Pun with Cannibals

As we’ve discussed on previous shows, one difficult aspect of learning a second language is adapting to humor that involves plays on words. They are also called puns.  The appropriate way to receive a pun when it is told is to pretend you didn’t think it was funny.  You may stare at the pun-teller or even let out a groan (unnnhh!).  We don’t want to give punsters credit for clever wordplay, but usually we end up smiling or even laughing.  Here is a clever wordplay that most Americans would chuckle over.  The question: is it funny to you?

Two cannibals are eating a clown. One says to the other: “Does this taste funny to you?”

What's So Funny?

This joke involves a common English expression "to taste funny," which means to taste strange or odd. The line has a double meaning because the two individuals in the story are cannibals (people who eat the meat of other humans). They are eating a clown, whose job is to act funny and make people laugh.

A typical clown (photo source: Wikipedia)

A typical clown (photo source: Wikipedia)

Practice telling this joke, so you can share it with your American friends.  See if they laugh (or groan) at this play on words.

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.