Folklore is artistic communication in small groups and is the art of everyday life.  Most of what we do contains some artistic element that can be classified as folklore. Humor is one kind of folklore that occurs in many different groups. Jokes can be simple, obnoxious, or even offensive; no matter what the style, however, their goal is always to make someone laugh. Jokes are a way of bringing people together as everyone can enjoy a good laugh, usually at another’s expense, and hence they can also divide. 

Photo of "the jokesters".


Reggie's practical jokes

Seo's practical jokes

Jill's blond jokes

Elise's funnies

Jill's jokes

Nate's jokes

Lindsey B's blonds

Another blond joke

Riddle sample from F131





The "jokesters":
Seo, Reggie, and Steve, with Jill seated

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Folklore Materials

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Nate Wysong’s archive jokes:

Text 1
Original Collector: Julie Price
Title: Jokes, Superstitions, Tradition
Class: F220
Semester:  Spring, 1984
Prof: Sandra Dolby-Stahl

Q:  “Why does San Francisco have AIDS and Lafayette have Boilermakers?”
A:  “Because San Francisco got to pick first.”

Context: The person who performed the text was a 19 year old female named Gina Deleo from Richmond, IN.  She was an I.U. student living in McNutt dormitory at the time.  It was a one-on-one interview between the informant and the interviewer.  This joke makes an interesting twist on a very serious problem (AIDS).  The informant uses the negativity of AIDS and uses it to make the idea of being a Boilermaker even worse in a joking manner.

Text 2
Original Collector:  Marc Risen
Title:  Kentucky Jokes
Class:  Indiana Folklore
Semester:  N/A
Year:  1984

“There are three guys.  One is from U. of L., one is from Indiana, and one is from Kentucky.  The guy from Kentucky gets up and he pisses on his hand.  He goes over and wipes it off with a cloth and goes, ‘in Kentucky they teach us to wipe our hands.’  The guy from U. of L. goes up and pees all over his hand, then washes his hands in the sink and dries them off.  He goes, ‘at U. of L. they teach us how to be clean and neat and wash our hands after we pee.’  The guy from Indiana gets up and goes to pee and doesn’t get any on his hands and he looks at the two guys from U. of L. and U.K. and says, ‘at Indiana they teach us not to piss on our hands.’”

Context: This joke was told in a room of one of four fraternity brothers from Lamda Chi Alpha in 1984.  All four, not including the interviewer, were I.U. students.  All were white males between the ages of 18 and 22 and all were Protestant.  Two were from Indiana, one was from Kentucky, and the final was from Illinois.  The one who told this particular joke happened to be from Illinois.  I should point out that regardless of their origin, all were Indiana Hoosiers because of their affiliation with I.U. as students.

Text 3
Original Collector:  Dani Roettoer
Title:  Ethnic Jokes
Class:  F220
Semester:  Spring
Year:  1984
Prof:  Prof. Dolby-Stahl

Q:  “Why do Jewish people have big noses?”
A:  “Air is free.”

Context: This joke was told by a 22 year old female named Debbie Reszel from Frankfort, IN.  She was single and worked as a waitress along with being a student at I.U.  She has a Polish background and is Catholic.  The joke was told in the informant’s apartment here in Bloomington.  The interviewer and the informant happen to be friends and roommates.  As mentioned earlier, this particular joke uses the stereotype of Jews having large noses and being very tight with their money to create a humorous joke for everyone.

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Jill Siegel
Narrative Jokes- Archive Collection

Text 1
Original Collector: Lorna McKenzie
Title: The Fads
Class: F220 American Folklore
Professor: Sandra K.D. Stahl
Semester and Year: Fall 1981
Code: 81/62

Once a young enterprising preacher moved into a new town; his name was Bill Fuzz.  And seeing how he was a Methodist preacher, and there was no Methodist church in this town, he would have to build his own.  So, he worked on it for a long time—you know—building everything, getting all the rooms straight.  He was about done when all he needed was one more screw.  Well, he went down to the hardware store, walked in and said, “I would like a screw please.”  Little did he know that this is not a hardware store, but a front- for a whore house.  So, the guy at the counter says, “Oh you want a screw, huh?  Well ok go back there, back in room number three and we will get it for you.”  Now the preacher, you know, Bill Fuzz, he didn’t know what was going on and he just went back there and waited.  Suddenly, this girl comes in wearing very little clothes and goes, “Well I’m here for your screw” and he goes, “Well I don’t understand, all I wanted was a screw.” And she goes, “that’s what I’m here for.”  Suddenly the cops raid the place and ran in there and said, “Everybody hands up, you’re all under arrest!”  And pastor Fuzz goes, “But I’m pastor Fuzz!”  And one of the cops goes, “I don’t care if you’re six inches in, you’re still under arrest!”

