The Great Muffin Joke Debate

By Sean Carroll | March 13, 2007 8:23 pm

Muffins Our current task, as Serious Bloggers, is to pass judgment upon whether the Muffin Joke is funny. Here is the joke itself:

So there are these two muffins baking in an oven. One of them yells, “Wow, it’s hot in here!”ย

And the other muffin replies: “Holy cow! A talking muffin!”

John Tierney (New York Times) thinks the Muffin Joke is not funny. Brad DeLong (Berkeley) disagrees, claiming that the Muffin Joke is, in fact, funny, although he offers no argument to support his conclusion. Jack Balkin (Yale) also finds the Muffin Joke funny, and does offer a rationale:

The muffin joke is funny because it is self-undermining. The punch line undermines the suspension of disbelief that the joke’s narrative presumes. It is kind of like breaching the fourth wall in drama. It’s like the line in Dr.Strangelove “You can’t fight in here. This is the War Room!” or the Atheist Hymn we came up with in high school: “There is no God, there is no God, He told me so himself.”

He admits, however, that by offering this explanation, he has thereby wrung all of the funniness out of the Muffin Joke. That’s as may be.

I come down on the pro-Muffin-Joke side of the debate. To me, it’s quite funny. Is this some sort of Ivory-Tower Academics vs. Hard-Nosed Journalists thing?

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Humor
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  • http://stupac2.blogspot.com Stuart Coleman

    I felt vaguely insulted by the Times article, since I’ve always loved the muffin joke. I agree with Jack, that the key to the funniness is that the absurdity of what the second muffin says.

  • http://www.twistedphysics.typepad.com Jennifer Ouellette

    While it pains me to agree with Tierney, in this case, I have to say, the muffin joke left me cold. Balkin’s rationale in favor of the funny correctly identifies the kind of humor the joke is aiming for. I just think it falls short of that target. The quote from Dr. Strangelove? Now THAT’s funny…

  • Sam Gralla

    wtf, this is my favorite joke. Now, with all the publicity I won’t be able to tell it any more =(.

  • Aaron Bergman

    Count me as funny.

  • http://aggiebagle.blogspot.com/ Aggie

    I hadn’t heard it before. But I laughed. I think it’s very funny.

    I find it quite similar to the Mad Cow joke: Two cows are sitting in a field. One cow says to the other “Have you heard about this Mad Cow’s diesease that has been going around?” and the second cow replies “Really? How awful! Thank goodness I’m a helicopter”.

    But I think the muffin joke is more funny :)

  • Elliot

    It’s funny. The obvious conclusion is that Mr. Tierney just doesn’t have a good sense of humor.

  • http://mollishka.blogspot.com mollishka

    I’ve heard it before, and yet I still laughed when I read it. And if I laughed, then it is funny. But then, I might just be tired, and things tend to be funnier when I’m tired.

  • o o o

    There’s a funnier version, in which two talking sausages are in a frying pan. That’s the way I originally heard it, way back in the late nineties.

  • http://theeternaluniverse.blogspot.com/ Joseph Smidt

    It’s funny, but I’ve heard better.

  • http://www.fizzygoo.com Fizzygoo

    This is one of my favorite jokes. I find it funnier when the “cow” in “Holy Cow!” is replaced by the common English expletive for excrement, but I’ve found the joke to go over well in its current form when used in more polite circles or with children.

  • Ben L

    I find this quite funny. I do tend to respond very well to self-referential humor, and I’ve always assumed that was correlated with me being an academic.

  • Sourav

    Can’t say I dig the joke. My tastes run more offensive/absurd (think Conan O’Brien). There are some classic jokes about Abelian groups (link, scroll to bottom), but I feel compelled to change the jokes around just to anger my mathematician friends. For example:

    Q: What’s so special about an Abelian grape?
    A: It has no color.

  • agm

    It appeals to the genetically-inherited sense of humor in my family. Definitely funny.

  • Thomas Larsson

    “There is no God, there is no God, He told me so himself.”

    and Dirac is his prophet.

