What’s the most intellectual joke you know?

That query is from AskReddit, the link is here, and here are a few of the nominations:

It’s hard to explain puns to kleptomaniacs because they always take things literally.


Jean-Paul Sartre is sitting at a French cafe, revising his draft of Being and Nothingness. He says to the waitress, “I’d like a cup of coffee, please, with no cream.” The waitress replies, “I’m sorry, Monsieur, but we’re out of cream. How about with no milk?”


Werner Heisenberg, Kurt Gödel, and Noam Chomsky walk into a bar. Heisenberg turns to the other two and says, “Clearly this is a joke, but how can we figure out if it’s funny or not?” Gödel replies, “We can’t know that because we’re inside the joke.” Chomsky says, “Of course it’s funny. You’re just telling it wrong.”

I don’t find that latter one funny at all, as they are telling it wrong.

The pointer is from Jodi Ettenberg of Legal Nomads fame.

What are your picks?  You get mine every day.


Heisenberg and Schrodinger are on a road trip, when a cop pulls them over. The officer walks up and asks if they know how fast they're going. Heisenberg replies that they do not, but know with high precision where they are. The cop thinks that's weird, and begins to search the vehicle. He opens the trunk and asks, "did you know you've got a dead cat in the trunk?" Schrodinger says, "well, *now* we do."

What's purple and commutes? An Abelian grape.

It seems the majority of physics humor revolves around the Copenhagen interpretation for some reason. Maybe that explains why it sticks around even though its kind of terrible (aside from no one can think of anything better).

I came here to post

What’s purple and commutes? An Abelian grape.


What's purple, commutes and is worshipped twice every night?

A bi-nightly venerated Abelian grape.

Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and, with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him (Oh, man, this is so bad, it's good) a super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

Why was Werner Heisenberg sexually frustrated? Because whenever he found a position, he lacked the momentum; and when he had the time he didn't have the energy...

I'm reading a book about graviphotons. I can't put it down.

I'm told that this joke works better in French. Can anyone expand on that?

If you substitute Chomsky for Schrodinger in the road trip story, and the cop says "Do you know you've got a dead cat in the trunk?", Chomsky would reply, "No, but if you hum a few bars..."

Do math jokes count as being intellectual? If so:
What's the contour integral around western Europe? Zero, all the poles are in eastern Europe. Addendum: There are poles in western Europe but they're removable.

+1. Definitely my favorite math joke.

Why can't you grow wheat in Z mod 6?
Because it's not a field.

My favorite from that thread was:
Forty days pass, the flood recedes, and Noah and his family are settling in. Noah's wife notices that all the animals are starting to reproduce, except for a pair of snakes. She asks Noah about it, and he says he'll take care of it. A week later, Noah brings his wife out to the workshop, and shows her the snakes in their basket on top of the picnic table he just built. "How is this going to get them to reproduce?" she asks. "Trust me," he replies. A few days after that, she notices there are eggs in the basket. She is delighted, and asks Noah how the picnic table could have possibly helped. He says, "My dear, even adders can multiply on a log table."

Well, the ensemble interpretation is a bit of a buzzkill when it comes to humor... :-)

Plus, quantum mechanics makes my head spin.

Integral or half integral?

Dalai Llama and Mayor Bloomberg go to a hot dog stand in NYC. Mayor Bloomberg gets his usual. Vendor turns to Llama and asks what he wants on his veggie dog.
Llama thinks about it and replies: "Make me one with everything"

This is the winner.

This joke was actually (or a version of it) was told to the Dalai Lama; he did not get it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlIrI80og8c

The Dalai Llama takes his hot dog and hands the vendor a twenty. The vendor turns away.

"What about my change?" says the Dalai Lama?

"Change comes from within" replies the hot dog vendor.

When the Dalai Lama asks for his change, the vendor replies: "All change comes from within, my son."

An infinite number of mathematicians walk into a bar. The first one orders a beer, the second one orders half a beer, the third one orders a quarter of a beer. The bartender says, "You guys are a**holes," and pours two beers.

The Heisenberg/Schrodinger road trip joke ranks up there too.

Not quite a joke but I have seen a bumper sticker with a red background and white letters that says, "If this sticker is blue, you're going too fast."

The proper punchline this joke is:
The Bartender says "you don't know your limits" and pours them 2 beers

Red cars get more speeding tickets. They are not traveling any faster, but they appear to be due to the doppler shift.

I like the punchline with a**hole better. Follow up I just made up:

The next day the same infinite swarm of mathematicians returns to the bar. The first one orders a beer, the second one orders half a beer, the third one orders a third of a beer. The bartender looks at the fourth one and says "sorry, we're out of beer."

The third day the infinite swarm of mathematicians returns to the bar yet again. The first one orders a beer, the second one orders a quarter of a beer, the third one orders one ninth of a beer. The bartender says "sorry, the bakery is across the street."

Ok I'll stop now.

You people should never have had your revolution.

In the Empire, we can get pies in pubs.

... and the bartender Zeno says "I'll pour forever but you clowns will never get two beers out of me."

Aleph-naught bottles of beer on the wall,
Aleph-naught bottles of beer,
Take one down,
Pass it around,
Aleph-naught bottles of beer on the wall.

I'll also shamelessly link to a few more of my own, from a long time ago:
I'm not sure if this link is dead or if it just won't load here (in China)

Link works in Singapore.

Infinitely many mathematicians walk into a bar. The first says, "I'll have a beer." The second says, "I'll have half a beer." The third says, "I'll have a quarter of a beer." The bartender pulls out just two beers. The mathematicians are all like, "That's all you're giving us? How drunk do you expect us to get on that?" The bartender says, "Come on guys. Know your limits."

This one does not work so well if it is a continuum of economic agents rather than an aleph-null, countably infinite set of mathematicians.

Only works well if aleph-null set of mathematicians, not a continuum.

The mathematicians would know enough not to complain. Maybe freshman calculus students would work better?

