Friday, 18 May 2007

Jokes of the 60s and 70s: anyone remember Poep-Harder?

'When you were a kid, what was your funniest joke?' my daughter asked me recently. After some thought, I came up with a list of broek-wettingly funny gags I heard during the Sixties and Seventies - dead-baby jokes, frog-in-a-blender jokes, boys'-names jokes, and so on.

Some of them made my daughter turn a pale shade of green. Others were received with a stony silence. To yet others, she responded with utter bafflement. (And there were some apartheid-era jokes that I kept quiet about: funny though they were to me as an eight-year-old in 1970, I cringe at the memory of them now).

She didn't laugh at a single one.

Anyway, I was quite offended by my daughter's response. Some of these jokes, after all, had made me laugh until I ached, and I'd had to go to bed with a stitch in my side. On one memorable occasion, I guffawed so long and hard that I threw up on my pink candlewick bedspread.

So how come she didn't find them funny?

My teen boys were also unimpressed. 'Pathetic, Mom. Don't you know any good Chuck Norris jokes?'

'No, but I do know some good Helen Keller ones.'

'Helen who?'

'Forget it.' And I stomped off, feeling all embarassed at how feeble my childhood sense of humour was.

Hours later, in one of those amazing moments of synchronicity, I stumbled onto Kevin's Arbitrary Thoughts, and found a list of Helen Keller jokes. I laughed like a drain, posted a few Keller jokes of my own and, feeling freshly encouraged, went off to Google the subject of vintage jokes.

Turns out there are other parents who feel stung that their kids don't appreciate sick vintage jokes (read, for example, what blogger Todd Goldberg has to say about non-PC jokes and, specifically, about how tasteless it is to make jokes about Helen Keller).

Anyway, to get to the point ('At last!' I hear you cry), here is my top joke of the late Sixties.
It's a long, involved joke, but to cut to the chase, it goes like this:

There was a little girl called Poep-Harder. Her friends came and knocked on the door and asked if they could play with Poep-Harder. 'Sure,' said her mother. 'She's on the toilet, but I'll call her.'

The mother stuck her head into the passage. 'Poep-Harder!' she shouted. 'Your friends are here to play with you!'

Silence. 'Poep-Harder!' shouted the mother.

Another silence. 'POEP-HARDER!' screamed the mother, in exasperation.

'Give me a break, mom,' came a voice from the toilet. 'I'm poeping as hard as I can!'

Never, in my entire life, have I laughed as long and as hard as I did when I first heard this joke in about 1969. The more often we told it, the funnier it got. (Before you shake your head and roll your eyes, remember that in those days we didn't have TV, there were hardly any magazines, and we lived in a profanity-free zone - 'bum' and 'fart' were the rudest words I knew.)

Intriguingly, I came across an American version of this old joke (on Todd Goldberg's blog; also mentioned here), involving a boy called Johnny Fuckerfaster. The joke's virtually the same, except the punchline goes, 'Aw, Mom, I'm fucking her as fast as I can'.

Anyway, here are some of my top childhood jokes. Some are not suitable for sensitive or PC readers. Most are so feeble, they're hardly worth reading (but hands up if you remember them!).

What is green and turns red at the flick of a button? A frog in a liquidiser.

What do you call an epileptic under a pile of leaves? Russell.

What do you call a man with a spade in his mouth? Doug.

What do you call a man with no spade in his mouth? Douglas.

What do you call a man with a seagull on his head?

How do you fit four elephants in a Volkswagen beetle?
Two in the front, and two in the back.

How do you know there's an elephant in the fridge?
Footprints in the butter.

How do you know there are two elephants in your fridge?
You can hear them giggling.

How do you know if there are four elephants in your fridge?
There's a Volkswagen parked outside.

How does an elephant hide?
He paints his balls red and hides upside down in a cherry tree.

How did Tarzan die?
Picking cherries.

What's Helen Keller's favourite colour? Corduroy.

What did Helen Keller say after her parents gave her a cheese-grater for Christmas? 'That's the most violent book I've ever read!'

What happened when Helen Keller fell down a well? She screamed her fingers to the bone.

Knock knock.
Who's there?
Mafeking who?
Mafeking car won't start.

I guess you had to be there.

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Dan said...


It's fantastic to read those jokes...I can't stop laughing... wow!!!!

Echo said...

Oh my, I was born in '93 and I think all these jokes are hilarious. Especially the first one. Poep-Harder. Oh toilet humor...

Anonymous said...

I know this one doesn't make sense b/c Helen Keller was mute but made me laugh all night back in the day. "Why did Helen Keller's dog run away? Because if your name was ARRRARRRARRaaaaaraaa, you would run away too!