You Think That’s Funny?

By Kelly

My daughter started giggling before she started speaking.

“Mom, remember in that movie about the dogs and the cat trying to get home [“Homeward Bound” for  the uninitiated] when the cat said, ‘Oh, you missed me butt-face.’ That was so funny, wasn’t it?”

Um. Yeah. I guess there’s a certain je ne sais quoi humor there.

Thankfully, I was spared an out-loud reply, since Connor, my five-year-old, launched into  his own catalog of favorite lines and quips. It ended, as it always does, with a recitation of knock-knock jokes.

And I use the term joke loosely.

“Mom, knock-knock”

“Who’s there?”

”Red truck.”

“Red truck who?”

”Red truck because Indiana Jones fell off his motorcycle.”

Um. Yeah.

Studies have shown that humor is an important milestone in childhood development. Babies start to smile when they are only a few weeks old, and most are laughing at games like peek-a-boo or strawberries-on-the-tummy by the time they turn one.

By the time a child is old enough for kindergarten, he or she will laugh at physical comedy (which is the only explanation for “Tom & Jerry”) and loud burps at the dinner table. They will think it’s funny if a parent tries to put a sock on their ear or sing a song in a funny voice, both of which are out of ordinary for a world they now recognize has some order.

When they enter grade-school, kids make another developmental leap into logical and language humor. Enter the knock-knock joke.

Problem is, as most of us discover, the truly funny material is gone in about 90 seconds. Which leaves us with the dregs of the nonsensical jokes that make us wince and groan and eventually want to throw a few rotten tomatoes at the off-spring of our hearts.

Obviously, the best rule when dealing with kids and their jokes is to laugh first, think later. Just as we don’t expect a seven-year-old to enjoy an evening of Shakespeare, we don’t expect a five-year-old to have the wit of G.K. Chesterton.

Still, there’s nothing in the rulebook that says we can’t help them along with a few well-placed jokes that contain, you know, actual humor.

So let’s do each other a favor today, and share your best knock-knock joke in the comments. It doesn’t have to be stellar. Just guaranteed to make a grade-schooler laugh.

I’ll start.


“Who’s there?”


“Irish who?”

“Irish you would stop telling knock-knock jokes and go wash your hands for dinner.”

Your turn.

Kelly makes jokes all the time at her personal blog, Love Well.

18 Responses to You Think That’s Funny?
  1. Jo
    July 15, 2009 | 6:01 am

    Cute! I’ll have to use the Irish knock-knock. My 4yo has caught on to the joy of making people laugh. Lately, he does it by being unintentionally funny (mixing up words or phrases) and then when he sees it makes me smile or laugh, he repeats it OVER and OVER. Followed by his fake forced (but still funny!) laugh. After a while, we have no idea why it is we’re laughing!

  2. Jen
    July 15, 2009 | 8:35 am

    Knock Knock
    Who’s there?
    Tank Who
    You’re Welcome

  3. Michelle
    July 15, 2009 | 10:14 am

    Knock Knock
    Who’s there?
    Boo Hoo?
    Don’t cry, It is only a joke.

  4. Happy Geek
    July 15, 2009 | 10:32 am

    knock knock
    who’s there?
    Martin who?
    (s)Martin up, boy.

  5. Sandy
    July 15, 2009 | 2:10 pm

    knock knock
    who’s there?
    nobody who?

  6. missy
    July 15, 2009 | 9:53 pm

    The best one – okay, the only good one – I have ever gotten came yesterday.

    Knock Knock
    Who’s there?
    Eva Rose
    Eva Rose who?
    Eva Rose loves mommy SOOOO much.

    Bravo, bravo!!

  7. Melanie
    July 15, 2009 | 10:41 pm

    Knock, knock.
    Who’s there?
    Interrupting cow.
    Interrupting co—

  8. Melissa
    July 16, 2009 | 1:55 am

    Darn…Melanie stole my FAVORITE knock-knock joke of all time. It’s the best and still cracks me up when I hear it or tell it. :o)

  9. Minnesotamom
    July 16, 2009 | 8:20 am

    Anja tells the same knock knock jokes all the time, and they’re not funny except for the fact that she’s not yet two and thinks that every time she tells one it’s hilarious. Sample:

    Anja: Knock, knock
    Me: Who’s there?
    Anja: Anja! (or Mama! or Daddy! or Various Other Objects in the Room!)

  10. Jason
    July 16, 2009 | 11:32 am

    Wow… Our first grader is going through the knock-knock phase, too. Being a boy, most of his knock-knocks contain something about a burp or a potty or poop.

    Still my favorite:

    Who’s there?
    Banana who?
    Who’s there?
    Banana who?
    Who’s there?
    Orange who?
    Orange you glad it’s not another banana?

  11. Jeana
    July 17, 2009 | 9:55 am

    Who’s there?
    Little boy who can’t reach the doorbell.

    Who’s there?
    Pirate who?
    Pirate (pie right) in the face. Poish!

    I’m assuming you already know the “Duane the bathtub I’m dwouning” one?

  12. Jen
    July 18, 2009 | 9:28 am

    Whos’s there?
    Gus Who?
    Guess what we’re having for breakfast? (or guess anything could go there)

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