Infinitely many physicists walk into a bar. The first says, “I’ll have a beer.” The second says, “I’ll have two beers.” The third says, “I’ll have three beers.” The bartender grabs a beer that one of them walked in with, pours out a twelfth of it, and returns the bottle.

That's hilarious!

Two economists walked past a Porsche showroom. One of them pointed at a shiny car in the window and said, "I want that." "Obviously not," the other replied.

Well played.

The bartender says "You guys really need to learn your limits", and pours two beers. Still a good one though,

From the same Reddit thread, I thought this was hilarious:

Q: What does the "B" in Benoit B. Mandelbrot stand for?
A: Benoit B. Mandelbrot.

I hasten to add that all I know about Mandelbrot I learned from Jonathan Coulton (http://youtu.be/ES-yKOYaXq0)

Like this one the best.

My fave too.

Definitively my favourite.

I always liked "Yo mama's so fat she ain't even in the Mandelbrot set." ('Cause she tends to infinity.)

Not bad...

Mandlebrot actually added that B in there, it doesn't officially stand for anything, so it actually might actually be his own attempt at a fractal joke.

So far the lot of you is beating Reddit, and this post has been up for only half an hour.

"What's up?"
"North X West"

"What's up?"

"A preposition."

Don't know if they're intellectual, but I was known for giving a variety of answers to "whats up"

A two letter word indicating direction
(Looks up, says whatever is there)
An album by Shania Twain
A well known train line in the American West
A Disney movie where... Squirrel!!!
Where Marquette is.
The lightest quark with charge 2/3
What I wish I wasn't for another hour

What Rick Astley's never gonna give you.

A two letter directional meaning...and a popular modern colloquialism

"What's new?" "C over lambda."

How do you describe the transaction in which Julia Child paid far too much for a used Impala? Chevy-Chef's inequality!

"We don't serve neutrinos in here," says the bartender. A neutrino walks into a bar.


That only works for tachyons

Tyler, would you accept today's xkcd (which is not (yet?) on the Reddit thread)?


A guy's wife catches him with a prostitute. He says "Relax, our relationship is strictly ploutonic!"

Knock knock
Who's there
Knock knock
Who's there
Knock knock
Who's there
Knock knock
Who's there
Knock knock
Who's there
Knock knock
Who's there
Knock knock
Who's there

John Cage

Phillip Glass!

knock knock, knock knock, KNOCK KNOCK, knock knock.

Dang, that is who I meant. Brain lock.

"Knock knock." "Come in!"

"Take my wife, for instance, please!"

"Sometimes, a penis is just a penis."


Some Standouts from Recent Ig Nobel Prizes:

2012 NEUROSCIENCE PRIZE: Craig Bennett, Abigail Baird, Michael Miller, and George Wolford [USA], for demonstrating that brain researchers, by using complicated instruments and simple statistics, can see meaningful brain activity anywhere — even in a dead salmon.
REFERENCE: "Neural correlates of interspecies perspective taking in the post-mortem Atlantic Salmon: An argument for multiple comparisons correction," Craig M. Bennett, Abigail A. Baird, Michael B. Miller, and George L. Wolford, poster, 15th Annual Meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping, San Francisco, CA, June 2009.

2012 ANATOMY PRIZE: Frans de Waal [The Netherlands and USA] and Jennifer Pokorny [USA] for discovering that chimpanzees can identify other chimpanzees individually from seeing photographs of their rear ends.
REFERENCE: "Faces and Behinds: Chimpanzee Sex Perception" Frans B.M. de Waal and Jennifer J. Pokorny, Advanced Science Letters, vol. 1, 99–103, 2008.

2011 CHEMISTRY PRIZE: Makoto Imai, Naoki Urushihata, Hideki Tanemura, Yukinobu Tajima, Hideaki Goto, Koichiro Mizoguchi and Junichi Murakami of JAPAN, for determining the ideal density of airborne wasabi (pungent horseradish) to awaken sleeping people in case of a fire or other emergency, and for applying this knowledge to invent the wasabi alarm.
REFERENCE: US patent application 2010/0308995 A1; filing date: Feb 5, 2009. Product info [from Seems, Inc.].

2011 MEDICINE PRIZE: Mirjam Tuk (of THE NETHERLANDS and the UK), Debra Trampe (of THE NETHERLANDS) and Luk Warlop (of BELGIUM). and jointly to Matthew Lewis, Peter Snyder and Robert Feldman (of the USA), Robert Pietrzak, David Darby, and Paul Maruff (of AUSTRALIA) for demonstrating that people make better decisions about some kinds of things — but worse decisions about other kinds of things‚ when they have a strong urge to urinate.
REFERENCE: "Inhibitory Spillover: Increased Urination Urgency Facilitates Impulse Control in Unrelated Domains," Mirjam A. Tuk, Debra Trampe and Luk Warlop, Psychological Science, vol. 22, no. 5, May 2011, pp. 627-633.

2010 MANAGEMENT PRIZE: Alessandro Pluchino, Andrea Rapisarda, and Cesare Garofalo of the University of Catania, Italy, for demonstrating mathematically that organizations would become more efficient if they promoted people at random.
REFERENCE: “The Peter Principle Revisited: A Computational Study,” Alessandro Pluchino, Andrea Rapisarda, and Cesare Garofalo, Physica A, vol. 389, no. 3, February 2010, pp. 467-72.

2008 LITERATURE PRIZE. David Sims of Cass Business School. London, UK, for his lovingly written study "You Bastard: A Narrative Exploration of the Experience of Indignation within Organizations."
REFERENCE: "You Bastard: A Narrative Exploration of the Experience of Indignation within Organizations," David Sims, Organization Studies, vol. 26, no. 11, 2005, pp. 1625-40.

