Light Bulb Jokes

How many Xs does it take to change a light bulb?


The joke on camera: 

Is this light bulb burned out?  How can you tell?  Usually if it rattles, the filament inside is broken and you need a new one.

Do you know how to change a light bulb?  First, you have to unscrew the burned-out bulb.  [Mnemonic for unscrewing: Lefty-loosey, for screwing in: righty-tighty.]  Then, screw in the new bulb.

Did you know Americans have jokes about light bulbs?  They always start out in the form of a riddle—or question:

  • How many Michigan State Spartans does it take to change a light bulb?
  • How many rich people does it take to change a light bulb?

They always play on stereotypes, so be prepared to laugh at the groups you don’t like and frown if the joke includes some of your favorite people.

Let me tell you the classic light bulb joke.  I’ll substitute the word “fools” for the group you’re telling the joke on.  Here goes.

How many FOOLS does it take to change a light bulb?

Don’t know?

It takes four.  (You may wonder why four.)

It takes one to hold the light bulb, and three to turn the ladder.

If you don’t get this joke, you can go to our website for an explanation.  Also, ask your American friends what light bulb jokes they know.  And be prepared to ask them to explain when you don’t get it.

More light bulb jokes to share with your friends

Q: How many Ohio State (University) students does it take to change a light bulb?

A: Just one.  But he gets four credits for it.

(Note: People who don’t attend Ohio State University like to stereotype OSU students as not very smart.  This is emphasized in that light bulb-changing will give them university credit toward graduation—because the University is very easy.)


Q: How many yuppies does it take to change a light bulb?

A: Two.  One to mix the martinis and one to call the electrician.

(Note: Yuppies [Young Urban Professionals] are stereotyped as wealthy, self-centered, and lazy.  They would rather pay an electrician to change their light bulb than do it themselves.  And they will need some fancy cocktails to sip while watching the electrician work in front of them.)


Q: How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb?

A: Just one.  But the light bulb must really want to change.

(Note: Psychology patients are often told that the doctor is not the one who brings human growth and change; only the patient can do that for him/herself.)


Q: How many software engineers does it take to change a light bulb?

A: None.  Changing bulbs is a hardware problem.


Q: How many “real men” does it take to change a light bulb?

A: None.  Real men aren’t afraid of the dark.

(Note: The expression “real men” also can refer to macho men or manly men.)

Please share your favorite light bulb jokes with us here in the comments section.


photo source:

Alan Headbloom

Alan advises Americans how to be global citizens and expats how to fit in to Michigan culture without annoying their native coworkers and clients. He also tweets and blogs at the intersection of language and culture. Over decades, he's traveled, studied, or lived on six continents, putting strange foods into his mouth and emitting strange sounds from it. His use of English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Swedish, Hausa, and Japanese all improve with alcohol use. He gives invited public presentations on culture and unsolicited private advice on English grammar and usage; the latter isn't always appreciated. Visit his website for information on consulting, coaching, or speaking engagements.