  • http://rhymeswithmaria.blogspot.com rhymeswithmaria

    This joke has been something of a litmus test with a group of friends from my undergrad years. We decided years ago (early ’00s, that is) that if someone thought this joke was funny, s/he must be good people. So clearly I’m in the funny camp.

  • http://quasar9.blogspot.com/ Q9

    Is “muffin” no longer used as a term of endearment in the cold cynical world, – you know, like “pumpkin” “petal” etc

    Is it just quirky mums tell tales of what their little pumpkin got up to at play school, or conversations they overhead between “petal” and the girl next door.

    PS – I take it they were english speaking muffins, or has the joke been translated.
    Funny how jokes don’t travel well, they used to say that about wine too.

    So Sean, is the Universe a muffin or a souffle?

  • Mark

    Count me in the “funny” camp. It’s funny because it violates your expectations in a very absurd and angular way. Similar to my very favorite joke:

    Q. What’s red and invisible?
    A. No tomatoes.

  • http://thechocolatefish.blogspot.com/ Yvette

    A few years ago, a group in the UK tried to find the world’s funniest joke, and ended up discovering that humor preferences changed a lot by country- Americans and Australians prefer crude jokes, stuff like that. They also found that Europeans, particularly Germans, like jokes that are considered “surreal play on reality” and aren’t found particularly funny by many people who have culturally not been exposed to it, or something. (The muffin joke obviously fits in this category. By the way, I think it’s cute.)

    For those who liked the muffin joke, here’s the joke that won in the “surreal play on reality” category. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    “A dog walks into a telegraph station and dictates his message to the operator. ‘Woof woof woof woof woof woof.’
    ‘It’s the same price for six or seven words,’ the operator says. ‘Would you like to add another “woof” for free?’
    ‘Of course not,’ says the dog, ‘that would make no sense at all!'”

  • kapakapa

    #16 ‘So Sean, is the Universe a muffin or a souffle?’

    Sorry for butting in, but I would say it is a souffle. Timing of the inflation is everything.

  • fh

    Is soooo funny.

  • fh

    I guess it’s all in the way you tell/read it though….

  • http://quasar9.blogspot.com/ Quasar9

    Hi kapakapa,
    I hear a loud noise or Bang can make souffles go flat (like a pancake?)
    Don’t know if a dog bark is loud enough

    And I guess no muffin joke would be complete without a pic of a Muffin Top

  • http://michaeldunn.blogspot.com Michael D

    definitely funny.

    and to add another joke along these lines:

    Two cows standing in a field.
    A car drives past.
    One cow says “mooooo!”
    The second cow turns to the first and says,
    “Bastard! I was going to say that!”

  • http://scienceblogs.com/principles/ Chad Orzel

    Stolen from a commenter on my own blog, whose name I forget:

    Two fermions walk into a bar. The first one orders a gin and tonic. The second says “Dammit, that’s what I was going to have.”

    Re: the muffin joke, I think it’s funny, but only once. And it’s not even that funny, if you’re familiar with the basic form.

    (Another variant: Two seals are in a bathtub. One says to the other “Please pass the soap.” The other one says “I can’t type!”

    (It’s not so much funny in its own right, is it is amusing to tell it to people and watch them try to figure it out.)

  • sleep-deprived parent

    I used to watch the kids’ show “Zoboomafoo (with the Kratt Brothers)” with my son when he would wake up extra-early in the morning. At the end they always tell a silly joke, of the type

    Q: What has 4 wheels and flies?
    A: A garbage truck.

    A great joke, but fairly ordinary. One morning they caught me off guard with a joke which made me laugh all day:

    Q: How can you tell the difference between an ant and a hippopautimus?
    A: The ant is easier to lift.

    Sometimes, simply defying expectations can be wildly amusing. The muffin joke, while not quite the same, reminded me of the ant/hippo joke.

  • citrine

    I found this joke a let down. :( I was expecting the punchline to involve the laws of Thermodynamics.

  • http://www.pha.jhu.edu/~npa N. Peter Armitage

    What is funny to me is that this joke being in the public eye as it was just being bandied about it with various friends and family members last week. The Nytimes is always one step behind my private conversations….

    This classic Russian absurdist anekdoty is a variant on it.