Context: This narrative joke was told in the setting of Indiana University in the dorm room of the collector of the joke.  The students participating were asked to relinquish any jokes they had heard.  Most of the students present in the conversation had relayed jokes of a graphic nature, and seemed immature in their story telling.  The jokes were told in a drinking situation among friends.  In accordance to the situation and the mentality in which the students were in when they were telling jokes to one another, the wording and graphic nature of the joke shows that they as a group were comfortable with one another. And, that they were not hesitant to say sort of words or phrases that might make others uncomfortable.  They instead felt free to tell the story of the pastor and his screw.

Text 2
Original Collector: Brian Hunter
Title: Erotic Jokes
Class: F101 Introduction to Folklore
Professor: El Shamy
Semester and Year: Spring 1987
Code: 87/51

Santa Claus is coming down the chimney; there is this real pretty lady in her lingerie.  He gets down the chimney and she goes, “Oh Santa Claus, I want you to stay you big stud.”  And Santa Claus says, “Ho ho ho got to go, got to get toys to the good girls and boys.”   And she says as she takes off her shirt, “please stay,” and he says “Ho ho ho got to go, got to get toys to the good girls and boys.”  So she takes off her pants and as she is standing in her bra and panties she says, “Please stay,” and he says “Ho ho ho got to go, got to get toys to the good girls and boys.”  She then takes everything off and asks Santa Claus to “please stay,” and he says, “Hay hay hay, got to stay, can’t get up the chimney with my dick this way.”

Context: The joke was told in the setting an apartment on the Indiana University campus.  It was told in a social situation where alcohol was involved.  Many of the students seemed to be inebriated by the conversation, and the inane humor that is involved in this joke. 

Text 3
Original Collector: Steve Spelman
Title: Folk Tale Jokes
Class: F220 American Folklore
Professor: Dolby-Stahl
Semester and Year: Fall 1984
Code: 84/125

Convent with 50 nuns and one mother superior.  The mother superior is talking to the 50 sisters and she goes, “I found a pair of men’s underwear here,” and 49 nuns go “Uhhh” and one goes, “He he he.” And then she goes, I found a rubber over here too.”  49 nuns go “uhhh” and one goes “he he he.”  And then the mother superior goes, “The thing is, the rubber had a whole in it.”  49 sisters go, “He he he” and one goes “uhhh.”

Context: This joke was told in Indiana University in the setting of an apartment.  The students present at this conjunction were male and all friends.  They were asked to relay jokes that had a plot that the listener could follow along with until the ending punch line.

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Seo's practical jokes from the Folklore Archives:

Practical Joke #1. Birthday
Original Collector’s name: Terry Johannsen
Title of the paper: “Field Project Assignment: Practical Joke”
Class: F220
The name of the professor: Doris Fannelli
Semester/year: ???
Code: 81/63
Informant: G.K
Contributor: Jeong Seo

 T.J.     I would just like to hear about any practical jokes that were played on you or you played on others. You were telling me earlier about a birthday cake.

G.K.     O.K., the birthday cake was a piece of foam rubber that was decorated to look just like a cake with frosting and everything on it.

T.J.       Who’s birthday?

G.K.     My roommate’s, and uh they give it to him on his birthday with candles and everything, he blew the candles out and had no inclination that it was anything but a real cake and he went to cut into it, the knife wouldn’t cut through the foam rubber and that’s when he realized that something wasn’t right.

T.J.       What did he do?

G.K.     Well he couldn’t figure it out, and he pushed a little bit of icing way and then he saw it was foam rubber and everybody was laughing real hard by then. It was pretty good for a birthday.    


This particular practical joke above was done by G.K., 21 year old senior in Indiana University, and his friends at his apartment for his roommate. Folk group is not just limited to Indiana University students, but universal: it can be anybody who has a cultural background of celebrating birthday with birthday cake. Obviously, it is done on someone’s birthday. I think this prank must have come from the surprise birthday party custom because this joke is one of kinds of enjoyable “surprise.”