2007 LINGUISTICS PRIZE: Juan Manuel Toro, Josep B. Trobalon and Núria Sebastián-Gallés, of Universitat de Barcelona, for showing that rats sometimes cannot tell the difference between a person speaking Japanese backwards and a person speaking Dutch backwards.
REFERENCE: "Effects of Backward Speech and Speaker Variability in Language Discrimination by Rats," Juan M. Toro, Josep B. Trobalon and Núria Sebastián-Gallés, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, vol. 31, no. 1, January 2005, pp 95-100.

A bunch of logicians are at a conference when God appears and says, "Ask me one question, and I will answer it." After conferring for a while they ask: "What is the ordered pair the first member of which is the best question to ask and the second member is the answer?" God replies: "The question you asked and the answer I'm giving."

Oh! Wiseguy! Nuk, nuk, nuk.

A elementary school teacher once set her students out to learning the multiplication table by divvying up five problems to each student and having them discover the answer via counting, repeated adding, or using manipulables. After taking 9x9 for herself, she thought the table was covered, but then a pair of twins walked in late, so she decided to make them cover the naughts row.

They produced zero marginal products.

I know a great joke about UDP, but I don't know if you'll get it.

The best part about UDP jokes is that I don't care if you get them.

I would write "+1", but it's TCP that has the sequence number.


I've seen this one, and I was upset that I had never heard a UDP joke before, so...

Knock, Knock
Who's there?
UDP who?

Go ahead and tell it. Snowden can explain it to me.

Samuel Johnson: What do you call the discreet prostitute?
John Locke: The judicious Hooker.

Venerial joke (no pun intended, but hard to avoid here):

Q: What do you call a group of prostitutes?

A: An "Anthology of Pros"

John Cage enters the hall and takes his place at the podium. He taps his music stand, waves his baton, then stands stock-still in front of the silent orchestra. After 6 minutes of this, a neophyte turns to the subscriber sitting next to him and says "is this some sort of a joke?" The subscriber answers "yes, but I've never heard him take so long to get to the punchline!"

Two atoms are sitting in a bar. One says to the other, "I think I've lost an electron." The other asks "Are you sure?" To which the first replies, "I'm positive."

Personally, I'm more into black humor trolling. So, no elaborate jokes, just dropping acid phrases in the middle of normal conversation can be funnier.

When chemists die, they barium.

When chemists get sick, they helium (or curium).

Not really on topic but I like this one:

A wide piece of highway walks into bar and orders a beer. A while later a narrow strip of pavement comes in and pushes the piece of highway off his stool and sits down in his place. The piece of highway moves down to the end of the bar and finds a new seat. The bartender comes up and asks quietly "why did you let him push you around" and the piece of highway answers "you don't know him like I do, he's a cycle path"

All colored gases are poisonous but not all all colorless gases are harmless. Why is this? God has a sense of humor.

Black humor+chemistry for the win.

What is yellow and equivalent to the Axiom of Choice? Zorn's Lemon.

Rene Descartes is sitting in a cafe. He orders coffee. The waiter asks, "Would you like cream?" Descartes replies,"I think not!" ... and Descartes disappears.

A physicist's car breaks down in the country. He walks to the nearest farmhouse and asks if he could spend the night. The farmer agrees. The next morning, the physicist thanks the farmer and tells him that physicists know about everything and if there is anything he can do for the farmer that he would be glad to do it. The farmer says "Well, my chickens have not been laying eggs lately. Could you help get them producing again?" The physicist says he will think about. He furiously starts calculating and after some time announces, "Assume a spherical chicken in a vacuum...."

Q. What do you call someone who is afraid of eating trans-fats?

A. A cissy.


Should have told that in my organic chem class to lighten the mood.

I am a solipsist, and I can't understand why everyone else isn't too.

You might be a solipsist but that only one man's opinion.

Everyone else is a solipsist. But that's just them.

What did the cat say as it slid down the slippery roof? mew! mew! mew! (mu)

What do you call a bear with no teeth? A) a gummy bear

Or, if you want a recondite version: What do you call a Bulgarian bear with no teeth? A) a gummy Zhivkov

The cocky exponential function e^x is strolling along the road insulting the functions he sees walking by. He scoffs at a wandering polynomial for the shortness of its Taylor series. He snickers at a passing smooth function of compact support and its glaring lack of a convergent power series about many of its points. He positively laughs as he passes |x| for being nondifferentiable at the origin. He smiles, thinking to himself, “Damn, it's great to be e^x. I'm real analytic everywhere. I'm my own derivative. I blow up faster than anybody and shrink faster too. All the other functions suck.”

Lost in his own egomania, he collides with the constant function 3, who is running in terror in the opposite direction.

“Why don't you look where you're going?" demands e^x. He then sees the fear in 3's eyes and says "You look terrified!" "I am!" says the panicky 3. "There's a differential operator just around the corner. If he differentiates me, I'll be reduced to nothing! I've got to get away!" With that, 3 continues to dash off.

"Stupid constant," thinks e^x. "I've got nothing to fear from a differential operator. He can keep differentiating me as long as he wants, and I'll still be there."

So he scouts off to find the operator and gloat in his smooth glory. He rounds the corner and defiantly introduces himself to the operator. "Hi. I'm e^x."

"Hi. I'm d / dy."

you are a comic genius :-)

An engineer, a chemist and an economist are lost in the desert, starving. They find a can of food, so they debate on how to open it:

The engineer: Let us use that rock as a lever to open it!
The chemist: Let us pour gallium[1] to the can so we can open it!
The economist: Let us assume a can opener...

[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaMWxLCGY0U

a group of logicians go into a bar.
the server asks "so, does everyone want a beer?"
the first says "i don't know."
the second says "i don't know"
the last logician says "yes, of course".

Took me a second, but that's a good one.

PABLO PICASSO and (some beer nuts)
(Part of a bar stool) and GEORGES BRAQUE
(Condensation ring from a glass on wood) and INTO A BAR
WALK and (Part of a word from a neon sign)

it only works weel in spanish, but here it goes: "chuck norris no deriva. chuck norris desintegra"

another good one: "chuck norris *can* divide by zero"

Two behaviorists have sex. One turns to the other and says, "That was good for you; how was it for me?"