    A man is sitting with his dog, fishing. Suddenly, a cow head surfaces and says: “Hey, give me a cigarette.” The man, automatically, gives her a cigarette, and the head sumberges. The man, astonished, looks at his dog, which says: “What? What? I was totally shocked myself!”

    I vote ‘funny’ for both…. but I probably need to be a little punchy tired first to actually laugh.

  • http://cherryblossomgirl.wordpress.com nee

    It’s the irony that seals it.

    Humor is one of those intensely personal things. It can be an interesting factor of compatibility. I had a co-worker who didn’t get “Far Side” comics. We didn’t connect well. Napoleon Dynamite is another thing like that. I loved it. Perhaps because I was a socially awkward kid with some prototype dorky friends. I adored them. They were genuine and loyal. My friends who think that movie is totally stupid, our connection isn’t as strong as with other friends who “got” it.

    Well hey, take all kinds right? Initially, when I saw the picture, I thought this was going to be about the top of the muffin (ala Seinfeld). ha.

  • http://mollishka.blogspot.com mollishka

    But, Sourav, the real Abelian grape joke is the Funniest. Joke. Ever.

  • Mark P

    Meh.

    The commenters’ jokes were funnier.

  • http://rawdc.blogspot.com z.king

    It’s not that funny because it’s not that clever.

    You can replace muffin by any number of other inanimate objects. Whereas, in the examples given, there’s a strong connection between fighting and war, and there’s a connection between an atheist proposition and a communication from God.

    But I’m a person who has set a respectably high standard for my own attempts at being clever. Some are satisfied with mere surface attempts at being clever and funny; I’m not.

    And I pity such people. I really do. I pity them like, like,… But I refuse. I refuse to stoop to the level of such people. I refuse to put forth a statement of inferior cleverness for the sake of time.

  • http://www.shessuchageek.com Kristin

    I thought the joke was kind of funny. It reminded me of the old engineer/programmer-meets-talking-frog joke:

    An engineer was crossing a road one day when a frog called out to him, “If you kiss me, I’ll turn into a beautiful princess.” He bent over, picked up the frog and put it in his pocket.
    The frog spoke up again and said, “If you kiss me and turn me back into a beautiful princess, I will stay with you for one week.” The engineer took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it, and returned it to the pocket.

    The frog then cried out, “If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I’ll stay with you and do anything you want.” Again the engineer took the frog out, smiled at it, and put it back into his pocket.

    Finally, the frog asked, “What is the matter? I’ve told you that I’m a beautiful princess, that I’ll stay with you for a week, and that I’ll do anything you want. Why won’t you kiss me?” The engineer said, “Look, I’m an engineer. I don’t have time for a girlfriend; but a talking frog, now that’s cool!”

  • jackd

    Muffin Joke: tends toward “not” on the Funny/Not Funny scale.

    My preference is the Penguin Joke popularized by Garrison Keillor: “Two penguins are standing on an ice floe. The first penguin says, ‘You look like you’re wearing a tuxedo.’ The second penguin says, ‘What makes you think I’m not?'”

  • http://americansector.wordpress.com Josh

    My vote: not funny. But more importantly, THIS is more like it!! Exactly the kind of debate the blogosphere is meant for. Welcome home, Cosmic Variance… welcome home.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/sean/ Sean

    Dammit, Kristin, I was going to tell that joke. Except it’s obviously “physics student,” not “engineer.”

  • http://realityconditions.blogspot.com Alejandro

    My favourite silly joke of the kind that many have posted is the question:

    – What do an elephant and an ant have in common?
    – I don’t know.
    – They both start with the letter “A”.
    – Hey, “elephant” does not start with “A”!
    – Ah, but my elephant’s name is Albert.
    ๐Ÿ˜›

    (and then run away to prevent retaliation)

    A variation:

    – What do an elephant and an ant have in common?
    – I don’t know.
    – Neither of them can climb up a tree
    – Hey, an ant can climb up a tree!
    – Ah, but the ant I’m talking about is dead.
    ๐Ÿ˜›

  • efp

    I want to know The Muffin’s thoughts. The rest are details.

