Tag Archives: history

The origin of knock-knock jokes

laughing cat

The knock-knock jokes around here were so good, even the cat was laughing. Image courtesy of deemac1, Morguefile.

Young kids are hilarious. They blurt out anything on their minds, are innocently blunt and reasonably easy to entertain. Get ’em a big box, a couple of blankets or two plastic bowls, and you’re done. Kids will have a fine old time playing with the box, building a fort with the blankets and some chairs, or making their version of music by banging the bowls together. (I can almost see the parents out there nodding in agreement, am I right?)

One sure way to keep a young kid entertained is to start telling knock-knock jokes. (No batteries or charging cords are required. Smartphone and tablet users, quit sighing in envy.) The kids will erupt in giggles and the parents and older kids will groan at the bad puns.

I’ve been thinking over my childhood lately in the past week or so and I got to wondering: How exactly did knock-knock jokes originate?

According to an article written by Linton Weeks of the NPR History Department, “The Secret History of Knock-Knock Jokes,” knock-knock jokes really got going in the mid-1930s. No one seems to know who exactly started the craze for knock-knock jokes but you have to admit, starting off a joke-telling trend that has lasted for about 80 years is impressive.

And are knock-knock jokes told around the world? Wonderopolis says they are. This type of joke is found in several cultures.

Here are a few that I use when I want to coax a smile from somebody:

FIRST JOKE

Knock-knock.

Who’s there?

Orange.

Orange who?

Orange you glad we don’t have to go anywhere today?

SECOND JOKE

Knock-knock.

Who’s there?

Sarah.

Sarah who?

Sarah a doctor around, I need a Band-Aid!

THIRD JOKE

Knock-knock.

Who’s there?

Wanda.

Wanda who?

Wanda who thinks up these knock-knock jokes?

Blog readers, got any knock-knock jokes you care to share?

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