User:Asahatter/Knock Knock Joke

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A door. A knocker. Your route to comedy gold.

“Oscar silly question, get a silly answer.”
~ Oscar Wilde on Knock knock jokes

The knock knock joke is an hilarious joke format dating back to prehistory, which has survived, largely unchanged over the centuries, much to the delight of all comedy connoisseurs. Although the basic format is simple, the flexibility of the form has ensured its longevity and acceptance as the very acme of comedic wit. The jokes vary from clever puns to subtle satirical commentaries and have been espoused by raconteurs of the likes of Dorothy Parker, Voltaire and Jimmy Krankie[1].

edit Knock Knock

The knock knock joke predates all other forms of comedy, with the earliest evidence in the form of neolithic cave paintings discovered in Lascaux in 1940 by Pierre deCoup, a French teenager who was had to be admitted to hospital to have his ass sewn back on following his find. Although the effectiveness of the joke was hampered by the fact that everyone in those days was called Ug and caves didn't have doors, experts[2] immediately hailed it as a work of pure comedy genius.

More sophisticated versions have been found in tomb paintings from Ancient Egypt; the greatest being the classic "Ankh who?", which eclipsed the "Toot-and-come-in" gag at the Mummies award ceremony of 1323BC. Even the ruler, Cleopatra, is believed to have attempted to amuse her guests with her own versions of the gag, which she acted out using a puppet of her pet asp, Monty. This "famous pair", the prototype double act, was frequently remarked upon by none other than her lover, Mark Anthony.

In mediaeaivel, mediaval, medeaiaval, olden times, the knock knock joke evolved further. During this period a joker would knock upon the jokee's portcullis with a battering ram, whereupon the jokee simply poured boiling oil over them and laughed at their expense for over a fortnight. Whilst this approach lacked the subtlety of the modern form, it still provides the basis of most TV quiz shows aimed at 8 year olds. Formal knock knock tournaments evolved from this tradition, with skilled knockers donning full armour to spout witticisms from their chargers in an attempt to unseat fellow competitors. Tournament winners were traditionally rewarded with a kiss from the Lady Anne and a scented handkerchief, which they could use to ward off the pox.

It was not until the days of Shakespeare that the knock knock joke acquired its present-day form, when in Macbeth the porter announces the arrival of various guests, and dismisses them in equal measure. As the porter is always portrayed by a drunken actor effecting the accent of a drunken Scotsman. the true genius of the dialogue remains a mystery to anyone born outside of Thespia, but contemporary accounts maintain that the jokes are the work of pure genius, and only a Philistine would fail to appreciate their true wit.

edit Who's There?

It is universally acknowledged that the knock knock joke really came of age with the invention of the door and its associated accoutrements. Doors were the brainchild of blond beauty, Diana Doors, whose knockers caused great amazement in her native city of Bristol and were soon seen featuring on all fashionable houses across the land.

The poet Walter de la Mere immediately captured the spirit of the age in his poem "The Listeners", which can be summarized thus:

Traveller: Knock Knock.

A bird flies up out of a turret

Traveller: A lonely traveller with a champing horse.

Moonbeams throng faintly

Traveller: OK, so that's your attitude. I'm sure your neighbours would love to purchase my collection of cleaning products.

Silence plunges softly backward

Thus commenced the "Golden Age of Comedy" with new and hilarious knock knock jokes being repeated in playgrounds throughout Britain Writers such as Aldous Huxley experimented further with the joke, with his "Doors of Perception", bravely eschewing the conventional answer/response format and including such punchlines as "a large purple rabbit with giant teeth swimming in a sea of mosquito-flecked custard". Samuel Beckett took the form to new heights in Waiting for Godot, as this extract shows:


Estragon: Did you hear something knocking?

Vladimir: Knocking? Are you sure?

Silence. Estragon examines his left boot and flicks away an invisible stone in the sole.

Estragon: Godot? Is that you, Godot?

Vladimir: God only knows.

Silence. Someone in the audience coughs and looks at their watch.

Even Zen master make use of the form, maintaining that the sound of 1 hand knocking is the equivalent to nirvana or perfect enlightenment, particularly when the deliverer is "Isabella".

edit Who Cares?

Before the 20th century the knock knock joke had few practical uses, as it was perfectly safe to leave your door open. This situation changed with the invention of submarines.

To this day, the knock knock joke remains a staple within literary circles. For example in 1996 the Oxford University Entrance Exam featured the question "If someone initiates a knock knock joke in a forest, and there is no-one there to respond, is it still hilarious?" [3]. Some raconteurs, however, maintain that the knock knock joke is dying out, and cite the emergence of the doorbell as a potential threat to the tradition. Although the Great Duracell Bunny Uprising of 2005 delayed the door-bell's impact, wits such as Leslie Phillips continue their attempts to subvert the form, with "ding dong" jokes finding increasing favour among the comedically challenged.

Perhaps the greatest threat to the form has been the invntion of the automatic door, which typically results in the following exchange:

Knoc.. oh, bugger, it's opened. Should I just walk in? But what about the vague sense of suspense and the hilarious punchline? It's just not ...

Oh look, fresh baguettes. They smell so good...

Must buy baguettes, must buy baguettes...

With so many threats to this acme of wit, none other than Queen Elizabeth the Second has stepped in to prevent it falling into obscurity. WhileHer Majesty herself is far too important to go round knocking on doors willy-nilly, she has employed an official "knocker", known as "Black Rod" who initiates an annual ceremony in the Houses of Parliament.

edit Notes

  1. The likes of them, not actually them.
  2. Professor Barry Elliot at the University of Chuckles
  3. The correct answer was "No"
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