  • http://backreaction.blogspot.com/ B

    I’m another about-muffin-joke-laugher. It reminds me of the talking Burrito :-)

    @32,35 – It’s definitely an engineer! I told this joke to my younger brother when he decided to study mechanical engineering…

  • Roman

    The muffin joke is funny, but I’ve heard much more surreal ones.
    So we Poles have to be kind of like Germans, rather into absurd things (do not confuse with which jokes ABOUT us a popular)
    There was a running joke/radio show back in the 80s about two guys, one down to earth, quiet and intelligent, and the other nut head with serious problems.
    The nut head used to ask the smart one questions of the type:
    “Bobby, would you prefer to be healthy, rich and live a long live or be poor, sick BUT live short. Now, think about it for a moment, you don’t have to rush with your answer”
    The question is funny in itself, but it was even funnier when the smart guy tried to explain to the nut head the absurdity of his question.
    To me Groucho Marx was the master of this type of humor like when he was checking a pulse of somebody รขโ‚ฌ” “Either this man is dead or my watch has stopped.” or something to this effect.

  • TomC

    Funny. Funnier yet in the “two sausages” version. The phrase “talking sausage” is more fun to say and hear than “talking muffin.”

  • Stephanie

    I think it’s kind of funny. Muffins are one of those things that are inherently funny, sort of like chickens (as observed by Gary Larson).

    Now, these muffins are really funny.

  • Jason

    That abelian group math joke reminded me of this song by the Klein Four Group:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTby_e4-Rhg

    The really funny part, though, are some of the serious comments posted to the video :)

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/julianne Julianne

    But, Sourav, the real Abelian grape joke is the Funniest. Joke. Ever.

    In college, I thought it was the most hilarious thing I’d ever heard (Q: What’s purple and commutes? A: An Abelian grape), but was deflated when I realized I could only tell it to two other people.

    If you are in the cross section of people that find the muffin joke funny, and have kids, I highly recommend Arnie the Donut.

  • http://www.theory.caltech.edu/~preskill John Preskill

    I think it’s a terrific joke. You have to know how to tell it, of course.

    I’m not sure why, but it reminds me of another of my favorite jokes:

    A grasshopper hops into a bar and hops up onto a barstool. The bartender asks, “What’ll ya have?” but the grasshopper looks confused and doesn’t answer. Smiling sympathetically, the bartender says “I know what you’d like little fella: we serve a drink in this bar that’s named after you!” The grasshopper perks up and responds, “Really? You serve a drink named Steve?”

  • TBB

    A side note: One of the most argued about topics between couples is finances. What does it say that Sean and Jennifer disagree about the muffin joke? Can you see them baking muffins together one morning:

    Sean playing ventriloquist with muffin – tells joke:

    Jennifer: “That’s not funny.”

    Sean: “Yes it is! You’re just not seeing the subtle juxtaposition of its inherent absurdity – the play on words, its irony, its several layers of meaning so simply couched within two lines of dialogue. It’s a masterpiece of humor!”

    Jennifer: “I thought I was the English major.” (Steals muffin out of Sean’s hand and gobbles it up. )

    Sean: “That’s wasn’t funny.”

    Jennifer: “But it was…you just didn’t get it. Your reference frame is the problem, darling.” (Sean looks confused.)

    Sean: “You’re cute.”

    Jennifer: “You’re cute, too.” (Hug, kiss, marital bliss ensues…) ๐Ÿ˜‰

    (I didn’t say I was funny!)

    **Stephanie and Jason, those are good links – they’re funny!

  • TBB

    >>>Sean: “That’s wasn’t funny.”

    Omit ‘s.

  • Elliot

    Maybe we can create a C. V. variant of the joke using raisin muffins and merge with the other thread…

    Two raisin muffins are talking in the very early stages of the big bang.

    One says: Boy it is really hot in here.

    The other says: Yes and I can feel my raisins are all moving away from each other too.

  • spyder

    A little bandwidth gobblin,
    but it is, afterall, about the muffin:

    The muffin man is seated at the table in the laboratory of the utility muffin
    Research kitchen… reaching for an oversized chrome spoon he gathers an
    Intimate quantity of dried muffin remnants and brushing his scapular aside
    Procceds to dump these inside of his shirt…
    He turns to us and speaks:

    Some people like cupcakes better. I for one care less for them!

