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The Comedian's Antithesis

How to not tell a joke

“Want to hear a joke?”

Sure, I love a good joke. Is it funny?”

[pause] “Why do you think it's called a joke?”

Oh, yeah, okay, go ahead.”

“Alright, a priest, a rabbi, and a reverend walk into a bar an...”

Wait a minute, why are these three together, they're like natural enemies, always stealing souls from one another to save. That doesn't make much sense.”

[pause] “It doesn't have to make sense, it's a joke.”

Sure it does, right up to the punchline it should make sense.”

[pause] “Maybe they teamed up to save a really bad soul. Does that make more sense to you?”

Yeah, I guess that's logical, go on.”

“Alright, a priest, a rabbi, and a reverend walk into a bar..”

Does it have to be a bar? I'm uncomfortable with a portrayal of the clergy going into a place that serves alcoholic beverages.”

[pause] “So you would like it be be some other type of business, is that right?” You'd be more comfortable?”

Oh yeah, much more comfortable. Will it ruin the joke?”

“ No, I can change it if it'll make you more comfortable. A priest, a rabbi, and a reverend walk into a whore house and..”

Hold it, wait! That's even worse. A whore house? They surely wouldn't be going in a whore house, would they?

[pause] Where else would they find so many souls to save? Just think of the misguided souls of those poor sinners. Have you no compassion for those women?”

Well,...sure I do. But a whore house. I'm not at all comfortable with that. Can't you use the bar instead? I'd be more comfortable, I guess.”

“Are you sure you want to hear this at all? I don't want to make you uncomfortable.”

Of course I want to hear it. You certainly know what a terrific sense of humor I have. I love your jokes. Whenever you explain them I find them uproarious.”

“Um, yeah, okay, They walk into a bar and they...”

Can I ask you something first?”

[pause] “Alright, what is it now?”

I just want to know what denomination the reverend is a member of. Which religion?

[pause] “Why would you want to know that? What difference would it make to you?”

I'm just trying to form a mental picture. I have a great imagination, you know. I can see the other ones but the reverend is a little fuzzy yet.”

“It won't make a difference. Why don't you pick one? There's a bunch you can choose from, isn't there?”

Well sure, but I don't want to mess up your joke. If I picked an Episcopalian, that could be confusing. They both call themselves priests, you know.”

“Then why don't you pick another, there's still plenty, please pick one.”

Okay, let's see, I've never been too fond of the Methodists, would a Lutheran work?”

'He'd work just dandy. Can I finish now?”

Alright, maybe just one more little thing.”

[longer pause] “Alright, what is it.”

The rabbi, is he a reformed Jew or one of those Hasidic ones, the ones with the black hats and sideburns?”

“What are you talking about, they're only in there, with the others, to contrast with one another? Why would that make any difference?”

Oh. I'm sorry, I've upset you, please go on.”

[very long pause] “Shit, I've forgotten the punch line.”

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