Wait For It… a blog by Andy Ross

Insider Jokes

Posted on December 1, 2010

As winter sets in, I worry about spending too many nights inside with my wife, Colleen. I’m afraid without outside contact, my sense of humor is getting too insider-y, too niche.

I'll give you an example: Yesterday at work, my boss found out I write comedy. So, of course, he asked me to tell him a joke. I said, "Alright, well, I haven't performed stand-up in awhile, but this joke that gets a big reaction from my wife." And, I pulled up his shirt and put my cold hands on his belly.

He didn’t laugh at all. It’s as though he totally didn’t understand the premise. Doesn’t he have a sense of humor? I put my cold hands on his warm belly. How is that not hilarious?

So, I went in for the follow-up joke, which is a tickle fight. It’s a classic “tag,” as they say in the comedy biz. A one-two punch. Again, he must not have gotten the joke, because no laugh.

At home, this stuff gets huge laughs. Mostly from me. Colleen never laughs at my hilarious jokes. Even the extra funny, super hilarious jokes. Like, sometimes, when she’s doing the dishes, I’ll stand behind her making farting noises with my mouth. Or, if she’s trying to read, I’ll climb in her lap and make farting noises.

Okay, so those jokes are amazing, right? Never a single laugh from Colleen. (Only huge laughing jags from me.) But, at least she properly acknowledges the jokes—she’ll push me away, she’ll roll her eyes, she’ll pinch me. An eye roll tells me, “Yes, I admit that your joke is very droll. You are indeed a rare wit, and I am humbled to be your audience. But, I can’t laugh right now, because I’m busy doing our taxes.”

Did my boss roll his eyes? Did he cross his arms and purse his lips? No, he just calmly walked into his office, closed his door, and emailed Human Resources to set up a meeting with me tomorrow. That is not someone who appreciates a good cold-hand-on-a-warm-belly gag.

I’m just glad I didn’t waste my spot-on impression of my apartment building’s super on him.