    Arrogantly twisting the sterile canvas snoot of a fully charged icing
    Anointment utensil he poots forths a quarter-ounce green rosette (oh ah yuk
    Yuk… lets try that again…!) he poots forth a quarter-ounce green rosette
    Near the summit of a dense but radiant muffin of his own design.
    Later he says:

    Some people… some people like cupcakes exclusively, while myself, I say
    There is naught nor ought there be nothing so exalted on the face of gods grey
    Earth as that prince of foods… the muffin!

    Girl you thought he was a man
    But he was a muffin
    He hung around till you found
    That he didnt know nuthin

    Girl you thought he was a man
    But he only was a-puffin
    No cries is heard in the night
    As a result of him stuffin

  • Changcho

    I liked it, I think it’s funny.

  • Doug K

    + 1 for funny..

    It seems to me a kind of kid joke, the sort of thing small boys (I have no experience with girls) find very amusing while they’re still finding their way through language and cultural assumptions. I still think it’s funny, though of course it may be that I never mastered the whole adult thing.

    My favorite in this vein:
    Q: what’s green and has four wheels ?
    A: grass, I lied about the wheels

  • tyler

    I think it’s funny that this post gets so many responses compared to the science posts I really come here for…I guess everyone is qualified to comment on it ;o)

    I vote mildly funny; perhaps more in the “amusing” category. Not a patch on Holmes and Watson camping, of course, or even “what do you call a Rastafarian proctologist?”, but not un-funny.

  • Kevin Runnels

    It’s funnier if you haven’t heard that kind of joke before. Jokes (and other things) are funny when they are unexpected. Especially “other things”, like farts. If we’re talking humor, it has to go “potty” eventually and I’m shocked that it took 53 posts to get there. I’m pleased to rectify the situation.

  • fh

    Julianne, the joke with thesmalles target audience of all surely has to be the one invariably told among 1st Year students struggling, hour for hour, day for day, through the proves of analysis 1:

    Let epsilon be smaller then zero.

  • http://arunsmusings.blogspot.com Arun

    The key to a successful blog is writing about things about which everyone can have an opinion. :)

  • Pingback: sysrick.com » links for 2007-03-15()

  • Jacob Russell

    Why we laugh, and what is humor… two different questions.

  • sam

    An atom walks into a bar. He looks really depressed. The bartender serves him a beer, and says “Hey buddy, what’s wrong?” The atom says “well, it’s pretty bad. I think I lost an electron.” The bartender replies “Really? You sure?” Atom: “Yep. I’m positive.”

    Or: Q. How do you kill a clown? A. Hit it in the face with an axe.

    Q. What’s the difference between a bagpipe and an onion? A. No one cries when you chop up an bagpipe.

    Finally: Bananas and stop lights are totally different. For a stop light, green means go, yellow means slow down, and red means stop. For a banana, green means slow down, yellow means go ahead, and red means…where’d you get that banana?

  • John Phillips

    I vote funny but not as funny as the woof woof telegram joke, now that one has me creased every time I think of it.

  • http://mingus.as.arizona.edu/~bjw/ Ben

    It’s not funny to a talking muffin that is BURNING TO DEATH IN AN OVEN.

  • bswift

    #57: the banana joke is Mitch Hedberg’s (may be rest in peace) and is only really funny as told with his cadence.

    I am pro-muffin joke. My favored telling ends more with a startling scream: “AAAAH!! TALKING MUFFIN!!”

  • http://harpervalley.wordpress.com scout

    it’s funny to me.

    what i find amusing is that most who don’t find it funny don’t offer a joke they like.

  • sharon

    The muffin joke is funny. (But some of the jokes in this thread are funnier.)

    The atheist joke, on the other hand, not very funny.

  • serg271

    Strange, there is no wikipedia article on Talking Muffin.

  • Elliot

    As BSwift points out regarding the banana joke and is worth repeating delivery matters…. big time particularly if it is Mitch Hedberg.

