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Stock Jokes

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Specific, standalone jokes often become common enough to stand as trope. And this can happen a lot, as the jokes work best when they evolve and don't stay the same among re-tellings. Otherwise they would fall under Other Stock Phrases.

Compare Stock Parodies, Insult Tropes, Practical Joke.


  • The Aristocrats: A joke about a family going to see a talent agent and doing a very inappropriate act, which they call 'The Aristocrats'.
  • Chicken Joke: Jokes that either start with "Why did the chicken cross the road?" or reference the aforementioned line by asking "Why did the X cross the road? [Insert reason that has to do with chickens]". (The original was actually intended as an example of Anti-Humor, by the way.)
  • Duck!: A character mistakes a command to duck for someone pointing out a duck.
  • Evil Lawyer Joke: A joke about all lawyers being evil.
  • Fly in the Soup: Jokes about flies being in soup.
  • Funny Fan Voice: Breathing/talking into a fan makes a person's voice sound ridiculous.
  • A Good Name for a Rock Band: A character jokingly remarks that a phrase another said would make a good name for a band, often specifically a rock band.
  • Has Two Thumbs and...: A joke where the person says, "What/who has two thumbs and [self description]?", then points at themselves with both thumbs and says, "This guy/gal!".
  • If I Had a Nickel...: A joke where someone says, "If I had a nickel/dollar/pound/etc for every time X happened, I'd be rich."
  • If I Wanted X, I Would Y: A character talks trash about something by saying, "If I wanted [something related to the thing they're trashing], I would [do something else, usually quite mundane]."
  • Insult to Rocks: Someone insults somebody else by saying that they would insult them with a noun, but that'd be insulting to the thing (e.g. "I'd call you a pig but that'd be rude to pigs.")
  • "Knock Knock" Joke: A joke with the format "Knock knock?" "Who's there?" "X" "X who?" "[pun about X]".
  • Lightbulb Joke: A joke that starts with "How many X does it take to change a light bulb?"
  • Marshmallow Dream: A character dreams that they're eating and wakes up chewing on/eating/having eaten their pillow.
  • No Intelligent Life Here: A joke about the idea that aliens don't consider Earthlings to be "intelligent life".
  • Russian Reversal: A joke with the format "Usually/in America/etc, you [verb] [noun]. In Soviet Russia, [noun] [verb]s you!"
  • That's What She Said: When somebody says something that's not meant to be dirty, but another person notices a dirty way it could be interpreted and says, "That's what she said!", sometimes adding "last night" at the end.
  • Thought-Aversion Failure: Trying not to think about something is hard.
  • The Triple: A list of three things where the third is the weirdest.
  • What's a Henway?: A joke about saying a made up word, getting a person to ask what it is, and replying with a pun. (e.g "Have you seen my catdo?" "What's a catdo?" "Mainly sleeps and licks itself.")
  • X Called; They Want Their Y Back: Calling something old fashioned by jokingly claiming that a time period in the past called and wants it back.
  • Your Mom: Insulting someone's mother.

Other types of jokes:

  • Clarification Trap: Stealthily insulting someone by saying, "[Obscure insult] says what?", expecting the target to say "What?" in confusion or uncertainty.
  • I Know You Are But What Am I: A gag playing off most people's tendency to issue insults without including any subjunctive possessive modifiers.
  • My Other Car Is an X: A joke put on bumper stickers or T-shirt about how your other car is supposedly some other cooler thing.
  • Your X Is Showing: A gag in which one person tells another that an unmentionable part is exposed. Can be substituted for a word that rhymes with that part or a variant (like a slip).
  • Starting off an act with "I just flew in from ______, and boy are my arms tired!"
  • "Say 'good night', X!" "Good night, X!"
  • "A funny thing happened to me on the way to..."
  • "What's the deal with airline food?"
    • "Why are the peanuts so hard to get into?"
    • "The food on airlines is BULLSHIT!"
    • While it's associated with him, Seinfeld himself only ever did that shtick to make fun of how cliched it was.
    • In the show proper itself, there is no mention of airline food, especially in the episode "The Deal". The closest reference to the shtick is in the season 8 episode "The Summer of George", when George is invited by a guy to play frolf (a portmanteau of frisbee and golf), he has to choose to between frolf, and Jerry, whom George imagines him saying "What's the deal with airplane peanuts?", to which George picks frolf.
    • Airline food is starting to become more of a rarity in real life and while most airlines still serve drinks or a a small snack like peanuts or pretzels, they usually don't serve actual meals anymore (some do but not for free or only for first class passengers). Ten years from now some younger audiences will hear this shtick and ask "What is airline food?" It's still a big spectrum with lots of variance. One surprising airline on the opposite extreme of that spectrum is El-Al: It installs expensive missile defense systems on board all of its planes, something no other airline does, and yet, it still has enough spare money to offer free hot meals for all passengers on all flights. Given the average Israeli's tastes and El-Al's relatively palatial fleet choicesnote , that's not gonna change soon.
  • "White people go like this, but black people go like this!"
  • "How does the man who drives the snowplow get to work in the morning?"
  • "Why does my VCR always flash '12:00'?"
    • Krusty the Klown lampshades this in "The Last Temptation of Krust" (and the airline peanuts example above) during an act where he bashes his fellow standup comedians.
      Krusty: These comics today! "Ooh, look at me, I can't program my VCR, I can't open a bag of airline peanuts, I'm a freaking moron!"
    • In the Strong Bad Email "12:00", Bubs and Strong Bad decide the best solution to this problem is to duct-tape a working alarm clock to the VCR.
  • "Why are there instructions in Braille on the drive-through ATM's?" (Actual reason: they use the same interface as the walk-up ATMs. Not to mention blind people can sit behind the driver and be driven to the ATM.)
  • "What's the deal with airline food?"
  • "I just can't understand women at all. No guy can."
  • "All men are stupid." (oddly, this is mostly used by male comedians, notably Tim Allen)
  • "My ex is an asshole."
  • "Kids these days..."
  • "Hollywood is so messed up - sex is rated R or X/NC-17, and explosions are fun for kids!"
  • "Why don't they just make the planes out of the black box material?" Because... 
    • This joke has the dubious distinction of being so dumb and overused that Douglas Adams claims it made him want to never write comedy again.
  • "If the Professor could build a radio transmitter out of bamboo and coconuts, why couldn't he fix the damn boat?" note 
    • It would have ended the series. Also, it seems that everybody forgot about the reunion movies, where the castaways did get off the island.
    • The radio wasn't made out of coconuts or bamboo. They used the same radio, presumably retrieved from the boat, for the whole series. It might be a stretch that the batteries lasted for that long, but the professor never cobbled together a radio out of nothing.
  • Parodied in the Homestar Runner cartoon "Halloween Fairstival", where Bubs' stand-up act at the "Ha-Ha-Halloween Comedy Club" consists entirely of cliched stand-up comedy jokes: "Women can't drive! And, airline food! I mean, humminah-what?"
    • Atleast he got Strong Mad to laugh.
  • Pretending to explain the joke to someone in the front row.
    • Soaking up as much applause as possible, commenting that it helps stretch out their act (which stretches out their act even more).
  • "How do you like my clothes/hairstyle?" (while sporting an Outdated Outfit or bad hair)
  • "The people in my religion/ethnicity/region are INSANE."
  • "Take my wife... please!"