Practical Joke #2. April Fools

            Original Collector’s name: Terry Johannsen
Title of the paper: “Field Project Assignment: Practical Joke”
Class: F220
The name of the professor: Doris Fannelli
Semester/year: ???
Code: 81/63
Informant: C.A
Contributor: Jeong Seo

 C.A       Oh, let me tell you about this one. George is my boyfriend now. Anyway, I always ride my bike everywhere, to class and everything like that. So, he was supposed to come over and we were going to get a Penguin (ice cream) or something like that. Well, he said (per phone conversation) “Are you ready to go?” I said “Yeah, well, you can come over but I can’t go with you.” He goes, “why?” Well I said I ride my bike today and fell off and sprained my ankle and it’s all bandaged up and I got it on ice and everything. He said, Oh, I’ll still be there in few minutes, can you make it downstairs? (he sounded really worried) I said, Yeah. And there’s this girl in the house who just had a sprain or something and she was on the crutches so I borrowed her crutches. I walked to the door on these crutches. He couldn’t believe it, he was so shocked! Then he bent down to look at my foot to see what it looked like. I said, April Fools!, and he about killed me!


This is a practical joke done by C.A., 19 year old sophomore, to her boyfriend on April Fools day. April Fools has been passed on in these years universally all over the world. Thus, folk group can be anyone who continues this custom and who is tricked regardless sex. April Fools has kept working because many creative jokes are made every year and many people don’t remember it on that day.

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Reggie's practical jokes from the archives:


Text 1

Informant Name: Butch Marino
Tittle: Telephone Pranks
Archives code: 77/105
Instructor: Professor Stahl
Semester/Year: Fall, 1981

            When it comes to practical jokes or rather, impractical jokes, my favorite is calling up people on the telephone and going into one of my disc jockey routines. Radio stations are alwaysrunning some kind of stupid contest. I like to call up people and friends of mine and we get together and between my impressions and them being disc jockey’s, we’ve had lots of people stumped. Probably one of my favorites is whenever I call somebody up and say; Good evening. This is Ted Brown of Campbell soup. And if you can sing the Campbell jingle we’re gonna send you a free case of soup. Now how about that? Oh, come on now. We know you can sing it. Let’s hear it now. And usually we will get somebody. We used to call up all the-do it on a Friday night when all the drunks are out. Some people were so good that we actually took soup over to them. One girl just the other week, my roommate and I decided to play it on her. So we called her up and I went into my little routine and she sung part of it. So I said I really can’t send you a full case of soup since you really didn’t comply correctly, but since you’ve been such a good sport I’ll bring you over a favorite-your favorite can of soup. And what is that? She replied cream of mushroom soup. This girl didn’t know me. My roommate and I and another guy went over there and knocked on the door and her roommate didn’t know me either. I asked for her by name and in the same voice I was using on the telephone. I said I had something for her and she just came around very surprised. I introduced myself as Ted Brown of Campbell soup and I was wanting to deliver her can of soup. About that time my roommate stuck her face in and she realized it was all a gag and took out after him to break his neck. It was a friend of his. Its always a lot more fun if you get somebody you know. We usually use one of his fiends because they don’t know me.


The date of this selection is the fall semester of 1977. The people that are playing the practical joke are three students that went to Indiana University at this time. They are playing practical jokes on different people around the campus. Some of them are people that they know and some are not. They usually waited til late at night then they start to call people putting their practical joke in motion. They usually acted like they were working for the Campbell soup company when they called people, to get them to sing the Campbell soup jingle.

Text 2

Informant Name: Steve Lochmann
Title: The naked man
Archives Code: 75/335
Instructor: Professor Stahl
Semester/Year: Fall, 1978

Jim Lincoln was waiting in line while I was taking a shower. He seemed to think I was taking to long in the shower, so we were yelling at each other. I got out of the shower and he got in. While he was in the shower I stole his towel and clothes. Dave his roommate took his clothes in his room and locked him out. Everyone else on the floor had their doors locked also. So when Jim finally got out of the shower he found no towel, no clothes, and no help from anyone on the floor.


This practical joke takes place in a dorm hall bathroom. The characters involved are Jim Lincoln, Steve Lochmann, Jim Lincoln’s roommate, and the other people that live on that floor. The time that the joke was played was late at night, on a weeknight following a pick up game of basketball. The date that it took place was October 26, 1978.

