Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Funny Bones, 1925

Funny Bones, 1925

By: Ardis E. Parshall - May 16, 2009

I’m trying to visualize a day in 1925 when the Juvenile Instructor was delivered to the desk of each General Authority. Did Heber J. Grant turn first to the joke page? Did Joseph Fielding Smith?


First Flea – Have you been on a vacation?

Second Flea – No; just on a tramp.

A Sure Thing

Jim: “Ever see one of those machines that can tell when a person is lying?”

John: “Seen one? Lord! I married one.”

A Poor Substitute

Schram the Motorist (having killed the lady’s puppy): “Madam, I will replace the animal.”

Indignant Owner: “Sir, you flatter yourself.”

Not on the Chatauqua

Mike: “Did you ever speak before a large audience, Pat?”

Pat: “Fairly large, I did.”

Mike: “An’ what did you say?”

Pat: “Not guilty.”

In the Nursery

Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard
For something to quench her thirst;
When she got there, the cupboard was bare;
Her husband had been there first.

Summer Vacations

“What have you been doing all summer?”

“I had a position in my father’s office. And you?”

“I wasn’t working, either.”


The absent-minded business man, coming home, surprised his wife by kissing her tenderly. She was still puzzling when he mumbled, “Now I want to dictate a couple of letters.”

An Impressionist

A certain painter had lost his mind and had to be confined in an asylum. To his visitors he says:

“Look at this; it is my latest masterpiece!”

They look and see nothing but an expanse of bare canvas. They ask, “What does that represent?”

“That? Why, that represents the passage of the Israelites through the Red Sea.”

“Beg pardon, but where is the sea?”

“It has been driven back.”

“And where are the Israelites?”

“They have crossed over.”

“And the Egyptians?”

“They will be here directly. That’s the sort of painting I like – simple and unpretentious.”

The Genus Trampus

The Lady: “Well, I’ll give you a dime – not because I think you deserve it, mind, but because it pleases me.”

The Tramp: “Thank yer, mum. Couldn’t yer make it 50 cents, an’ thoroughly enjoy yerself?”


First Student: “Say, she is the dumbest girl I ever met.”

Second Student: “How come?”

First Student: “Why, she wanted to know how many quarters to a football game.”

Second Student: “That’s nothing. Mine wanted to know if a football coach had wheels.”

Foreign Lingo

A French woman, proud of her limited knowledge of English, and an American woman, proud of her limited knowledge of French, met at a sociable. The French woman insisted on expressing herself in bad English, and the American would talk nothing but bad French. At last they arose to go.

“Reservoir,” said the fair American.

“Tanks,” responded her new friend.

Weather Good

“I’m looking for someone to loan me $10.”

“Well, it’s a nice day for it.”

No Joke

“Strange,” said the first tramp meditatively, “how few of our youthful dreams ever come true!”

“Oh, I dunno,” said his companion; “I remember I used to dream about wearin’ long pants and now I guess I wear ’em longer than anyone else in the country.”

Doing It Right

“What on earth are you wearing all those coats for?” asked the neighbor.

“Well, “ was the reply, “I’m going to paint my barn, and the directions on the paint-can say, ‘For best results, put on three coats.’”

Not Classy Enough

A very self-satisfied man arrived at the gates of heaven, and asked for admittance. “Where are you from?” asked St. Peter.


“Well, you can come in, but you won’t like it.”

The Threat Indirect

“Aw,” said Willie, “you’re afraid to fight, that’s all it is.”

“No, I am not,” protested Jack; “but, if I fight, my ma will find it out and lick me.”

“How’ll she find it out?”

“She’ll see the doctor goin’ to your house.”

Still Undiscovered

Student in Astronomy: “Has anything ever been discovered on Venus?”

Professor (whose mind has wandered): “No, not if the pictures of her are authentic.”

Heartless Dad

“I’ve just kicked that young man of yours into the middle of next week!”

“Oh, how careless of you, father. We had arranged to get married on Monday!”

Wrong Diagnosis

“What you need, my dear young lady,” Dr. Boggs advised, “is a little sun and air.”

“Why, the very idea! I’m not even married!”



  1. Great stuff, Ardis.

    Gotta love those absent-minded businessmen.

    And even if that professor was thinking of Botticelli’s “Venus on the Half-shell” (or whatever its proper name is), he surely forgot that she had some very long, strategically placed hair.

