Linguistic joke of the week

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The first two panels of today's SMBC:

The third panel:

The aftercomic:

The mouseover text: "10 points to anyone who tries this".

I'm not sure that there's a good term for this specific type of pun. Another example, in the form of a riddle:

Q: Why is milk fast?

A: Because it's usually pasteurized before you even see it.



  1. bks said,

    October 11, 2015 @ 9:23 am

    Q. Why is breakfast?
    A. Because it's always done before lunch.

  2. Dan said,

    October 11, 2015 @ 12:18 pm

    Q (speaking very slowly): Why is this joke as slow as molasses?
    A (speaking very quickly): Because it's my last joke!

  3. Vilinthril said,

    October 12, 2015 @ 3:20 am

    @Dan: Don't get yours …?

  4. Rolig said,

    October 12, 2015 @ 7:36 am

    Q. Why should you never get hungry in the Sahara?
    A. Because of the sandwiches there.

  5. L said,

    October 12, 2015 @ 10:22 am

    Do you know how to make your trousers last?

    Make your jacket first.

  6. peter said,

    October 12, 2015 @ 9:00 pm

    Ultra-finitist mathematician Alexander Yessenin-Volpin once presented a clever mathematical example of such metaplay in a discussion with Harvey Friedman, reported here:

  7. Yuval said,

    October 13, 2015 @ 1:36 am

    Peter@ I think metaplay is an especially suitable term for this SMBC :->

    As for the general case of this type of humor, how about metamelter

  8. S. Norman said,

    October 13, 2015 @ 10:55 am

    The milkman told of a lady who ordered a very large amount of milk. She explained she wanted to have a milk bath. He asked if she wanted it pasteurized. "No, just up to my neck will be fine", she replied.

  9. January First-of-May said,

    October 13, 2015 @ 4:02 pm

    For a minute, I thought you were talking about What the Tortoise Said to Achilles (co-written, sometime in the late 19th century, by L.Carroll and C.L.Dodgson), which is also a fairly interesting example of mathematical meta-linguistic humor.

  10. peter said,

    October 13, 2015 @ 4:29 pm


    Well spotted! That post title was indeed an allusion to Dodgson's 1895 article in the journal Mind, of which more here:

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