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Elle’s “boressing”

Collector’s Name: Pat Moran

Title of Collection: “Boresses as Seen by Steve Malasto”

Collection Location: IU Wells Library; Archives Office

Date of Collection: 1976

The paper focuses on an interview conducted with a brother of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and his personal experiences with ‘boresses’. Boresses are defined as practical jokes, which correlates with games/play and partying. Steve Malasto was the man chosen for the interview because he was believed to be well experienced in the field of boressing. He talks about how boressing was a form of brotherhood that brought the brothers of the house together, in a funny, joking manner. He gives examples of previous boresses he has committed himself and also ones he has heard of at other fraternities years earlier, as well as a traditional one the young men in his house tend to do, known as bagging.           

The few examples of the boressing Steve gives always tend to include “the element of surprise,” as he states. After a long night of partying, a drunken victim is often a target of the boress. Steve describes one of these nights:

A brother came home from the bars and Steve had cut a hole in his dresser drawers and sat in the dresser with his head coming out a hole in the top drawer. When his buddy came home to change his clothes before bed, he opened the drawer and there was Steve’s head.

Another joke, actually done to Steve, consisted of his friends daring him to do a sit-up that they claimed to be impossible to complete four of. He took the challenge, and while he laid on the ground in sit-up position, the boys held a towel taught across his forehead so every time he sat up, he had to use much more strength to fight the pressure of the towel pulling him back down. On his third sit-up, with the towel still covering his eyes over his forehead, another brother pulled his pants down and put his behind a few inches from Steve’s face. At this moment the boys let go of the towel and Steve sat up, face first into his brothers behind.

Malestro also mentions examples that he read about with other fraternities back in the forties that he says he would love to try and do some day. The traditional boress he claims for his house is known as “bagging.” Bagging is the process of taking any type of plastic bag or balloon and filling with some sort of liquid substance, which is then thrown or dropped on a victim. While some of these jokes tended to piss off the victim, it was always understood that it was “all in good fun” and that all kinds of boressing are fair play in a frat house.

Context: This paper is housed in the Folklore Archives in the Wells library. The original interview of the fraternity brother took place on November 26, 1976, in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity House, with Moran interviewing Malestro.

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Reggie's current practical jokes:

Text 1

Contributor: Reggie Watson
Informant: Tony Tevis
Title: Sleep Tight
Semester/year: Fall, 2005
Instructor: John McDowell

Me:                               Ok so what is your practical joke that you pulled off?

Tony:                            Ok this one is mean as hell!

Tony:                                                    I was at summer baseball camp, and there was this kid that no one liked.

Me:                               Uh oh! What did you do to him?

Tony:                            Well we waited for him to fall asleep first.

Tony:                                           Then after he fell asleep we got some duct tape and went into his room taping everything that he owned.

Me:                               Is that it?

Tony:                            Nope.

Tony:                                                    The beds we had were little small twin beds, and his wasn’t up against the wall.

Tony:                            So we took the duct tape and taped him down to his bed.

Tony:                                                    I mean we used the whole roll of tape, and then went and got another roll of tape to make sure that he wouldn’t be able to get out on his own.

Tony:                            The next morning came, and we heard him screaming so loud.

Tony:                                                    When we went in he was still taped down to his bed and couldn’t move.

Me:                               That is too funny!

Tony:                            Yeah we still laugh about that one.

Tony:                                                    It was funny as hell I’m telling you, and he was pissed off to so that made it even better.


                              I collected this joke from Tony Tevis. Tony is a 21 year old junior here at Indiana University. I collected this joke from Tony on a Friday night while watching television with a few other friends of ours. We were all just sitting around and I decided that this would be a good time to start gathering some jokes. One thing about Tony if you knew him is that he is a huge practical joker. He is always pulling pranks on his roommates here. The only thing is that they are never humiliating.


Text 2

                                    Contributor: Reggie Watson
Informant: Steve Head
Title: The Shower Gag
Semester/year: Fall, 2005
Instructor: John McDowell

This next practical joke was told by my roommate Steve Head. He told it more like a story so I wasn’t able to make this one look like a tape recorded conversation. Plus the fact that the recorder had already gone dead before he told me a good joke.

