One thing I don’t like is reading jokes. Gags on paper are never funny for me. Comedy literature is different, but reading ‘this fella went into a bar…’ never raises a smile.
But I’m going to ignore my own rule with this post because there’s no other way of telling you the zombie joke. And when I do tell it no one laughs.
I can’t understand why people don’t laugh. I first heard this joke in, possibly, 1978 or 79, when Tim Stott stopped us outside school and dropped it like a 2000 pounder. Stotty had a way with words and was a natural storyteller. In one playground encounter during a crucial football match he was lambasted for a bad pass. “You try kicking t’soddin ball wi pit boots on.” He said.
Stotty couldn’t have known that on that grey afternoon forty years ago he’d tell a joke that still cracks my sides decades later.
Unlike the deodorant joke from Not the Nine O’Clock News. Told at roughly the same time as the zombie joke, I only got the punchline about thirty years later. Caught by surprise, I laughed out loud and had to leave the newsagents I was in at the time.
Swedish man in chemist shop: ‘Hello, I’d like a deodorant.’
Swedish chemist: ‘Certainly sir. Ball or aerosol?’
Swedish man: ‘Neither. I’d like it for my armpits.’
The joke hung on the Swedish pronunciation of aerosol, which I didn’t twig at the time. Subtlety was not my strong point, which is probably why the zombie joke works so effectively for me. It isn’t subtle. It’s as subtle as one of Stotty’s mis-kicking pit boots. But here it is. If you find it funny you’ll be laughing for the next four and twenty years. If you don’t find it funny I won’t blame you. I won’t understand you either. . . .
A man went into a pub and asked for a pint of lager.
“No,” said the landlord.
“The zombies will get you.”
“Don’t be daft,” the man said, “give us a pint of lager.”
“No, I’m telling you, zombies will get you.”
The man went out, and found another pub. “Pint of lager, please.”
“Sorry, can’t do that,” said the landlord.
“Zombies will get you.”
“I’ve just heard this at the last pub. Give us a pint of lager.”
“I’m sorry, no. If I do, the zombies will get you.”
“Fine.” And the man walked out.
He found another pub and by now he’d lost his temper.
“Can I have a pint of lager?”
“No. Don’t tell me, the zombies will get me.”
“Well, they will,” said the landlord.
“I’ll take the risk.”
“All right,” said the landlord, “but don’t say I didn’t warn you.” He poured the man a pint of lager.
The man drank it, paused a moment and said to the landlord, “There you are. Nothing happened.”
The man put his glass on the table, walked outside and the zombies got him.