Klara developed a very American sense of humor and makes up jokes that take me a while to figure out because they are different in structure from what we consider a joke in my country.
Here are some examples:
“What did a pickle say when it fell out of a jar?” – “That’s a pretty pickle!”
“What did the tag say to the suitcase?” – “May I tag along?”
“Why do you dislike stairs?” “Because they are up to no good.”
This made me think about cultural differences in humor. It looks like in English, humor is dialogic and based on wordplay. Our humor, on the other hand, is situational and narrative. We don’t have “knock knock” jokes, for instance, and it took me ages to figure out what they were. Neither do we have the “what did X say when Y happened” jokes. I don’t even perceive them as joke unless somebody explains them at length. Instead, we narrate little anecdotes where people find themselves in ludicrous situations and say silly things.
For example, here’s a famous joke: “Why does everybody say Pavarotti is talented? He’s terrible. He’s got no voice and no sense of rhythm.” “Why, have you been to a Pavarotti concert?” “No, but my friend Rabinovich sang a couple of Pavarotti’s arias to me.”
If you are from another culture, how do you make jokes?