Not sure whether this counts as a joke, strictly speaking, but it is rather funny:

In a lecture, J. L. Austin argued that a double negative in English implies a positive meaning, but there is no language in which a double positive implies a negative. To which Sidney Morgenbesser, from the back of the room, replied: "Yeah, yeah."


On the independence of irrelevant alternatives: Morgenbesser, ordering dessert, is told by the waitress that he can choose between apple pie and blueberry pie. He orders the apple pie. Shortly thereafter, the waitress comes back and says that cherry pie is also an option; Morgenbesser says "In that case I'll have the blueberry pie."[3]

This is connected to the Monty Hall paradox at some level, I'm sure of it.

Not really, except in that they are both about decison-making and alternatives. Monty Hall is about provided information that changes a decision, where the information is provided about all three things. Morgenbesser is not about probability.

Lots of languages allow double negatives but in English it's a no-no.

The Meathead: "Arch, you can't use a double negative."

Archie Bunker: "Oh yeah? Tell that to the guy who wrote 'No, No Nanette.'"

the punchline to the J.L. Austin joke is supposed to be "yeah, right."

no it isn't, you just don't get it


(√2) -> 2 for large values of √2

There are 10 kinds of people in the world.

Those who understand binary and those who don't.

Two behaviorists run into each other on the street. The first one says, "You're fine. How am I?"

Descartes walks into a bar and takes a seat in front of a half consumed beer. A man walks up and says, "Sir, I think you are sitting in my seat." Descartes replies, "You are."

I just made that up. OK, it's not that great.

I like the Polish jokes. I like all Polish jokes. And Canadian jokes. And Jewish jokes. And lawyer jokes.

I agree that these jokes are pretty good. The intellectualism of the commenters is why I come here. Never own the nicest house on your block, and never be the smartest commenter on a blog. :)

Of motion, the oyster has but a dim racial memory.

A mathematician is a system for turning coffee into theorems.
A comathematician is a system for turning cotheorems into ffee.

A plane takes off from Warsaw headed to New York. When the plane has almost reached its destination, the pilot announces that the Statue of Liberty can be seen out the windows on the right side, and the passengers crowd over to look out the window. The plane crashes and everyone about is killed.

It became unstable when all the Poles were on the right side of the plane.

The pilot and copilot of a jet aircraft are both suddenly taken ill and pass out. Frantically, the rest of the crew attempt to find a passenger who has some flying experience. They locate an old man who says he flew prop planes for the Polish resistance in WWII. They take him to the cockpit and plead with him to try to fly the jet. He says "I can't do it. I'm just a simple Pole in a complex plane".

Sorry long one. Helps me remember the schools of the Catholic Church. If you do not fully get it, look up Dominicans, Franciscans and Jesuits.

A set of Catholic monks are playing golf. A Dominican, a Franciscan, and Jesuit. As they come to the tee, they see a foursome ahead of them. The entire foursome is blind. The Dominican looks at them and says this proves that this world is infused with evil. Here these people love golf but are blind and miss the lovely scenery and have such difficulty finding their ball. The Franciscan replies "no, you have it all wrong. It shows the wonder of God's world. Here are these people struck blind, still able to get out and enjoy a round of golf together. It is wonderful". "No, no" the Jesuit replies, "you both have it wrong. The logical question to ask is why are they not playing at night?".

Bada bum.

Often the same joke is told this way:

A priest, a doctor, and an engineer were waiting one morning at the third tee (par 3, 185 yards, slight dog leg to left, water hazard on the right) while a particularly slow group of golfers were flailing away ahead of them.

Engineer: What's with these guys? We've been waiting for 15 minutes!

Doctor: I don't know but I've never seen such ineptitude!

Priest: Hey, here comes the green keeper. Let's have a word with him. Hi George. Say George, what's with that group ahead of us? They're rather slow, aren't they?

George: Oh yes. That's a group of blind fire fighters. They lost their sight while saving our club house last year. So we let them play here anytime free of charge!

Doctor: Wow! Thanks for the scoop George.

Priest: That's so sad. I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight.

Doctor: Good idea. And I'm going to contact my ophthalmologist buddy and see if there's anything he can do for them.

After a short pause ...

Engineer: Why can't these guys play at night?

Two men considering a religious vocation were having a conversation. "What is similar about the Jesuit and Dominican Orders? " the one asked.

The second replied, "Well, they were both founded by Spaniards -- St. Dominic for the Dominicans, and St. Ignatius of Loyola for the Jesuits. They were also both founded to combat heresy -- the Dominicans to fight the Albigensians, and the Jesuits to fight the Protestants."

"What is different about the Jesuit and Dominican Orders?"

"Met any Albigensians lately?"

Along similar lines:

A Franciscan priest sits down next to a a Jesuit priest while riding a train to Rome. After a while the Franciscan notices that the Jesuit is smoking and praying.

Franciscan: I'm surprised to see you doing that.
Jesuit: Why's that?
Franciscan: Well, our order asked the Holy Father for permission to do that and were denied.
Jesuit: Really? We asked the Pope, and he said we could. What did you ask him?
Franciscan: We asked if we could smoke while we prayed, and he said no.
Jesuit: Ahhhh! That's the problem. We Jesuits asked if we could pray while we smoked, and he said, "of course!"

How do you get a nun pregnant?

Fuck her.

I read through all of these, and this was the only one that made me laugh.

I like that one too. It doesn't quite fit the category, though.

Not sure in what universe this conts as intellectual humor. Sixth grade?

Dress her like an alter boy.

Anti-catholicism: the last acceptable prejudice.

Q: What do you get if you cross a cat and a watermelon?

A: The cat times the watermelon times the sine of the angle between them.

What do you get when you cross a mosquito with a mountain climber?

Nothing, you can't cross a vector with a scaler.

