Saturday, August 06, 2011

Cultural Characters

My Fellow Comedists,

I got this joke in the e-mail this week:

The Louisiana State Police had received numerous reports of illegal cockfights being held in the area around Abbeville and had sent their famous Detective Boudreaux from Thibodeaux to investigate.

Boudreaux promptly began his investigation and then reported to his Commander the next morning.

"Dey is tree main groups involve in dis rooster Fightin", he began.

"Good work! Who are they?" the Commander asked.

Boudreaux replied confidently, "De Texas Aggies, de local Cajuns, and de Mafia from N'awlins".

Puzzled, the Commander asked, "Now Boudreaux, how did you find all that out in one night?"

"Well," he replied, "I went down and done seen dat rooster fight in person. And I knowed immedjiately dat dem Aggies was involved when a Duck was entered in the fight."

The Commander nodded, "I'll buy that. But what about the others?"

Boudreaux nodded knowingly, "Well, I knowed de Cajuns was involved when sum_body bet on de duck!"

"Ah, I see, I see....." sighed the sergeant, "And how did you figure the Mafia was involved?"

"De duck won."
One of the joys of my frequent visits to southern Louisiana is hearing all the Boudreux and Thibodeux jokes. They are two buddies who get themselves into situations and try to solve them in, shall we say, creative ways. These are not jokes by non-Cajuns about the Cajuns, the way that blonde or Polish jokes are told to diminish a group. They are in-house jokes of, by, and for the community.

They are, in deep ways, similar to the Ole and Sven or Ole and Lena jokes you hear in the north country.
On their honeymoon trip, they were approaching Minneapolis when Ole put his hand on Lena's knee. Lena giggled and said: "Ole, You can go furder den dat, don't cha know?" So Ole put the pedal to the metal and drove to Duluth.

Eastern European Jews have a similar line of jokes connected with the rabbis of a small Polish (and actual) town called Chelm. While the rabbis are not named, and thereby personalized, in the same way, they are well-known characters.
In the town of Chelm, the Council of Sages entered a heated debate over whether the sun or the moon was more important. The dispute spread until the whole city was split into the “suns” and the “moons”.

Finally, they brought the question to their rabbi. He thought and pondered for days before declaring his answer to the town:

“The moon is obviously more important. The sun shines in the day, when it’s already bright and we don’t need it.”
Are there other cultures with similar sorts of jokes about their own? Do you have any favorites?

Live, love, and laugh,

Irreverend Steve