    Comment by Mark B. — May 16, 2009 @ 7:49 am

  2. Jokes about businessmen sexually harassing their secretaries were a staple for this era, I think.

    I’m surprised at all the tramp jokes, though. Was that due to the influence of Charlie Chaplin? Or were there lots of tramps during the 20s? I would have thought tramp jokes would reach their heyday during the 30s. Always some questions about larger society come up from reading the jokes.

    I guess the impressionist was a forerunner to John Cage.

    Comment by Tatiana — May 16, 2009 @ 1:45 pm

  3. Well, the funniest of the jokes has already been commented on… twice… although why anyone would laugh at it (including me) is beyond my comprehension.

    Comment by Researcher — May 16, 2009 @ 3:09 pm

  4. As usual, I love these jokes.

    Comment by Maurine — May 16, 2009 @ 5:40 pm

  5. These are great, Ardis. I’m a particular fan of the ones that use overly literal interpreters of language–“kicked into the middle of next week”, “three coats”, etc.

    So when did the era of official Church publication of such jokes end?

    Comment by Ziff — May 18, 2009 @ 2:58 pm

  6. They carry on into the ’70s, Ziff, in the then-new Ensign, but they’re terribly unfunny by then. I can’t remember off the top of my head exactly when they died. It’s really been fun to resurrect them from the old magazines and laugh not only at the jokes themselves, but in surprise that they appeared where they did!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — May 18, 2009 @ 5:01 pm

  7. Yeah, that’s it! We need to start a petition drive to re-introduce jokes into the Church magazines. And not just jokes, but also articles about constipation.

    Comment by Hunter — May 18, 2009 @ 5:32 pm

  8. [smirk]

    Comment by Hunter — May 18, 2009 @ 5:32 pm

  9. A quick search of the Ensign reveals that the Mirthright feature finally died a merciful death about 1986. I would have guessed several years earlier. Ardis is right. The humor left much to be desired, and almost always involved allegedly “cute” things children were alleged to have said. I couldn’t find it online, but I distinctly remember a specific plea from the editors for people to please submit humor involving adults. In 1977, they published the following, obviously indicating frustration at receiving the same worn-out and unfunny jokes over and over again. I’m willing to bet it didn’t work, and they continued to get these exact jokes submitted over and over again.

    Judging from the hundreds of Mirthright submissions we receive, children all over the Church are continually making the same delightful mistakes as they come to grips with gospel terminology. This month’s Mirthright consists of the most-often-submitted anecdotes. Number one is the undisputed winner of the frequency contest, and all quips are listed in order of frequency. So enjoy them—with our thanks to all those who have taken the time to write in, and a warm reminder to one and all: We’ve heard these before!

    1. Johnny to mother: “Mommy, is today fast Sunday or slow Sunday?”

    2. Mother: “Susie, do you know the name of your doctor?”

    Susie: “Yes. His name is Doctor n’Covenants!”

    3. Sally: “I want to sing the song about the dishes.”

    Mother: “Dishes? What song is that?”

    Sally, singing: “The golden plates lay hidden. …”

    4. Father: “Soon we will be ready to be sealed together in the temple.”

    Billy: “How will we move after we’re sealed? We’ll all be stuck together!”

    5. Mother: “Daddy and I are going to the temple to do sealings tonight.”

    Judy: “Will you do the floors and the walls too?”

    6. Child singing “In the Leafy Treetops”: “In my lovely garden the flowers are naughty. …”

    7. Child praying in Sunday School: “And please bless those who have repaired the lessons. …”

    8. Teacher: “Does anyone know the name of our bishop?”

    Freddie: “I know! I know! His name is Bishop Rick!”

    9. Grandpa: “And just what do you do in opening exercises in Junior Sunday School?”

    Tammy: “That’s where we go to exercise our mouths!”

    10. (This joke came in frequently during the 1976 election year) TV: “We encourage you all to vote in today’s primary elections.”

    Eddie: “Mommy, mommy! Those men go to Primary too!”

    11. Cindy, singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”: “Good tithings we bring, to you and your kin. …”

    12. Child singing “Ere You Left Your Room”: “Did you air the room you left this morning? …”

    13. Jimmy: “I was born in the covenant.”

    Timmy: “Why weren’t you born in a hospital?”

    14. Teacher: “Janie, won’t your brother turn twelve soon?”

    Janie: “Yes, and when he does he’s going to be ordained a demon!”

    Comment by Left Field — May 18, 2009 @ 6:06 pm