What do you get if you cross an elephant with a rhino? Elefino.

How is cubane like a hydroxyl group?

They're both O H.

Explanation: Hydroxyl groups are represented as OH (oxygen and hydrogen). Cubane is a cubical molecule, C8H8, which has octahedral symmetry with horizontal mirror planes, and belongs to the symmetry group O \sub h

A bunch of students file into their first Intro to Econ class at the University of Chicago and sit down. The professor comes around and hands each student a sheet of papers- the first page says "Intro to Econ Final Exam."

The students say, "Wait! How can you give us the final exam before the first class even starts?"
The professor says, "Well, if it was in your best interest to know the material, you would have already learned it."

That exact same thing happened to me at Long Beach State in Differential Equations; didn't have a clue, first week had a test, flunked! Got the hell out of Physics.

No, that's not the same thing; the joke is specific to the viewpoint of an economist.

A B-school finance professor who believes in efficient market theory and a student are walking across campus. The student says, "Hey! There's a twenty dollar bill lying on the grass." The professor says, "Impossible. If it were, someone would already have picked it up."

what do you get if you mix a sociologist and Godfather? an offer you can't understand.

Cahit Arf was a Turkish mathematician who discovered, about 1938, what is now called the Arf invariant and is applied in topology including knot theory. Arf and the formula for his invariant are portrayed on the reverse side of the current Turkish 10 lira note. With that in mind:

A man and his dog walk into a bar. The man remarks to the bartender that his dog knows a lot of knot theory. Bartender dismissively says, "Sure he does". Man says, "Go ahead, ask him a question". Bartender rolls eyes and says, "Ok, what's a knot invariant". Dog happily barks: "Arf, Arf". Bartender walks off in disgust. Dog turns to owner and says: "Should I have said the Alexander polynomial instead?".

An economist and a normal person are walking down the street together. The normal person says “Hey, look, there’s a $20 bill on the sidewalk!” The economist replies by saying “That’s impossible- if it were really a $20 bill, it would have been picked up by now.” - HT The Economist

Young Paul Krugman falls asleep in his undergrad economics class at Yale.

The Professor, quite insulted, abruptly awakens the young student and demands, "Master Krugman, would you please share with the class the solution to the problem we're discussing?"

To which Krugman replies, "I'm sorry Sir. I didn't hear the question, but the answer is more stimulus".

Or substitute "every right winger in the world" for "Paul Krugman" and the punchline becomes "I didn’t hear the question, but the answer is more tax cuts for the wealthy".

I heard that one differently.

One day a student in Milton Friedman's class dozed off, and Friedman thought he'd make an example of him.

He nudged the sleeping student and said, "Mr. Smith, could you answer the question I just posed to the class?"

The student quickly said, "I didn't catch the question, sir, but the answer is the money supply."

Here's a true story about the great social theorist, Talcott Parsons.

He had been teaching at Harvard for many years, during which time there had been a lot of construction on the campus. An undergrad poked his head in his office and asked where a certain building was. He took the lad to his office window to point it out - but there was another building in the way, which had been there for many years.

This is the best version, precisely because it isn't ideological.

Young stupid vile right wing ideologue wakes up to be Russ R.

Sorry, Marty. I had to scroll down to see that you'd beaten me to this one.

1) A man walks into a therapist's office for his first appointment. They talk for half of the session, and then he gets up to leave. "Wait a minute!" says the therapist. "Don't you want to solve your problems?"

"Yes," he tells her, "but my problems are so big, I don't think a psychologist can help me. I need a sociologist." (told by Doug Fuchs many years ago)

2) Did you hear that the American Psychiatric Association is giving [name your oversized-ego TV personality] a Career Achievement Award? They're even retiring [her/his] number, 301.81.

3) How can you tell who are the Bayesians in the room? See who learned something from Brewster's Millions and Harlem Nights.

Pi and the square root of negative one have an argument. Pi accused Sqrt(-1) of being being unreal. The latter accused the former of being irrational.

This works better as a visual joke.

There are 10 types of people: those who understand binary, and those who don't.

Why do computer scientists confuse Christmas and Halloween? Because DEC 25 = OCT 31

There are three kinds of people:
those who can count, and those who can't.

"I’m sorry, but the cancer has spread to your intestine; we’ll have to remove part of it," said the surgeon semicolonically.

I'm gonna go with the entire list of quotes from Love and Death


Two physicists meet. The first one asks "What's new?" The second one says "e/h"

Probably =⎧⎩⎨M!∏i=1..kρ(Mρi)i∏i=1..k(Mρi)!⎫⎭⎬e−MSKL

Small fires break out in a hotel in the middle of the night. An engineer wakes up, runs to the sink, fills the ice bucket with water and douses the fire thoroughly. A chemist wakes up, measures a precise amount of water to extinguish the fire and just barely puts the fire out. A mathematician wakes up, looks at the fire, looks at the sink, decides that a solution exists, and goes back to sleep.

You left out the physicist [I forget the method I originally heard, but it doesn't matter; just choose something characteristic of physicists, frex putting a nonflammable object on top of the burning material, or just stomping it out if they're a dedicated experimentalist and they have remembered to put their slippers on]. The mathematician then wakes up, looks at the fire, looks at the sink, decides that a solution exists, looks around the room, thinks a moment longer, concludes that the solution is not unique, and goes back to bed.

I originally heard this one described as a psychology experiment; that gives a nice clean setup, as you only need 1 fire at a time. There are also versions including a mechanic; in the one I heard, the mechanic smokes foul cigars, & occasionally pitches them when they are still lit. If he finds the wastebasket on fire, he kicks it over and stomps it out; but sometimes he gets back out to the shop before anything happens, and one of the others finds it. The engineer and/or chemist can be as you've given them above; the physicist, upon encountering one of these, looks around, decides that it isn't likely to spread, and ignores it until it burns itself out.

Q: Why can't you interbreed a mosquito and a mountain goat?

A: Because you can't cross a vector and a scaler (sic)!