His joke took place here on campus in the baseball locker room. What happened was that they waited until the first person got in the shower. Once that person got in the shower the prank went into effect. They had someone come in the locker room and call for the guy that was in the shower, saying that the coach wanted to see him at the door. Knowing that the guy would just go straight to the door and not put on any clothes they felt that saying the coach wanted him was the best idea. When the kid Joe will call him, heard that the coach wanted him he did exactly what they knew he would do. He came right out of the shower with just a towel around him and went to the door. When he got to the door, Steve and a few of the other players grabbed his towel, ripped it away from him and pushed him out in the hallway. Once he was out in the hallway they closed and locked the door leaving him out there naked. They only left him out there for a few seconds, but Steve assured me they were the funniest seconds of his life.


I collected this joke from my roommate/teammate Steve Head. I gathered this information one night from him when we were watching TV at our house. Because I also play baseball I did know somewhat of what happened during this event, but I didn’t know the entire thing. Steve was the one that was there personally so I knew he could give a better description of what happened.

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Seo's practical jokes

Practical Joke #1

Contributor: Jeong Seo
Performer: Jeong Seo
Title: Shower room
Sem/yr: Spring 2005

I was the prankster for this practical joke, but this joke can be happened to anybody who lives in dormitory. In my case, I did it to my friend, Anupam, who lived in the same floor as I did. One night in very cold weather, he and I studied till late night. He got tired and went to take a shower before going to bed. I immediately went down to the floor where ice machine was. I fill the bucket with ices. It was very heavy but worth doing it. I went up quickly to our floor before my friend finished his shower. Our shower room was partitioned into rooms with walls and curtains. I poured ices to him when he got nicely warm by the hot water. He shouted. By that time, he didn’t know exactly who did it to him because I poured from top of next shower booth. Ices must have got all over his body from heads to toe. He came out from the shower room only putting his tower and ran into me. I was somehow so thrilled. However, I had to run away from him because I knew he wanted to take revenge for that. It was fun.


The prankster of this practical joke was me. I used to do this during winter time. In above case, one day at the Eigenmann Hall in winter, I did to my close friend Anupam to shock him for a minute. Pouring ices to someone having shower has been done by many college students. This practical joke probably came from male dormitories where many guys lived together because it is one of the popular jokes among dorm students. Besides, there are practical jokers in any dorm and most dorms furnish ice machine, so it is easy to find. Especially among friends they do it to one another by taking revenges. By the way, victim can be friends or just random floor mates. There are many other dorm practical jokes. This ice joke is just one kind of them.

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Practical Joke #2

Contributor: Jeong Seo
Informant: Won-Guk
Title: Salt shaker
Sem/yr: Spring 2005

Charles (C.L.), Won-Guk (W.G.), Steven (S.L) and I (J.S.) went to Chinese buffet restaurant together. We were all having buffet dinner. When both Charles and Steve went to get some more food, Won-Guk and I was still working on the food. I asked Won-Guk about practical jokes. 

J.S.     : Have you done any fun practical Joke at the school? 

W.G.  : Nothing comes up in my mind right now.

            Well. No… But I can show you one.

Won-Guk picked up a salt shaker, loosened the tap of it, put a tissue paper inside the tap and close it. But, the tap was still loosened so that when next person use it, the whole salt and the tap can fall down on food.

J.S.     : Why did you put tissue inside the tap?

W.G.  : To make salt not come out from holes of the salt shaker. Then, next customer will

             shake it harder to sprinkle salt on his food. The tap is not completely closed, but

             still needs enough of force…

J.S      : Oh, ok! I got it.   

Right then, Charles and Steve came back.

W.G.   : Oh. Steve! You also got the ‘hot and sour’ soup.

              You probably need to put salt.

Steve tasted his soup with his spoon and shook the salt shaker on it. Whole salt and the tap fell into his soup. Steve cursed Won-Guk and everyone was laughing including him. Steve had to bring another soup.  


This prank was done at the Chinese restaurant between friends in 2005. This unique category came from a certain comedy television show according to what Won-Guk said; unfortunately, he couldn’t remember the name of the show. This joke can be done in any restaurant. Salt shaker can be found on any table in the restaurants (the prevalence of material). Students are not only folk group which can do this joke. Anyone can do this prank, but it has been done between friends or the joke can circulate through random people.


