Wednesday, April 11, 2018

J - Jokes

If you know me personally, then you know that I like to be the funny guy. I love making people laugh. But it's more than that. I need it. I'm almost like an addict. If I haven't gotten a good laugh out of someone in a while, I tend to get a little stupid in public going for the cheap chuckles. This was not something I took into consideration when I moved to China.

The people here do not find me funny.

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you are well aware that just about everything I post is jokes. I make fun of everything and try to see the humor in any situation and figure out how to laugh at it. I am especially skilled at sarcasm. Unfortunately, sarcasm almost never translates well into Chinese. It is just not part of their culture.

My first week in China was mostly filled with meetings and training on the expectations of my job as an English teacher to small children. After a particularly lengthy speech from my trainer, I raised my hand and asked: "How many children are we allowed to choke each week?"

She looked confused, so I mimicked choking the person next to me to help her understand. She whispered something to her boss who shook her head and whispered something back. She then lowered her voice and looked me dead in the eye. "We don't do that here."

In the States, I'm used to laughter around me almost all the time, but here I almost never get it.

The Chinese do have senses of humor and love a good joke, but their jokes are very different from ours. Most of their humor seems to be based on puns. They love words that sound similar to other words. And since Chinese has a limited number of sound combinations, there are many many many words that are very similar if not exactly identical. And since my Chinese isn't strong enough to make the jokes they like, I generally just get a lot of awkward looks.

So, I put my jokes on social media. Now, China does not have Facebook or Twitter. They have other apps. The one I use is called WeChat. I thought having the written words in front of them would help, but it did not. Here are some screenshots.

I'm going to hire her to be my dietician.

I have tried many times to explain to my students what happened here.
The semantics of language sometimes cause confusion.
They understand that but fail to see why it's funny.

At least she has my best interests at heart.

Yeah, Peggy. We all do.

Violetta will not be fooled.

I have a Ukranian friend who takes my jokes and sends them to his Chinese friends and then sends me screenshots of their responses.

Her sense of justice has been triggered.

Yeah, Peggy, that's kind of the point.

Well, pretty much everything,
but that's not the point.

Are you sure? Maybe you need to meet more people.

As you may have already guessed,
Irving is not much fun at parties.

Violetta's a little girl,
so laughing at her makes me feel bad.

Well, technically no…that's where the joke part comes in.


  1. Replies
    1. Well, good. That's the one that really matters.

  2. The responses are sometimes funnier than the actual joke!

    1. Absolutely. I have a special Facebook folder just for these.

  3. I guess I have your sense of humor because I actually get what you're saying. violetta sounds so serious but I honesty think she really does care.

    have a lovely day.

    my latest a-z is: jolly laughs

    1. She is a 9 year old girl I met one time at an English competition. So, I don't really know her, but she tries to keep me moral.

  4. Those are some funny responses to your jokes. Weekends In Maine

  5. It seems you need to find a new audience for your humor. I enjoyed this post!

    1. Yeah. I'm going to try my act in other cultures next.


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