Cross-disciplinary nerdiness

Descarte walks into a bar.

Bartender: "Would you like to try the special?"

Descarte: "I think not" Disappears

Descartes to a tavern was drawn
Took a chair outside by the lawn
Said the serving wench, dear
would you care for a beer?
I think not, he said, and was gone

Ugh that was meant to be a limerick. The system ate up the breaks.

What is a goy?

A person is a goy if observed before 2015 and is a girl, or isn't observed before 2015 and is a boy.

There are 10 types of people in the world: those who know binary and those who don't.

D'oh, someone beat me to it.

Why does a German have only one egg for breakfast?
Weil ein ei genug ist.

An economist, a statistician and a mathematician are driving from England to Scitland when, crossing the border, they see a field of black sheep. "My word", says the economist, "in Scotland the sheep are black." "My dear fellow," retorts the statistician, "all we have discovered is that the sheep are black in that one field." "Not even that," rejoinders the mathematician. "So far we have discovered only that the sheep are black on at least one side."

Q: How many surrealists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

A: Three -- one to slaughter the pig, and one to fill the bathtub with multicolored power-tools.

Person 1: He's smart!
Person 2. How smart is he?
Person 1: He can recite pi backwards.

When the notion of his paradox came to him, Bertrand Russell was so excited he could hardly contain himself.
[Hat Tip: Michael Godfrey ]

There are 10 types of people in this world: those who understand binary and those who don't.

An engineer came to the house of the daughter of a mathematician to court her.

Her father, the mathematician, tells the kids they must sit on opposite sides of the porch swing and may move half the distance to each other every minute.

The engineer knows what the father was trying to do, but figures he can get close enough that it wont matter.

After several minutes of moving towards each other the engineer leans in to steal a kiss and the father rushes out and yells, "Hold it right there! That's the limit!"

Eugene Fama is walking across campus with one of his grad students. The student spots something and says.

"Is that a five dollar bill next to the path?"
Fama says, "It couldn't be, or someone would have picked it up by now."

Two physicists meet. The first says "What's new? " The second shrugs and says "e/h"

Do programming jokes count?

If yes, then: A SQL query walks into a bar and sees two tables. He walks up to them and says 'Can I join you?'

The role of genetic influence on socioeconomic hierarchy is proven by the 1%'s regression to the mean.


Roadside ad for Quantum Realty "Slow down and we'll tell you exactly where your next home is going to be".

My favorite philosophy joke:

A boy is about to go on his first date, and is nervous about what to talk about. He asks his father for advice. The father replies: ``My son, there are three subjects that always work. These are food, family, and philosophy.''
The boy picks up his date and they go to a soda fountain. Ice cream sodas in front of them, they stare at each other for a long time, as the boy's nervousness builds. He remembers his father's advice, and chooses the first topic. He asks the girl: ``Do you like potato pancakes?'' She says ``No,'' and the silence returns.

After a few more uncomfortable minutes, the boy thinks of his father's suggestion and turns to the second item on the list. He asks, ``Do you have a brother?'' Again, the girl says ``No'' and there is silence once again.

The boy then plays his last card. He thinks of his father's advice and asks the girl the following question: ``If you had a brother, would he like potato pancakes?''

Surprised no one has posted one of the several slight variations of this:

A physicist and an engineer are in a hot-air balloon. They've been drifting for hours, and have no idea where they are. They see another person in a balloon, and call out to her: "Hey, where are we?" She replies, "You're in a balloon," and drifts off again. The engineer says to the physicist, "That person was obviously a mathematician." They physicist replies, "How do you know that?" "Because what she said was completely true, but utterly useless."

A termite walks into a bar and asks, "Is the bar tender here?"

Knock knock.

Who's there?

Bug in your state machine.

Who's there?

The Dalai Lama "make me one with everything" joke does not always work.


When somebody casually asks me "what's new".

I often say "C over Lambda" -
I usually get blank stares. My more geeky friends laugh.

What do I know about erotema?

No, don't answer that. It's a rhetorical question.

It was soo cold out today, I saw a rooster with a capon.

Clever maybe not intellectual joke from The Simpson's:

To Mr. Burns: “How does it feel to be the world’s richest man?”

Mr. Burns: “Ah, I’d give it all away for just a little bit more.”

What do you get if you cross a mountain climber with a mosquito?

You can't. One's a scaler and the other's a vector.

Courtesy of Edge.org

A physicist, a biologist, and an epistemologist are asked to name the most impressive invention or scientific advance of modern times. The physicist does not hesitate—"It is quantum theory. It has completely transformed the way we understand matter." The biologist says "No. It is the discovery of DNA—it has completely transformed the way we understand life." The epistemologist looks at them both and says "I think it's the thermos." The thermos? Why on earth the thermos? "Well," the epistemologist explains patiently, "If you put something cold in it, it will keep it cold. And if you put something hot in it, it will keep it hot." Yeah, so what?, everyone asks. "Aha!" the epistemologist raises a triumphant finger "How does it know?"

Warning: this is not politically correct. Blame my 70's upbringing ... but I think I heard this from a student teacher in my trig class.

An American trader met a group of Indians, who took them to meet their chief.

The chief then brought the trader to a woman kneeling on a buffalo hide, and introduced her as his wife. The trader showed them some of his wares.

The chief then brought the trader to another woman kneeling on a deer hide, and introduced her as his wife. Again the trader showed the pair some of his wares.

Then the chief brought the trader to two women kneeling on bare ground, and introduced them as his wives too. Now the trader showed his wares to all three. At this, the women started to talk with each other, and then plead with the chief who asked "Is that a hippopotamus hide you have to trade?"

When the trader said yes, the chief offered him an excellent trade worth many times the value of the hide. The chief then placed it on the ground, and the two women quickly sat down on it.