 I modified the picture from <>




Practical Joke #3

Contributor: Jeong Seo
Informant: Illa
Title: Practical joke on RA
Sem/yr: Spring 2005

Illa: "There is a guy whose name is Kirk. He was the RA (resident Assistant) of my floor. Guys in my floor didn’t like him that much because he was too strict and inflexible. At the end of his year, those guys planed a prank on him. While one of the guys took him for a dinner, other guys broke into Kirk’s room through the ceiling and hided his number one treasure, his new laptop. They just simply put that in the drawer of Kirk’s desk and put bunches of crumpled news papers. When Kirk came back and saw his room, he almost cried. I cannot ever forget his face expression. He thought his laptop was stolen. Although finding it in his drawer after few minutes, he was upset. Kirk argued with the guy who took his dinner about the matter and whether he was involved in that prank or not. Kirk finally called campus police to try to scare his floor guys. It was pretty fun, but not a good ending."   


This joke occurred at the Warren Hall in the University of Indianapolis in 2003. My interviewee said that this prank is purely created by his friend on his floor. He didn’t know how his friend came up with the idea, but he though it was brilliant. He figured out how to get into the AI’s room and how to distract Kirk’s attention from the floor guys preparing for the practical joke. The folk group was 2nd floor guys and most of times males. I would name the category of this practical joke “prank to RA.” Bad relationship between RA and floor guys caused this kind of joke. Sometime it has been done to express their friendship especially when RA leaves the dorm due to expiration of his term. There are a lot of ways to play a joke on floor assistance. I guess this is one of the ways which Warren hall 2nd floor guys invented to give their AI hard time. It is very traditional for dorm students. But, I think the joke went too far at some points.


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From Jill’s Journal:

Blonde Jokes

Q: What's the difference between a blonde and a toothbrush?
A: You don't let your best friend borrow your toothbrush.

Q: How did the dumb blonde break her leg raking leaves?
A: She fell out of the tree.

Q: What's the first thing a blonde does in the morning?
A: Walks home.

Q: What's the difference between a prostitute, a nymphomaniac, and a blonde?
A: The prostitute says, "Aren't you done yet?"
The nympho says, "Are you done already?"
The blonde says, "Beige...I think I'll paint the ceiling beige."

Q: What's the difference between a blonde and a telephone?
A: It costs 30 cents to use a telephone.

Q: What do a blonde and a beer bottle have in common?
A: They are both empty from the neck up

Q: How many blondes does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: What’s a light bulb?

Q: Why did the blonde tiptoe past the medicine cabinet?
A: So she wouldn’t wake up the sleeping pills?

Q: Why are dumb blonde jokes so short?
A: So brunettes can remember them

A car was driving down the street when all of a sudden it started swerving.  The car was going back and forth till someone with a cell phone called the police.  A police officer pulled the car over.  A blonde rolls down the window and says, " Officer, I'm so glad you are here.  I saw a tree in the road, then I saw another.  So I  had to swerve to keep from hitting it!"  The officer looks at her, then says, "Ma'am, that's your air freshener."

A blonde was driving down the highway to Disneyland when she saw a sign that said "DISNEYLAND LEFT".
After thinking for a minute, she said to herself "oh well!" and turned around and drove home.

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From Elise’s Journal:

 What is Smokey the Bears middle name?

Why do gorillas have big nostrils?
            Because they have big fingers

When is an Astronauts favorite time to eat?
            Launch time


Jill's jokes:

Text 1

“The doctor said I’ve got some good news and some bad news,”

“What’s the bad news?”

“The bad news is that only have three months to live.”

The patient gets really upset, and says, “What’s the good news?”

The doctor looks at him and says, “I just had sex with your wife.”

Collector: Jill Siegel
Title: Good News and Bad News
Class: F351
Semester and Year: Fall 2005
Informant: Samantha Boren


This joke was told in the setting of my apartment at Indiana University.  A group of friends were sitting watching TV, and asked to tell any jokes they had heard.  Samantha told this joke of the “good news and bad news,” and had recently heard this joke from her boyfriend. 

Text 2

“These two guys are sitting at a bar, one from the south, and one who just graduated from Harvard…”

Southern man: “Where are you from?”

Obnoxious boy from Harvard: “I come from a place where we do not end our sentences with prepositions.”

Southern Man: “Okay then… where are you from, asshole?”

Collector: Jill Siegel
Title: Eastern Attitude
Class: F351
Semester and Year: Fall 2005
Informant: Taylor Kannett


This joke was told in the setting of an apartment at night.  The group was discussing stereotypes, and I, as the collector, asked if anyone knew any jokes.  The people present were all around the ages of 19-20, and close friends.

Text 3

A gay man walks into a country bar and says, "I just want everyone to know that I'm gay… I’m not going to hit on anyone. I just like country music."