  • Charles T

    Sorry, I vote only very slightly funny. Not quite self-referentially clever enough.

    However – another joke that I do think is funny, but you can’t tell to very many people.

    Q: What do you get when you cross a pig with a rat?

    A: pig rat sin(theta), of course.

  • http://eggheadblog.ucdavis.edu Andy

    This is my favorite joke:

    What’s brown and sticky?
    A stick.

  • http://andyxl.wordpress.com/ Andy Lawrence

    Jokes are context dependent. This one is good to tell in stuffy restaurants :

    “How do you sell a deaf man a dog ?”
    “I don’t know”.
    “You say DO YOU WANT TO BUY A DOG ?

    Has to be loud enough to cause the whole restaurant to freeze. You may find some of your friends move table.

  • http://www.illuminatingscience.org/ Joel Gilmore

    I’m going to definitely vote on the side of funny – this is a great joke! Of course, it has to be told with animation and timing.

    Another joke I’ve always loved (in a vaguely similar vein):

    A: “Ask me what my job is, and what the hardest part of it is.”
    B: “What’s your job?”
    A: “I’m a comedian”
    B: “And what’s the harde…”
    A: “Timing!”

    And the (apologies to the Irish) Irish Knock-knock joke:

    A: Want to hear a joke?
    B: Okay
    A: Say “Knock knock”
    B: Knock knock.
    A: Who’s there?

    The muffin joke (as someone mentioned, better with sausages) is shocking because it isn’t what you expect, the same with many jokes – it’s just that here, it’s the joke itself we don’t expect!

  • http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/ John Baez

    After sufficiently careful analysis, any joke ceases to be funny.

  • BruinCosmonaut

    Many people’s jokes have been of the “anti-humor” variety. Consider the following excellent example:

    Q: What’s the difference between the a chicken and the Kyoto Protocol?

    A: One is a domestic fowl and the other is an international agreement on climate change.

  • kapakapa

    #22 ‘I hear a loud noise or Bang can make souffles go flat (like a pancake?)’

    I may be spoon fed the obvious answer, but the Bang could make ‘flat universe’, No? The birthing Bang comes with a deafening silence.

    Muffin top and whale tail are very descriptive and funny. I don’t know whether the same expression exists in English, but we call flabby elderly ladies’ upper arms ‘pilican bills’.

  • Biff

    Not very funny, but that’s only cos there are better variants of it around.

    Ironically though, there is no irony in the joke – interesting made up statistic – 90% of the time when people say that something is ironic, it’s not ! Which is terribly ironic.

    This is amusing :

    http://www.proudnerd.com/cgi-bin/store/nerdshop.cgi/1528951262/proudnerd.28448468

    Althought the correct answer is obviously a houseboat…

  • http://quantumnonsense.blogspot.com/ Qubit

    I think John Preskill joke is much funnier :). At least it not cricket.

    http://www.amazon.com/GUT-LOAD-CRICKET-DRINK-32/dp/B0002APVNO

  • fh

    Re #69: As the saying goes, dissecting humour is much like dissecting a frog, it’s not very pretty and both the frog and the humour tend to die in the process.

  • Theda

    Re #66: Andy, laughing doesn’t even describe it. I was screaming. Oh, that felt good. The stick joke reminds me of my (now second and third) favorite jokes:

    What is red and goes slam slam slam slam?
    A four door tomato!

    and

    Where does the queen keep her armies?
    In her sleevies.

    p.s. The muffin joke was just okay, but this thread is priceless.

  • Adam S

    Muffin Joke is def funny.

    Re: Charles T #65:

    Q: What do you get when you cross a rat and a mountain climber?
    A: You can’t. A mountain climber is a scaler
    (sorry…)

    Also, I can’t help but bring up “The Funniest Joke in the World” Monty Python skit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjbYNgIi5ss

  • http://predelusional.blogspot.com/ Stephen Uitti

    Muffins are funny.

    Cows are funny. The Universe is funny. This has both:

    So the Zen Master says to his hot dog vendor: “Make me one with everything”.

