I Have A Shakespeare Joke, But…

Though it’s not yet achieved the classic status of the knock-knock joke, the “I have a _____ joke but ______” has become an Internet favorite over the last few years. As is our wont, let’s add Shakespeare to that list, shall we?

I Have a Shakespeare Joke, But…

William Shakespeare as a stand-up comedian.
What is the deal with these fardels? Are we bearing them, are we not bearing them? Who are these people bearing all the fardels!

I have a Hamlet joke but can’t decide how to finish it.

I have a Romeo and Juliet joke but you probably heard it back in high school.

I have a Macbeth joke that always gets a good laugh, but it really kills in Scotland.

I have a Lavinia joke but can’t say it out loud.

I have a Midsummer Night’s Dream joke but it’s pretty asinine.

I have a joke about that silent bit during the play-within-a-play in Hamlet, but it’s dumb.

I have a Shakespeare joke but everybody else claims they wrote it.

Surely there are more out there? Let’s hear them!

Shakespearean Dad Jokes

William Shakespeare at the grille flipping burgers, where all dads eventually find themselves.
Nice grille you got there, Shakespeare. What is that, a Weber? How much that set you back, you don’t mind me asking?

In all our years of writing and collecting Shakespeare jokes, I can’t remember if we ever did this theme. We’ve got knock-knock jokes, lightbulb jokes, and duck jokes, and I’ve forgotten how many others. But we seem to have snubbed the classic, the “Dad joke.” Which is surprising because if you ask my kids, dad jokes are all I’ve got.

Let’s rectify that situation, shall we?

Hamlet: “I am too much in the sun.”
Claudius: “Hi, too much in the sun. I’m Dad.”

I heard that Lavinia can play the piano by ear. Which makes sense since she can’t use her hands. (Was that tasteless? I heard Lavinia jokes were tasteless.)

Juliet: “I’ll call you later!”
Romeo: “Don’t call me later, call me Romeo!”

Ophelia didn’t suffer from insanity, it seemed like she was really enjoying herself.

Romeo: I had a date with Juliet tonight. It was awesome.
Mercutio: Wait, seriously?
Romeo: Yeah. Tomorrow, we’re going to try figs.

Gloucester walks into a bar. And then a table, and a chair, and another table…

Beatrice: Lord, I could not endure a husband with a beard on his face.
Leonato: I didn’t like it at first either, but it grew on me.

Of all the crimes that Macbeth committed, people often forget that both he and his wife were guilty of resisting a rest.

Where my Shakespeare dads at? Add your own in the comments!

ChatGPT Gets My Jokes. I Think.

I recently learned that not only can ChatGPT tell you a joke, you can tell it one as well. Even better, it will compliment your joke and explain it back to you! Well, in the interest of research I had to ask it some of our favorite, original, Shakespeare jokes. This way I know for sure that it didn’t scan these jokes and responses off another page. I’m actually rather impressed with the results. You’ll see what I mean.

Well, we had to start somewhere. The AI knows that you’ve got a humorous premise right out of the gate by bringing a duck into a bar, but seems confused about the difference between “I was talking about the duck” and “I was talking to the duck.”

Ok, next try.

I love how it recognizes that I’m talking about King Lear, and the contrast of making a joke about a tragedy. But it completely misses the “down” as in “soft feathers” part of the joke and seems to concentrate on duck. I think its version of the joke is funnier, honestly, as it implies some sort of powerful wizard duck that can magically help Gloucester get down from the cliff.

I’ve got a million of ’em.

This one I thought would be a real challenge, but ChatGPT nails it almost completely. It picks up on the duck / Swan reference, the “duck to get out of the way” reference, the “rivalry” between Shakespeare and Edward de Vere, and even thows in a “people getting hit in the face with a pie is always funny” closer.

I wonder if the aspiring stand-up comedians out there have thought about using ChatGPT in their work? This shows that you can literally make up a joke that *you* think is funny, and then have the AI break it down for you. Oh, and for those thinking that it’s programmed to love all jokes:

I had no joke in mind, there. I just threw together two phrases because I was curious what it would do. Sure enough it called me out and said that’s nonsense.

Now I’m going to start running all my jokes through ChatGPT first. I would do the same with some of Bardfilm’s, but I don’t want to break the thing.

Drive By Earl of Oxford Jokes

I had no other place for these!

How many Earls of Oxford does it take to change a lightbulb?
None. Shakespeare does it and Oxford just takes the credit.

Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
Earl of Oxford.
*shhhhhh! Maybe he’ll think we’re not home!*

Why did the Earl of Oxford cross the road?
He thought maybe people on the other side might actually believe he wrote Hamlet.

Anybody got more?

A Duck Walks Into A Bard

What came first, Shakespeare or duck jokes?  Our favorite playwright may have invented the “knock knock” joke as well as the “yo mama” joke, but we’re having trouble coming finding any duck jokes in the First Folio (although we do learn that Trinculo can swim like one).

So, Bardfilm and I decided to help out.  We’ve done chicken crossing the road jokes, light bulb jokes, knock knock jokes … it was only a matter of time, wasn’t it?  It’s time for

Shakespeare Duck Jokes

  • What do you get when you cross a duck with the innkeeper from the Henry plays?  Mistress Quackly
  • Duck walks into an apothecary shoppe and orders a dram of poison.  Apothecary says, “Let me guess, you want me to put that on your bill.”Duck says, “No I need to get to Juliet’s tomb first, I’ll do it there.”OR

    Duck looks aghast and says, “What’re ya trying to do, kill me?!”

  • “Blow, winds, and quack your cheeks!”   – Duckling Lear
  • Why was the duck nervous about seeing Hamlet?  He heard someone threaten to “Murder Most Fowl.”
  • Ophelia is out picking flowers when she sees a branch of particularly nice ones dangling out over the river.  She sees a duck swimming by and calls out, “Hey duck!  How deep is the water?””About waist deep,” the duck answers back.

    Ophelia confidently strides into the water, immediately goes in over her head and is swept away by the current.  Gertrude, who saw this whole thing happen, shouts at the duck, “You told her the water was only waist deep!”

    Duck says, “It is to me!”

  • Falstaff walks into a bar with a duck under one arm.  He sits at the bar, puts the duck down on a stool next to him.  Mistress Quickly comes over and says, “Get that filthy animal away from my bar!”  Falstaff lifts the duck off the stool, places him on the floor.  Mistress Quickly says, “I was talking to the duck, Jack.
  • Gloucester’s at the top of the Cliffs of Dover.  He screams, “How do I get down?”  Edgar screams back, “OFF A DUCK!”
  • Will Shakespeare is walking toward the tavern one day when he sees Ben Jonson coming from the other direction.  Suddenly the Earl of Oxford sneaks up behind Shakespeare an hurls a tremendous piece of ox manure at him.  “Duck!” yells Jonson to Shakespeare.  “Swan!” Shakespeare calls back, “We decided you’d call me” and thats when he got smacked with the manure.
  • Duck says to Hamlet, “I forget all my lines in the next scene!”  Hamlet says, “Can’t you just wing it?”

Thanks as always to Bardfilm, the Hardy to my Laurel, the Curly to my Larry, the Lewis to my Martin, the Kermit to my Fozzie Bear.