The bartender says that it's okay and the man stays.

The next day the gay man comes back with another guy and says, "This is my brother. I just want everyone to know that we're gay, and we aren’t going hit on anyone... we just like country music."

The bartender again says that is okay and the men stay.

The next day the man comes back, but this time he is with a group of gay men, "these are my cousins and my brother. I just want everyone to know that we're gay, but we won't hit on anyone. We just like country music."

The bartender finally gets curious and asks, "Doesn't ANYONE in your family like girls"

The gay man says, "yeah, but she doesn't like country music."

Collector: Jill Siegel
Title: Country Living
Class: F351
Semester and Year: Fall 2005
Informant: Joshua Levin


This joke was told in the bar “Kilroys Sports Bar” on Walnut Avenue in Bloomington Indiana.  It was told sitting in a booth, and the people present were inebriated and thought that the joke was extremely humorous at the time. 

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Nate's jokes


Nate:  Alright, can you please state your name for the record?

Brad:  Brad Piechoski

Nate:  Alright and basically I just uh want to ask you if you have any jokes that might be common amongst IU student…like they can be uh racial jokes or blonde jokes or whatever you think.

Brad:  Yeah, I have a blonde joke.

Nate:  Alright

Brad:  What do a peroxide blonde and a Boeing 747 have in common?

Nate:  I don’t know what?

Brad:  They both have a black box!

Nate:  Oh, that’s pretty good!


This joke was told at Brad Piechoski’s house at 507 E. 19th Street at approximately 10:30 p.m. on December 1, 2005.  The only two people present were Brad and I and we were both in the living room of his house watching television.  Brad and I are friend and neighbors.  He is 24 years old and originally from Mishawaka, IN.  I have known him for 3 years now.  He just graduated from IU – Bloomington this past summer and is currently working in the Loss Prevention Department for a major retail store here in Bloomington.


Contributor:  Nate Wysong
Informant/Performer:  Brad Piechoski
Title:  IU Student Jokes – Blonde Joke
Semester:  Fall – Second 8 weeks
Year:  2005



Nate:  Alright, can you state your name for the record?

Jeremy:  Jeremy Merritt

Nate:  Alright Jeremy, just trying to find out if you had any jokes that would be common amongst IU students or just students in general.  They can be racial, blonde jokes, anything that you think’s appropriate.

Jeremy:  I end up got a joke.  What’s the difference between Bill Clinton and a screwdriver?

Nate:  What’s the difference?

Jeremy:  A screwdriver turns and screws and Bill Clinton screws interns!



This joke was told at Jeremy Merritt’s apartment located at Adam’s Grove Apartments on the southwest side of Bloomington on December 5, 2005 at approximately 9:00 p.m.  Jeremy had myself and 3 other male friends over for dinner, cocktails, and to watch the Monday Night Football game when the Eagles played the Seahawks.  This is a common practice for Jeremy to have us over for sporting events on television.  He has a very nice apartment with a high definition big screen TV. for everyone to enjoy.  He usually cooks some sort of a dinner for everyone as well.  Telling jokes is usually not something we usually do however, when I asked if anyone had any jokes available that were common amongst IU students, Jeremy volunteered his political joke.  Jeremy is currently a full-time student at IU Bloomington and works full-time for his father’s business as the accountant.  He plans to graduate in May of 2006.

Contributor:  Nate Wysong
Informant/Performer:  Jeremy Merritt
Title:  IU Student Jokes – Political Joke
Semester:  Fall – Second 8 weeks
Year:  2005

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Blonde jokes from Lindsey B’s journal:

Text 1

“Why did the blonde drown in the pool?

            “Someone put a mirror down there”

Context: This joke makes blondes seem like they are shallow and self-centered. The mirror represents the importance a blonde places on her appearance. The joke was probably told by a person who did not have blonde hair.

Text 2

“Why did the blonde tip-toe past the medicine cabinet?”

         “So she wouldn’t wake up the sleeping pills”

Context: This joke is used in making blondes look unintelligent, which seems to be a common stereotype. The joke was probably created by someone who believed the stereotype, and wasn’t a blonde.


Another blond joke (from Shannon's journal):

Why was the blonde upset when she got her drivers license?

Because she got an "F" in sex!...

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These riddles and riddle jokes were gathered in my Spring, 2007 F131 Folklore of the United States, in response to my request that students jot down a few riddles going around at the time.  To make life interesting, I present the questions at the top and hold the answers for below. 