  • George Dickeson

    @adam S
    better version:

    Q: What do you get if you cross a mosquito with a mountain climber.
    A: You can’t cross a vector with a scalar.

    another geek joke (these are never funny, and there’s never anyone to tell them too, but…):
    Q: Why did the chicken cross the Moebius strip?
    A: To get to the other … oh wait…

    Also, I seem to remember a phase of “fridge jokes” in my childhood somewhere.

    Q: How do you get an elephant out of a tree?
    A: You throw a fridge at it!

    Q: How do you stop a turtle from running away?
    A: You put a fridge on its head.

  • kapakapa

    #77 ‘So the Zen Master says to his hot dog vendor: “Make me one with everything”.’

    A Zen master eats hotdog!? That’s an eye popping news.

    What fills a Zen master most other than mahhins?

  • kapakapa

    #77 – On second thought, since I laughed with the thought of Zen master ordering a hotdog and wanting ‘everything’, I should have gotten your profound joke. Please ignore the above post. Thanks.

  • TBB

    The “funniest” thing about this joke is reading all the responses to it all over the Internet. #15 was the most amusing (and I thought people who have pets are good people…lol). It cracks me up to see 80 responses in this thread, and some of the comments are definitely funnier than the joke itself. :-))

    The point of my post #45 was that I hope the worst argument Sean and Jennifer have is over something like the muffin joke. I agree with John Baez’s #69 comment; you can overanalyze any joke and it will cease to be funny. Perhaps when you’re debating something as subjective as a joke that’s going nowhere, eat a muffin, or we should be reminded to…or as someone pointed out, offer something funnier. :-/

    Again, the muffin joke sucks.

    As far as one or two-liners go, most of what Steven Wright says is usually clever…and funny. :-)

  • Ginger Yellow

    “Julianne, the joke with thesmalles target audience of all surely has to be the one invariably told among 1st Year students struggling, hour for hour, day for day, through the proves of analysis ”

    Clearly you’ve never had a structured finance pun competition.

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  • Dave

    I’ve seen better punchlines to “What did one spambot say to the other?” than the ones listed above, I must say! Disappionting, really. Whatever happened to high-quality spam*?

    This has been a great topic to follow – on a scale of one to fish, this would rank solidly as “amusing.” As for my own tastes, I take much guilty pleasure from a good** pun.

    *I’ll even settle for spam that tries to make sense, or at least pretends not to be garbage.
    **The actual existance of which may be debatable…?

  • Schwem

    After telling this joke i’d go up to people and point and yell “Look a talking muffin!!!”

  • someone

    this joke is REALLY funny… especially when “someone” says it!!! LOL

  • http://jm4847english.blogspot.com jm4847

    It’s funny but not “laugh out loud” funny, just “smile and nod” funny.

  • RandyW

    So a minister, a priest, and a rabbi walk into a bar.

    And the bartender says, “What is this? Some kind of a joke?”

  • critic cynic

    Read all the comments and thought, why is that muffin joke so funny? After thinking about muffins and relating muffins to their slang meaning, the joke can be sorta funny. when you picture two “muffins” talking. perfect joke to tell in a bar or a gentlemen’s club. and a joke to tell to guys, or people who like women. in my opinion. :)

  • critic cynic

    my spin on the muffin joke.
    “there are two muffins basking in the sun. first muffin says holy sh#t its hot out here. the second muffin say, holy sh@t a talking muffin.” hahaha. :p

  • jomama

    I’ve never heard this joke before. I think it’s funny because it’s simple. I’m suprised no one said my favorite joke yet:

    Two peanuts are walking down the street and one was a salted.

    See? Simple. And hilarious.

  • joe

    can somebody explain these jokes please!!!!!

    Q: Why did the mathematician name his dog “Cauchy”?
    A: Because he left a residue at every pole.

    Q: What do you get when you cross an elephant and a banana?
    A: | elephant | * | banana | * sin(theta)

    cant get it feel so stupid!!!

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Cosmic Variance

Random samplings from a universe of ideas.

About Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. His research interests include theoretical aspects of cosmology, field theory, and gravitation. His most recent book is The Particle at the End of the Universe, about the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs boson. Here are some of his favorite blog posts, home page, and email: carroll [at] cosmicvariance.com .

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