Learn all about Humor and Jokes in English (plus the best dirty joke ever)

laughter collageHaving fun is the single most important thing in learning a foreign language. It’s only when you have fun doing an activity that you can really become good at it and not just quit after the first burst of excitement is over. If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.

Now, is there any other better manifestation of  having fun than laughter? Let’s think… Um, well, no. There simply isn’t.

That’s exactly what we’re going to learn in today’s lesson. Well, not laughing because funnily enough that transcends any language. What I mean is the things that make you laugh in English. More precisely: jokes.

If you haven’t watched my video on jokes and humor, do that now as you will be able take better advantage of this article lesson. Plus, you will also have some laughs (yea, at my expense, but it’s okay).

[su_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pb8BSavrFHU” width=”700″][/su_youtube]

I hope you enjoyed it! Now, let’s quickly go over the same expressions I taught you to help you consolidate the new information. There’s also going to be some bonus expressions that you can only find here.

Tip: use this article for future reference if you forget some of the vocabulary from this lesson.

Let’s begin with cheesy jokes. These are the types of jokes that you and I can tell. They’re easy to remember and they’re always a guaranteed laugh because if the joke isn’t funny, people will laugh at your failed attempt to be funny (true story)!

Cheesy jokes

In my video you heard the following types of cheesy jokes:

  • Chuck Norris Joke
  • Knock-knock joke (perhaps the most common of all jokes)
  • What do you get if you cross this with that? joke
  • What do you call…? joke
  • What did x say to y? joke 

Below there are one example of each of these jokes that super star members of our community recommended:



imagesTwo other popular types jokes are the lightbulb jokes and blonde jokes. The lightbulb joke centers around inquiring how many people that belong to a special group it takes to change a lightbulb. The premise in this type of joke is always an overly stereotypical way of describing the people who belong to this specific group. For example, people in a specific profession or people from a specific country or culture.

Blonde jokes, on the other hand, are jokes that make fun of blonde women by describing situations where a blonde girl can’t find a solution or doesn’t have the correct answer. This is a joke that is based on the stereotypical assumption that blonde blonde women are dumb. Also, many times with the intention of over magnifying the blonde girl stereotype, these jokes have the phrase ‘Oh my God!‘ (or OMG), which is uttered in the same way a stereotypical blond would say it (with a high-pitched cry). For example:

Two blondes fell down a hole. One said, “It’s dark in here isn’t it?” The other replied, “I don’t know; I can’t see.”


Blonde: “What does IDK stand for?”
Brunette: “I don’t know.”
Blonde: “OMG, nobody does!”

Two extra types of jokes are:

  • Dirty jokes: usually about situations involving some kind of sexual activity or about taboo language related to intimate body parts.
  • Dark jokesusually about death or involving sad situations that would make most people feel depress rather than laugh. They can be about diseases or people in unfavorable conditions like orphans or homeless people.

These jokes are of course combined with the ones I mentioned before. So you can have dirty knock-knock joke, or a dark what do you call joke.

Vocabulary relating to jokes and humor

Let’s quickly go over the rest of the vocabulary you learned from the video and then we’ll get into the bonus vocab.

  • Lame jokes: Not funny. Terribly bad. If you tell a lame joke no one will laugh and therefore you’ll feel really awkward and hesitant to tell another joke.
  • Hilarious: Opposite to lame. Not only funny, but extremely humorous.
  • Crack up: Phrasal verb that means to make someone laugh.
  • Off-color jokes: Inappropriate. Not cool. Uncalled for.  Off-color jokes are not politically correct (not socially accepted), and they offend people who don’t think someone should be making fun of such delicate topics.
  • Twisted sense of humor: If you have a twisted sense of humor, your idea of what’s funny is somewhat bizarre. You find things funny that other people might find dark or depressing. However, it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
  • Snap2Practical jokes or pranks: A trick you play on someone to make that person feel pain or embarrassment. They can be extremely funny when played on one of your friends, and when that person doesn’t get mad afterwards. However, they can be also annoying for the person who receives the prank. In the U.S., a common prank among kids in school is wedgies (picture to the right) and wet willies (putting one’s finger in one’s mouth to wet it, then sticking it in someone’s ear), both of which are considered bullying.
  • Pranker/prankster and butt of the joke: in a practical joke or prank, the pranker is the person who plays the prank and the butt of the joke the one who receives the prank.
  • Good/bad sport: if you’re the butt of the joke, you’re a good sport if you don’t get pissed off at the pranker and you also laugh at it. You’re a bad sport if you get upset. However, if it’s a really annoying prank (like a wedgie and the wet willy) no one would blame if you’re of bad sport.
  • The set up and the punchline: in a joke, the set up is all the part of a joke that leads up to the last sentences that make people burst in laughter, which is called the punchline.

