Saturday, 28 April 2012

Gagging Order

By Ashley Lister

Q: What do you call a fish with three eyes?
A: a fiiish.
I used that gag in an English class I was teaching this week. I used it for three reasons.
1) It’s a good gag so it deserved to be aired.
2) I wanted to get the class relaxed and bonded and I knew the communal groan from that one would help them start working together.
3) It simply and effectively illustrates a disparity between spelling and pronunciation that is often the cause of most difficulties with written communication. From this springboard I was able to discuss sound/spelling anomalies and even able to tangentially link the subject to homophones.
Using gags in the classroom is one of my guilty pleasures.
Perhaps part of this is relatable to having a father who worked on the stage as a stand-up comedian. Aspirations to emulate parents can form deep-rooted motivating forces.
Or maybe it’s because I desperately crave the affirmation of laughter? Hearing people laugh with me suggests I’m liked and indicates I have met with societal approval. Perhaps I crave that? What do you think? Please write something nice in the comments boxes below to let me know which you think it is. Please.

Q: What’s long brown and sticky?
A: a long brown stick.
Again, this one gets aired in the classroom for three reasons.
1) It’s funny.
2) A class that is laughing together will work better together and achieve communal goals more easily: an opinion supported by Banduras’s ideas on Social Learning Theory, Reciprocal Determinism and Social Cognitive Learning.
3) Again, it simply and effectively illustrates the mutability of word classes with the differentiation between ‘sticky’ as a verb (meaning something to which things can adhere) and ‘sticky’ as an adjective referring to the identifiable qualities of a stick (which is then shown in the punchline in its noun form).
Cracking gags is one of many guilty pleasures in which I indulge. And, if there’s anyone reading this who feels willing to share a gag in the box below, please rest assured that the good and clean ones will be stolen and shared with deserving classes.


Lindsay said...

What do you call a man with no arms or legs in a swimming pool?


Ashley R Lister said...

I'd forgotten about those gags. They have always cracked me up:
What do you call a man with a shovel on his head? Doug.
What do you call a man without a shovel on his head? Douglas.

I'm going to spend the morning entertaining Tracy with all of these. Expect to see the story of the homicide in Monday's Gazette.

Nikki Magennis said...

My favourite: A woman walks into a pub and asks for a double entendre, so the barman gives her one.

Louise Barklam said...


Q: What did the Mancunian Goat say when he saw his Son?

A: Alright, our Kid?

Ashley R Lister said...

Nikki & Louise,

These are so bad they're good. Thank you.


Emerald said...

Both of those made me laugh out loud, Ash. And I'd also like to say I found this post delightfully eloquent. (I know you've tended to not like adverbs so much, but it really, really fits there! ;))

It also reminds me of an exchange my partner and I have had:

He: Do you want to hear two short jokes and one long joke?

I: Sure.

He: Joke, joke, jooooooke.


And this one I am 100% stealing—I wish I could take credit for it (!), but I saw it on Facebook:

"The past, present, and future walk into a bar. It was tense."

(I have to admit it made me laugh out loud when I first saw it, and it just did again when I typed it. :))

Ashley R Lister said...

Thank you, Em! I shall be stealing both of these :-)