“Three men are stranded on a desert island, and all they want to do is leave. But none of them is smart enough to figure out a plan. One day they find a magic lamp and out pops a genie who tells them they can make three wishes. The men agree to share the wishes and the first man says, “I want to be 50% smarter,” and boom, he’s 50% smarter. The second man says, “I want to be 75% smarter,” and boon, he’s 75% smarter. The third man says, “I want to be 100% smarter,” and boom…the genie turns him into a woman.”
I’ve rephrased this one to include a wider variety of tenses and then used it to introduce or practice reported speech, sometimes assigning “roles” by handing out slip of paper (FIRST MAN: I want to be 50% smarter) so students can help me tell the joke. It’s corny enough to be funny. I’ve also used this joke and others just to start or end classes in a more engaging and lighter way.
In general, I prefer slightly longer jokes to one-liners because I find students more likely to get them, and I generally keep it clean not only for professional reasons but also because I don’t want to have to explain if people don’t get a more colorful joke. It can be hard for students to reciprocate with translated jokes of their own, but I’ve gotten a bunch of winners from Sarajevo, many not really passing the “clean” test to be retold in other classes.
DOWNLOAD OUR TRAVEL GUIDES
Alternately, become a member of BootsnAll Travel and search the Chit-Chat Forum for a thread called “Share your jokes here” (okay, not all of these pass the clean test either).