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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Eleven Plus Humour

I met a boy over the weekend – and had seen him on several previous occasions. We had talked about work and his aspiration but nothing in his make up prepared me for the stream of jokes that something in our conversation undammed. I think he found a very weak remark on my part a licence to tell jokes.

He started with a standard joke:

A blind man went into a shop,
Picked his dog up by the tail and
Swung it around his head.
“Can I help you?” asked the assistant.
“No thanks,” said the blind man, “I’m just looking around.”

We know that we should not laugh at disability – especially visual impairment.

We know too that we should not laugh at the idea of dog being thrown around.

Not all people with a disability can laugh at themselves.

So why did he chuckle at his own joke? Why did a different eleven plus child (a very bright girl sitting near by) immediately question the need for a dog to be mistreated?

The boy, not yet characterised as a comedian, then told a different joke.

“Why did the old lady cover her
mouth with her hands when she

To catch her false teeth.

This joke too pokes fun at age and disability.

By the girl had returned to her work and did not even look up.

In the space of two school boy jokes we uncovered laughter at:

Cruelty to animals

The ability to recall jokes is not an important element of any eleven plus course – and some may find the jokes distasteful. The ability to recall and tell a joke, with good timing, is a rare skill. I wonder if the telling jokes or being a comedian is the domain of the more able. Certainly the comedians we see on the television obviously have a team of gifted comedy writers behind them but they often also have the rare skill of being able to laugh at them selves.

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