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Jokes and Riddles

Tell jokes and riddles to your friends and family to pass the time on those slow and lazy days when you just can’t decide what to do can be fun. You can take great pleasure as they laugh or sit scratching their heads trying to figure out a difficult (yet fairly easy) riddle.

Jokes and Riddles as a Fun Pastime

Jokes and Riddles

Jokes and riddles are very much the same thing. Both exist as either a question or a statement where double meanings and innuendo are the course of the day. There are many styles of jokes ranging from the classic “knock-knock” joke to the popular 90’s “Yo Momma” jokes. A joke simply takes something mundane and ordinary and exaggerates or it just makes it silly. In the “insult” joke you take how someone looks, talks or walks and exploit it. You can see this kind of joke in most stage comedy routines and even in rap battles.

There are actually books available that tell you how to write jokes and to properly perform them. Timing is everything in the joke. How you tell it goes a long way to getting to and recognizing the punch line – the end of the joke that makes a person chuckle or roll their eyes.

Jokes can also be told in the form of a riddle. Riddles love to use the double meanings of words that sound the same like “red” and “read”. The “enigma” is presented as a metaphor or as an allegory where careful thinking is needed and the “conundrum” relies on the riddle itself to provide enough clues to come to the conclusion.

Jokes and riddles have been a pastime since they’ve been etched onto the walls of temples in Tibet, Japan and ancient Persia as a way to test the minds of those who took the time to read them. Minstrels from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance turned jokes and riddles from the written word into songs of entertainment for the masses. They even used to pass along secret information to those wishing to overthrow governments and the French underground used riddles to pass information to the Allies to aid them in the fight against Nazi Germany.

Ancient Greeks had parties and celebrations surrounding jokes and riddles of all sorts. They would be told to the partygoers and if they got them right they were awarded prizes and some were crowned with laurel and then revered for the rest of the evening and treated as a king. This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg as riddles and jokes are found in every city and society in the world in one form or another.

The Art of the Punch Line

As mentioned previously telling a joke or a riddle takes skill and practice because timing can mean everything! Constructing a riddle or a joke follows the same principles.

  1. Choose a topic you want to exploit either as something being funny, serious or just not right;
  2. Make a list of everything that you know about the subject;
  3. Create the end answer or punch line first then work backwards adding your own quips, musings and ideas.

Riddles will give clues or ask questions of the person that is reading or that you are telling them to. Remember that telling a riddle, as opposed to having them read, goes a long way to how you would construct them because the old joke: “What is black and white and red (read) all over?” is not very well transferred to being read as you have to give the same sounding word in order to come to the correct conclusion because instead of a newspaper (with read) it could be answered as a bloody cow or something.

Finding Riddles and Jokes to Tell

The Internet is a great depository for many riddles and jokes that you can use to tell people or to give you your own ideas to create your own.

Sources for Riddles

Sources for Jokes

By Mike Johnson