And the duck goes, ‘You got any grapes?’” —Jo Firestone

“Why do musicians go on the road? To see their kids.” —Bobby Moynihan

“So these two guys are put in a cell in prison together, and one guy goes to the other guy, ‘How long you in for?’ He goes, ‘I’m in for 25 years,” and the other guy goes, ‘Well, I’m in for 30, so you better take the bed near the door since you check out first.’” —Colin Quinn

“Why did the chicken cross the road? Who gives a fuck? It’s a chicken.” —Liz Meriwether

“What’s the last thing you want to hear while blowing Willie Nelson? ‘I’m not Willie Nelson.’” —Eric Andre (also told by Hannah Gadsby)

“I was walking down the street once, and I bumped into a man who had an orange for a head. I said to the man, ‘Why is your head an orange?’ And he said, ‘Once, I found a dusty old lamp, and I rubbed it and a genie came out, and he said ‘I’ll grant you three wishes.’ I said, ‘What did you wish for first?’ The man said, ‘For all the money in the world. I ended up a multibillionaire, so much money, and I spent it on all my wildest dreams.’ I said, ‘What was your second wish?’ He said ‘I wished for a beautiful wife, someone who gets me to my soul, understands me the way I’ve never been understood before, and who I understand better than I’ve ever understood any person.’ I said, ‘Okay, what was your third wish?’ And he said, ‘I wished for my head to be turned into an orange.’” —James Acaster

31 Comedians Share Their Favorite Joke-Joke