The trader was shocked. He asked the chief why that hide was so valuable, and the chief replied that now "the sum of the squaws of the hippopotamus hide equals the sum of the squaws of the other two hides".

knock knock
who's there?
to who?
no, no, no, to _whom_

There are two types of people in the world: those who fit in one the two categories, and those who don't.

There are two types of people in the world: the type of person who thinks there are two types of people in the world and the type that doesn't.

Did you hear about the time Alan Turing tried to test the hypothesis that a million monkeys could reproduce the works of Shakespeare? He invented a new machine that was superior to previous attempts because his machine had infinite ape, but he gave up on the project because he couldn't prove that it would ever finish.

What do you get when you combine a mosquito and a mountain climber?
Nothing. You cannot add a vector to a scalar.

Jerry Pournelle recounted meeting Nicolas Wirth, the developer of the programming language Pascal."When asked how to pronounce his name, he is said to have answered that if you call him by name, it is ``virt'' (the German pronunciation), and if you call him by value, it is ``worth'' (the American pronunciation)." (referenced from http://cs.fit.edu/~ryan/study/bibliography.html )

You are missing three quarters of this joke. Wirth said that German speakers pronounced his name (imagine German accent here) "Nick-louse Virt", while Americans pronounced it like "Nickle's Worth." Which is to say, the Germans referenced him by name, while the Americans referenced him by value.

new = E / h (from QM)
new = C / Lambda (from light as a wave)

another one
whats new?
the ratio of strains perpendicular to and parallel with an applied force.

What do you call a blonde who dyes her hair black?

Artificial intelligence.

Freud to lightbulb on sofa: "Do you really want to change?"

A professor is presenting the result of years of research at a conference on the development of language in children. He goes over the years of research he has conducted, recording infants and says that the first sound infants articulate is always a "puh" due to the ease of making it. Another professor from the audience speaks up and says that he has recorded his own child, and that the first sound they made was a "muh" sound. The first professor thinks a moment and responds saying, "Well, your child spoke phonetically 'muh', but phonemically 'puh!'"

What's new?

c over Lambda

I like the joke about the Unitarian missionary. He rings your doorbell and asks if you can spare a few minutes to tell him about Jesus Christ.

Q. Why don't engineers read fiction?

A. Because it's not **true**.

I think I heard this one in a lecture by Robert Frank.

An economist and a non-economist watch a fellow drain his automobile's crankcase oil into a cup, and drink it. "He's insane," says the non-economist. "He must really like crankcase oil," says the economist.

at this party, where a Professor of Humor was, I told a joke so funny everybody laughed until
they cried, except the Professor, who just said Yes there is such a Joke.

A mathematician, a physicist, and a biologist are sitting on a bench across the street from an empty house.
A man and a woman walk into the house.
Several minutes later, a man, a woman, and a child walk out of the house.
"Clearly," says the biologist, "the man and the woman reproduced."
"No, no," says the physicist. "There must be a worm hole leading into the house, which the child traveled through."
"You are both wrong," says the mathematician. "Someone else must walk into the house, and then it will be empty again."

A farmer wants to build a fence on his land and to make sure he gets the best fence for his money, he invites an engineer, a physicist, and a mathematician to present proposals for the construction of the fence. He takes them to a pile of unassembled fencing and tells them that the one who can make that into a fence that encloses the most area will win his business.

The engineer goes first and knowing that for any shape of a given perimeter, the shape that encloses the greatest area is a circle, so he assembles the fencing into a circle and tells the farmer, "There you go, that fence encloses the greatest area that a fence of that length can enclose." The farmer replies, "That sounds pretty reasonable, but I'd like to hear what the other fellows have to see before I make my decision."

The physicist goes and stretches the fence into one straight line that extends below the horizon in each direction and tells the farmer, "Based on our experimental observations, we conclude that the fence extends infinitely in each direction, thus the fence actually encloses half the earth." The farmer looks at him skeptically and says, "That sounds a bit strange, but I guess I'll accept it."

The mathematician then goes and rips out a small portion of the fence, wraps it around himself, states, "I define this to be the outside." and walks away with the money.

A programmer walks into a bar and orders 1.0e20 root beers.
The bartender says to him, “That’s a root beer float.”; the programmer replies: “Make it a double.”

Jesus was pro-choice ! How could he feed the thousands without using Banach-Tarski ?!

A boy is about to go on his first date, and is nervous about what to talk about. He asks his father for advice. The father replies: ``My son, there are three subjects that always work. These are food, family, and philosophy.''
The boy picks up his date and they go to a soda fountain. Ice cream sodas in front of them, they stare at each other for a long time, as the boy's nervousness builds. He remembers his father's advice, and chooses the first topic. He asks the girl: ``Do you like potato pancakes?'' She says ``No,'' and the silence returns.

After a few more uncomfortable minutes, the boy thinks of his father's suggestion and turns to the second item on the list. He asks, ``Do you have a brother?'' Again, the girl says ``No'' and there is silence once again.

The boy then plays his last card. He thinks of his father's advice and asks the girl the following question: ``If you had a brother, would he like potato pancakes?''

Why do Marxists only drink herbal tea?
Because all proper tea is theft

Three statisticians go hunting. They come across a deer and the first fires missing wide right. The second fires missing wide left.

The third cheers and says "bullseye".

Here are two:

An electron went into a bar with a long face. The bartender told it, "Stop being so negative!"

Why did Southerners consistently fail calculus until the 1970's?
They refused to integrate.

Another variation on the hot air balloon, but from the business world

A person's been drifting for hours in a hot air balloon, and finally finds someone to ask for directions. "Where am I?" he asks.

"You're in a hot air balloon."

"You must be in IT."


"Because I asked you a simple question, and you gave me an answer that was accurate but useless."

"Oh. You must be in management."


"Because, thanks to hot air, you have no idea where you are or what you're doing, but you've managed to convince yourself that it's my fault."

One upon a time there was a Cosmos. It's funny 'cause it's true.

The AI Koans, particularly the Power-Cycle Koan (http://www.catb.org/jargon/html/koans.html#id3141171), are very funny.