Bonus Vocab

You have already learned the words from the video. But now, I want to share with you  some more extra worthwhile vocabulary.

  • bad_pun_106_by_ditistomzelf-d6584l5Pun: A humorous play on words. Many times this play on words is based on the fact that two words sound the same or similar. In the picture, the joke is that hole and whole are homonyms (they sound exactly the same, but they’re spelled differently).
  • Stand-up comedian: A funny, witty guy (or girl) who stands up on stage in front of an audience and tell jokes.
  • Ventriloquist: A performer who holds a large doll (called ‘dummy’) and speaks in a way that it looks like the dummy is actually talking.
  • Deadpan humor: A style some comedians have in which they can tell very funny jokes in a monotone voice and without body language.
  • Banter: A playful, good-humored exchange of remarks among friends. You can banter with your friend and you know he or she won’t get offended, but if you say the same thing to a stranger, they probably will.
  • Yo mama jokes: Jokes about one’s mother. Depending on who you’re telling it to, it can be offensive and taken as an insult, but is usually playful. Here’s an example ‘Yo mama so fat she sat on an iPhone and turned it into an iPad
  • Inside Joke: A type of joke that only people belonging to a specific group can understand it.
  • Sitcom: Short for situation comedy. It’s a type of comedy TV Show, like FriendsThe Big Bang Theory or Two and a Half Man.
  • Outtakes: A sequence of scenes from a film that are not included as the main part of a film. Though they don’t necessarily need to be funny, the outtakes that are most commonly shown are the ones that appear at the end of a film showing accidents and mistakes the characters made during the filming process. They’re also known as bloopers.
  • stoogesSlapstick humor: A style of comedy based on exaggerated physical activity. One of the most common example of slapstick humor in TV is The Three Stooges show (pic).
  • Satire: A genre of literature that uses irony, sarcasm, and wit to make fun of people or expose the idiocy of some things, like politics, ideologies, etc.
  • Crack a joke: A more informal way of saying ‘tell a joke.’
  • Gag: Something said or done with the intention of causing laughter.
  • Antics: Crazy, foolish behavior by someone who tries to be funny or grab people’s attention. If someone acts like a clown and wants to make everybody laugh or grab their attention to him, he makes antics.

 Extra Bonus: Dirty Joke

After a few years of married life, a man finds that he’s unable to perform (=have sex). He goes to his doctor, and his doctor tries a few things but nothing works. Finally, the doctor says to him ‘this is all in your mind’ and refers him to a psychiatrist.


After a few visits, the psychiatrist says ‘I’m at a loss (=I have no idea) as to how you could possibly be cured.”


Finally, the psychiatrist refers him to a witch doctor. The witch doctor says, ‘I can cure this’ ‘don’t worry, I got this, fella’ He throws some powder on a flame, and there’s a flash with billowing blue smoke. The witch doctor says ‘this is powerful healing, but you can only use it once a year!’ All you have to do is say ‘123’ and it shall rise (=get an erection) for as long as you wish!


The guy then asks the witch doctor, “What happens when it’s over?”


The witch doctor says ‘All you or your partner has to say is ‘1234’ and it will go down. But be warned? it will not work again for a year!


The guy goes home and that night he is ready to surprise his wife with the good news. So, he is lying in bed with her and says ‘123’ and suddenly he gets an erection.


His wife turns over and says, ‘what did you say 123 for?

Humor intertwines language with culture. We call ourselves language learners, but we also have the chance to be culture adopters . We consciously or unconsciously observe, absorb and adopt the culture of the language that we’re learning, and humor plays a big part in the identity of the language and culture in which we’re immersing ourselves.

If you found this article helpful, we greatly appreciate your feedback, participation, likes, sharing and telling your friends about us. 

  • Max says:

    I’m glad you found it helpful, Faranak 🙂

  • Janet Abedi says:

    WOW ! what a compelling article ??!!! Now I know about different kinds of Jokes in English.. and I learnt some extra vocab.. and 😉 that there is difference between off-color jokes and dirty jokes.. Max Power ! Thank you so much 🙂

  • I am grateful of you and your work ,it's so precious to English learners !!!

  • Max Ahumada says:

    Thank you for leaving your comment and the support Jan. I'm glad you liked it! 🙂

  • Max Ahumada says:

    Don't mention it, Maria. Thank you for the good vibes.