    • Which is so famous as a Stock Shtick that it's possible to forget that it was originally meant to sound like it means "my wife, for example", and some people seem to think it's an example of an Orphaned Punchline.
  • "Marriage is an institution, but who wants to live in an institution?" Though attributed to Groucho Marx on many sites, it's really an old vaudeville joke that was overused to death.
  • Interfering mothers-in-law as Acceptable Targets.
    Jasper Carrott: I don't like the whole tired old comedy schtick about mothers-in-law. I get on very well with mine. In fact I've just bought her a house. In Iran.
  • "But seriously, what's the deal with airline food?"
  • "...and then I got off the bus"/"pull back and reveal" (a form of Tomato Surprise). Deconstructed by Stewart Lee and Richard Herring.
  • A Dilbert cartoon referenced Stock Shticks when Dilbert entered a stand-up competition 'with the mandatory categories; Dan Quayle, Flatulence and the warning labels on mattresses'
  • Speaking of which: the warning labels on mattresses.
  • "Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, I'll be here all week." Said after a joke that didn't go over. Also commonly used akin to the rimshot by people saying lame puns.
    • "Tip your waitress/servers." "Try the veal."
  • Kids saying the darndest things. Summed up by Stewart Lee as "Some of the things kids say are mad though. It's like they can only understand the world from the perspective of a child"
  • "Why are cabbies such bad drivers? And why are they all Middle Eastern or South Asian immigrants?"
  • A comedian starting their act with 'I'm [name of comic], just in case you were thinking that [name of other celebrity that comic resembles] has let themselves go recently'
  • "So, did you hear about this [insert news story or pop-culture phenomenon] thing?" (Done to death by Jimmy Vulmer on South Park: "Did you see this? Did you hear about this?")
  • "Anybody here from out of town?"
  • "So a guy walks into a bar..."
  • "A priest and a rabbi..."
    • A priest, a rabbi, and an ostrich walk into a bar. The bartender says, "What is this, some kinda joke?"
  • Stock heckler putdowns include:
    • "I remember my first drink as well"
    • "It's a shame when cousins marry"
    • "There's a bus leaving in ten minutes time, why don't you be under it?"
    • "Looks like there's a village missing its idiot"
    • "I've heard better jokes from [inanimate object/animal/unintelligent person/something the heckler doesn't like]!"
    • (In response to "Do you know..." question) "No, but maybe if you hum a few bars, I could fake it."
  • Seriously, what is it with airline food?
  • Funny Foreigner jokes: While laughing with other ethnicities has become less accepted since the 1980s poking fun at white people from other countries (dumb obese Americans, stuffy Englishmen, arrogant Frenchmen, evil Germans, thrifty Scots,...) is still very common. Especially when using the appropriate accents.
  • Due to his global fame and overexposed private life of Michael Jackson was also a popular and easy topic for comedians from the 1980s on until the late 2000s. Many jokes would revolve around his face lifts, childlike behaviour or supposed paedophilia. After his death this shtick has more or less disappeared.
  • Sending a space mission to land on the sun— at night, of course. Then, it'll be safe.
  • "Excuse me, sir/madam, are you in show business?"
    • "No."
    • "Then get your feet off the stage!"
  • Pedophile Priest jokes, usually to be more vulgar, they especially use the phrase "fucking boys".
  • A motto that drugs are good and religion is bad (overlaps with Pedophile Priest jokes).
  • Creationist museums or creationism in general is like The Flintstones.
  • If we built a wall to keep the Mexicans out, who would build it?
  • Asking a tall person, "How's the weather up there?".
  • Taking the "Slow Children Playing" sign literally.
  • Anything about Keith Richards being a massive drug user.
  • Asking someone walking a dog "Who is walking who?". Especially when the dog is pulling, but sometimes just to any dog-walker.
  • "What do you get when you cross an X and a Y?"
  • "What do you call an X?"
    • "What do you call an X with no ears? Anything you want; it can't hear you" or "What do you call an X with no legs? Anything you want; it won't come anyway."
  • "What did the X say to the Y?" (or "What did one X say to the other?")
  • Jokes about blondes being dumb or promiscuous.
  • "Doctor, doctor" jokes. Jokes about a patient and a doctor having humorous conversations.
  • "Mommy! Mommy!" jokes, which are Black Comedy jokes about a kid (usually a boy) asking an Innocent Awkward Question to his abusive mother.
  • Comparing walking up a tall/steep hill, or up the stairs in a tall building, to a full-blown mountaineering expedition.

Alternative Title(s): Stock Schtick, Stock Shtick, Stock Joke, Stock Shticks