So I asked myself, “Self, is it possible to write a whole column about knock knock jokes without it getting, you know, really dumb and boring?” And when I realized the answer was “probably not” unless your readers are all about seven years old, that’s when I started looking up knock knock jokes. Knock knock. Who’s there? A little old lady. A little old lady who? I had no idea you could yodel!
Everybody from kindergarten on knows the format of knock knock jokes and just about every kid and most adults (who will admit it) have one or two favorites rattling around in the part of their brains that store silly stuff, keep useless information and somehow remember that the sum of the square roots of any two sides of an isosceles triangle is equal to the square root of the remaining side. Whatever that means.
Knock knock. Who’s there? A broken pencil. A broken pencil who? Never mind. It’s pointless. Some language scholars claim that the knock knock joke originated waaay back in the 1600s with, you guessed it: Rene Descartes, the honored philosopher who famously said, “I knock therefore, I am”. Just kidding, it was Bill (“William”) Shakespeare of course, who practically invented the English language, cross-dressing actors, and lengthy soliloquies that nobody understands. If you can somehow remember “Macbeth” from your Grade 11 English class and if you have an IQ of 140 with an eidetic memory you’ll no doubt recall the “Porter scene” whereupon a hungover gatekeeper had a famous (only to Shakespearian scholars) monologue in which he kept repeating “Knock knock! Who’s there?” Unfortunately, he didn’t follow the knock knock joke format with a pun-ishing retort because he’d just invented only the first part of the set-up.
Knock knock. Who’s there? Nobel. Nobel who? No bell, that’s why I knocked. The development of childish pun-based humor that is the DNA of knock knock joking was knocked around (sorry) throughout popular culture mostly at elementary school recess and mostly with Dads trying them out on their kids (Orange juice. Orange juice who? Orange juice glad I told you this joke?) until it enjoyed a renaissance through one of the most erudite, sophisticated TV shows of all time: Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In. The “sock to me”, “here come de judge” trailblazer even had a “Knock Knock Joke Wall” where doors would open and famous people would tell jokes. Knock knock. Who’s there? Candice. Candice who? Candice joking get any worse?
And still, to this very day, knock knock jokes find a way to wiggle into the weary world of groaners and bad badinage. After my second coffee, I happened to notice that it’s currently Easter weekend. And if you thought I was going to veer the topic away from KK Jokes, I’m pleased to say you were sadly mistaken… Knock knock. Who’s there? Wendy. Wendy who? Wendy Easter bunny coming? Knock knock. Who’s there? Sherwood. Sherwood who? Sherwood like to find some more Easter eggs! Knock knock. Who’s there? Dewey. Dewey who? Dewey have to listen to any more Easter knock knock jokes?
But if you’ve tuned out and quit reading already you’ve missed the proof that KK jokes are critical to the survival of all mankind. There is in fact a National Knock Knock Joke Day! What day is it? Well, what single day is made up of incessant door knocking? No, not politics or religion-related door knocking – it’s October 15th, Halloween. Who’s there? Boo. Boo who? Don’t cry, it’s Halloween! Who’s there? Dishes. Dishes who? Dishes a very bad Halloween joke.
And finally, it looks like we somehow made it to the end of entire column of knock knocks. Who’s there? Saul. Saul who? Saul there is, there ain’t no more.
Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker. You can send him column ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.