I have classified them into groups suggesting some of the ways a folklorist might work with this material.  It is striking how many of these riddles are built on anomaly, that is, observations that surprise us about the way things work in the world. Still, language-based deceptions are prevalent, and we get our usual dose of tricks and catches plus a few items based on current events.


Most popular items

1. What’s black and white and red all over?                

2. What has four wheels and flies?                 

3. What moves on four legs in the morning, two in the afternoon, and three in the evening?

4. What grows bigger the more you take from it?         

Language play

a)sound play

5.     Here’s a riddle for the wise:

         What has four wheels and also flies?                  

6. What has ears all over but cannot hear?     

7. What has eyes but never cries?                 

8. Where would a person with one leg work?

9. Where did the Pilgrims land when they reached America?    

10. What building has the most stories?                     

11. How do you get a tissue to dance?                       

12. Snoopy likes floors but he doesn’t like ceilings? What does Snoopy like?

                               b)writing play

13. What is round on both ends and high in the middle?                      

14. What does ARMY stand for?                   

15. What does MARINE stand for?    


16. How can Helen Keller perform a song?      

17. How many Harvard grads does it take to screw in a light bulb?

18. How many sorority girls does it take to screw in a light bulb?          

19. What do 20 blonds standing side-by-side make?   

Anomalies (Real-world surprises)

20. What can you put in a barrel to make it lighter?                 

21. What stays in one corner and travels around the world?      .

22. What starts out hard and then goes limp? 

23. A girl was born in December but it was summer – how is this possible?

24. How far can you walk into the forest?        

25. What is something that gets larger the more you take from it?        

26. A bird makes its own home without windows or doors.       

27.       It cannot be seen, cannot be heard,

 It follows before and follows after,

 and in it cities are created and destroyed.

            What is it?                                                               

28. A cowboy rode into town on a Wednesday, stayed there two days, and rode back out of town on a Wednesday – how can that be?                   

29. What do you get when you cross an agnostic with a dyslexic insomniac?   


30.        What is a box without a key nor lid,

yet inside golden treasure is hid?                   

31. What moves on four legs in the morning, two in the afternoon, and three in the evening?


32. What gets wet and has seamen in it?

33. What goes in hard and dry and comes out flaccid and wet?

34. Billy’s mom has three children, Penny Nickel, and ???      

35. You have two coins that equal 30 cents and one is not a nickel – what are they?

36. How many animals did Moses bring on board the Ark?       


37. Why does Gene Keady only play the first 14 holes of golf?

38. Why does Mackey Arena have a better view than Assembly Hall?

39. Why does it take the golfing foursome of OJ Simpson, Ted Kennedy, Monica Lewinsky, and Bill Clinton so long to complete a round of golf?

40. What is similar between Michael Jackson and Wal-Mart?

41. What is Michael Jackson’s favorite time?  

42. What do you call four Hispanic/Mexican type people in quicksand? 
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1. A newspaper.

2. A garbage truck.

3. Man.

4. A hole in the ground.

5. A garbage truck.

6. A cornfield.

7. A potato.

8. IHOP.

9. On their feet.

10. A library.

11. Put a little boogie in it.

12. Food but not drinks; cool but not hot; etc.

13. Ohio.

14. Aren’t Real Men Yet.

15. Muscles Are Required, Intelligence Not Expected.

16. Play the piano with one hand and sing with the other.

17. Only one, to hold the light bulb, and then the world just revolves around him.

18. Five: one to screw in the light bulb and four to make t-shirts for the event.

19. A wind tunnel.

20. A hole.

21. Postage stamp

22. A noodle.

23. Born south of the equator.

24. A hole.

25. Halfway, because then you are walking out.

26. An egg.

27.  Time.

28. His horse was named Wednesday.

29.. A person who lies awake at night wondering if there really is a dog.

30.  An egg.

31. Man.

32. A submarine.

33. Chewing gum or spaghetti.

34. Billy.

35. A quarter and a nickel.

36. None, Moses wasn’t on the Ark.

37. He can never get to the Final Four.

38. Because there’s no championship banners in the way.

39.     OJ’s a slicer,

          Monica’s a hooker,

          Ted can’t drive over water,

           and Bill can’t figure out what hole he’s playing.

40.  They both have boy’s pants half off.

41. Doesn’t matter as long as the big hand is on the little one.

42. Cuatro Cinco.

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Cyber material will go here.