In general I believe Computer Science is funnier than physics.

I have discovered a truly marvellous intellectual joke but there isn't room for it in this comment-box.

Here's one:

Modigliani walks into a bar. The bartender says, "Why such a long face?"
Picasso walks into a bar. The bartender says, "Why so blue?"
MC Escher walks into a bar walks into a bar walks into a bar walks into a bar ...

The Mostly German Philosophers Love Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=slcYzUIPSD4

What do you get when you cross a dyslexic, an insomniac, and an atheist?
A man who stays awake all night wondering whether dogs exist.

The masochist says to the sadist, "hurt me."
"Nope," responds the sadist.


What does an agnostic, dyslexic, insomniac do at night?

Sits awake and wonders if there is a dog.

Here's a long one, on dialectics and philosophy--may not be right for "Marginal Revolution," but here goes:

Two philosophers are talking--one of them is a Marxist (M) who says he uses dialectical methods, and the other, a basic logician (L) says "I've never understood dialectics. Can you explain it?" Here goes:

M: I'll give you an example. Two men slide down a chimney, one comes out clean, one comes out dirty. Who washes?
L: Well, logically, the dirty one washes.
M: Wrong. The dirty one looks at the clean one and says "we're clean." But the clean one looks at the dirty one and says "We're dirty." So the clean one washes.
L: I understand.
M: You don't understand. The clean one looks at the dirty one and says "We're dirty," but the dirty one looks at the clean one and says "Wait--you're clean, I'm dirty." So the dirty one washes.
L: Well, I, although you've used an unnecessarily complex back-and-forth method to reach the result, the dialectical process (as you call it) results in a logical outcome--the dirty one washes. I understand.
M: You don't understand. Two men slide down a chimney, one comes out clean, one comes out dirty---HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?

Two engineers and an economist go hunting. A deer appears across the field. The first engineer shoots and says, "Damn. Five feet to the left." The second engineer shoots and says "Rats. Ten feet to the right." The economist exults--"We got him!"

(Sorry, a variant on one submitted above--I like mine better, as it mocks economists more...)

Q: What did the Bayesian atheist do when he found himself in hell?
A: Update his priors.

One of the least known mathematical theorems is the Big Point Theorem: Any three points are collinear for sufficiently big points. This of course has the necessary corollary of the Thick Line theorem: Any point is on a given line for sufficiently thick lines. These are ultimately related to the large values theorem, a simple statement of which is that 2+2=5 for extremely large values of 2.

This actually happened, in Arkansas.

A customer in a Waffle House ordered the big breakfast combo plate, which included 3 eggs, waffles, grits, sausage and coffee, for the single, bundled price of $5.00.

The waitress brought the plate, and said, "I'm sorry, we're out of grits."

The customer asked what he could have as a substitute, to which the waitress replied, "There's no substitutions, honey, the grits are free."

OK, one more, I'll make it brief.

A compulsive liar can never get a good pair of glasses.

Did you hear about the Buddhist who walked into the pizza place and said, "Make me one with everything?"

The past and present walk into a bar. It was tense.

Two for one post:

What were Descartes' last words?
"Think, dammit, think!"
(from an old Washington Post competition)


Heisenberg may have been here.
(from writing on a bathroom wall near the math section of the University of Illinois Library)

Did you hear the one about the dyslexic schizophrenic?
He kept thinking he was following someone.

What does a dyslexic agnostic insomniac do?
Lies awake all night wondering if there is a dog.

-Did you know that the capital of Taiwan is full of driven, aggressive overachievers?
-Of course. They've all got Taipei personalities.

100 kilopascals go into a bar.

Did you hear about Fermat's Next-To-Last Theorem?

It's that 2 + 2 equals 5, but only for exceptionally large values of 2.

Higgs Boson walks into the Vatican. Pope Francis says, "What are you doing here?". Higgs Boson says, " Well, you can't have mass without me!"

Q: What's an anagram of Banach-Tarski?

A: Banach-Tarski Banach-Tarski.

A proton and a neutron wall into a bar. Each orders a beer. The bartender says to the proton "That will be six bucks".

"And mine?" asks the neutron.

"No charge for you".

No deposit, no return, Klein bottle.

There was an atheist with both dyslexia and insomnia.
He lay in bed, thinking, wondering about the
existence of dog.

I can't believe my favourite (via Stephen Fry I think) hasn't appeared here or on reddit.

Q: Who led the Pedants' Revolt?
A: Which Tyler.

A sadist and masochist fall into bed for some spontaneous lovemaking. “Beat me,” says the masochist. “No,” says the sadist.

Q: How many surrealists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

A: Fish.

According to Freud, what comes between fear and sex?


A Jungian and a Freudian were having a drink together.
The Jungian says to the Freudian, I was having dinner the other night with my mother in law and I think had had what you guys call a Freudian slip.
What I meant to say was "can you pass the butter".
And what I actually said was "you fat f**k you've ruined my life".

Two cows lie in a field. One cow says to the other; "Are you worried at all about Mad Cow disease?" The other cow answers; "What do I care? I'm a helicopter."

Two leptons walk into a bar. The first one orders a Tom Collins. The second one says "Damn! That's what I was going to have!"

An anti-hydrogen atom goes into H-bar...

Knock knock.

Who's there?

Schrodinger's cat.

Schrodinger's cat who?


This guy walks into a bar. Says to the bartender, "Have you heard the self-referent kangaroo joke?" No, says the bartender.

The guy proceeds to tell the joke.

"I don't get it," says the bartender.

I know an NP-Complete joke, but once you've heard one you've heard them all.

The seminary professor called up the computer support tech, said "This morning I printed out the syllabus for my course in the Synoptic Gospels, and it came out fine. This afternoon, I tried printing out the syllabus for my course in Post-Modern Hermeneutics, and all I got was gibberish."

The tech came to the professor's office, looked around, and said "What do you expect from a Canon printer?"

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