Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Funny Bones, 1940 (3rd set)

Funny Bones, 1940 (3rd set)

By: Ardis E. Parshall - March 06, 2010

More “historic” humor from the 1940 Juvenile Instructor


Into a swanky church walked a shabby Negro. After some difficulty he found the pastor.

“Sir, I’d like to join this church,” he said.

The pastor was taken aback for a moment. “My good man,” he said at last, “where do you live?”

“I live in Harlem.”

‘Then don’t you think it would be wise for you to join a church in your own neighborhood?”

“Yes, sir, but I desire to join this church.”

The pastor thought a bit. “My good man,” he said, “suppose you go home and pray over this important step.”

This the Negro did, returning the next day.

“Pastor,” he said, “I went home and prayed to the Lord like you told me, and asked Him how I could get into this church, and the Lord appeared to me and He said, “Rastus, why do you ask Me how to get into that church? Why, man, for ten years, I’ve been trying to get into that church Myself!”

Scotch Joke No. 9666

Best Man (seeking bridegroom after the ceremony) – “Where’s Angus?”

Guest – “He’s at the back of the car trying on the old shoes.”

A Nice Conundrum

Izzy – “What’s the difference between a sewing machine and a kiss?”

Lizzie – “I know they’re different, but you tell me.”

Izzy – “One sews seams nice and the other seems so nice.”

A Discord

Woman (in music store) – “I would like to get a copy of ‘The Stolen Rope.’”

Clerk – “I’m sorry, but I don’t know of such a song. Is it something very new?”

Woman – “Oh, no; they tell me it’s very old. It goes something like this: ‘tum-tum-tump-ety-tum–’”

Clerk – “My dear madam, you mean ‘The Lost Chord.’”

Woman – “Oh, that’s it. I just got the title mixed a bit.”

Chin, Chin

“That’ll be two dollars, madame,” said the masseuse.

“Two dollars! Why, you only massaged my chin!”

“That’s right. Fifty cents a chin.”

He Proved his Skill as a Sprinter

“Are you a good runner?” asked the farmer of a student applying for a job on his ranch.

The student said he was.

“Well,” said the farmer, you can round up the sheep.”

After several hours the student returned perspiring and out of breath.

“I got the sheep all right,” he reported, “but I had a fierce time getting the lambs.”

“The lambs?” said the farmer, “I haven’t any lambs.”

“Oh, yes, you have,” replied the student; “they’re in the corral.”

Thereupon the farmer went to investigate. In the corral with the exhausted sheep he found half a dozen panting jackrabbits.

On the Menu

Arriving Missionary: “May I ask what course you intend to take with me?”

Cannibal King: “The regular one. You’ll follow the fish.”

Satanic Turnout

In the social column of a country weekly appeared this newsy tidbit: “Following the musical program, Mrs. J.Z. Burns delivered an address entitled ‘Personal devils.’ Seventeen were present.”


Gladys – “And did you let him kiss you?”

Harriet – “Let him? I had to help him!”

Not There

Farmer Hawkes – “Ephraim, does your mule ever kick you?”

Ephraim – “Well, boss, he ain’t ever kicked me, but he kicks quite frequent in the place where I’ve just been.”


It was during the impanelling of a jury that the following colloquy occurred:

“You are a property holder?”

“Yes, your honor.”

“Married or single?”

“I have been married five years, your honor.”

“Have you formed or expressed an opinion?”

“Not for five years, your honor.”

How Ducky

“How did you lose your job at the dress shop, my dear?”

“Just because of something I said. After I had tried twenty dresses on a woman, she said, ‘I think I’d look nicer in something flowing,’ and so I asked her why she didn’t go jump in the river.”

Advance Payments

“What are you thrashing your little son for?”

“He gets his school report tomorrow, but I must go away tonight.”

One Redeeming Virtue

Ole: “Have you ever been in love before, Hilda?”

Hilda: “No, Ole, often I admire men for their strength, courage, good looks, or intelligence, but with you, Ole, it’s all love, nothing else.”

Bad Habit

Minister: “Why did your husband rise and walk out during the sermon yesterday, Mrs. Thompson?”

Mrs. Thompson: “Dinna mind John, minister, he’s awful given to walkin’ in his sleep.”

What Did He Mean?

Mrs. Naggs: “Have you shut up everything for the night, Elmer?”

Elmer Naggs: “Yes, dear, I’ve shut up everything that can be shut up.”



  1. The jackrabbit joke is my favorite! I love it. Half a dozen panting jackrabbits. That’s a good old fashioned tall tale! Somehow it seems like the tall tale is underrepresented in Mormon folklore.

    And, as has been discussed in previous installments, most of these jokes have an added level of humor from the fact that nobody in church publishing nowadays would dream of addressing subjects like these in a humorous fashion in a church magazine. Spanking. Insults. Integration. Ethnic humor (that’s the Scots joke!). Cannibalism…

    And, how interesting to read the first one. I was listening to a discussion on the radio yesterday about the embattled governor of New York and the story spent some time discussing the influence that Harlem has had on United States politics over the past decades, and how that influence is starting to change as Harlem becomes more diverse.

    Comment by Researcher — March 6, 2010 @ 11:12 am

  2. I like the J Golden Kimball tall tale that ends when asked about a building he says: “I don’t know, it wasn’t here yesterday.”

    Comment by Bookslinger — March 6, 2010 @ 9:06 pm

  3. who says ‘No 9666’ is a joke? :-)

    Comment by Anne (U.K) — March 7, 2010 @ 5:47 am

  4. I would think that first joke about a black man not being accepted into a church would cut a little close to the bone for LDS readers in 1940.

    Comment by Clark — March 7, 2010 @ 5:25 pm

  5. Maybe I was just in a good mood but several of these had me laughing out loud. Thanks!

    Comment by Eliezer — March 7, 2010 @ 9:26 pm

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