I’m a Frayed Knot
February 20, 2024 5:12 AM   Subscribe

"Informant’s dad told it to her. She found it so funny. She likes that it’s punny and unexpected. Her dad would tell it to her over and over again. His dad told it too." An entry from the USC Digital Folklore Archives. The International Society for Folk Narrative Research points to it as one of many digital folklore archives [PDF]. If you don't have time to visit digital archives, a dad joke generator may be more your speed.
posted by cupcakeninja (18 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
[can't comment, busy clicking through dad jokes all afternoon]
posted by rory at 5:42 AM on February 20 [4 favorites]

My license plate is HMRFORE, which I have always hoped would trigger a dad joke -- the objective is to get somebody to say "What's hmr fore?" and I say "POUNDING NAILS!" and laugh heartily.

The only person who has actually asked me the question was a French exchange student, who's English is OK, but rather than following the joke through I explained the joke first, which seemed like didn't make any more sense to him than the license plate did.

(my dad uses hammerfor and henweigh in jokes structured as "can you go grab me a henweigh from the kitchen" to get a grandkid to say, "what's a henweigh", to which he replies "ABOUT 5 POUNDS" to everyone's amusement. I want to say that the origins of both are Marx Brothers movies?)
posted by AzraelBrown at 6:14 AM on February 20 [7 favorites]

Did anyone else first get exposed to the "frayed knot" joke from the SimCity 2000 credits screen?
posted by SansPoint at 6:39 AM on February 20

The dad joke generator is quite lovely, but it strayed (autocorrected?) into Bad Kids Jokes territory with this one:
What do you call a fish with no eyes?
A fish.
posted by scruss at 7:20 AM on February 20 [3 favorites]

First Dad Joke I ever heard was told to me by my mum: Mummy Bear and Daddy Bear had a baby, who was born with almost no fur, so they called him Fred.

She also enjoyed answering "Why is a mouse when it spins?" with "Because the higher the few" (n.b.: not "fewer") and then acting totally baffled at other people's apparent failure to grasp this obvious truth.

I miss my mum.
posted by flabdablet at 7:22 AM on February 20 [5 favorites]

I first heard "Frayed Knot" from my grandfather when I was a kid, and it always makes me smile to think of him. I remember one Christmas he tied an empty shotgun shell to a string and hung it on a fruit tree and then preceded to lead every family member out into the yard and ask what it was. I immediately blurted out, "It's a cartridge in a bare tree." I was so proud of myself for getting his joke so quickly. I would give a lot to be able to go back for just one day and listen to his 'Dad' jokes again.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 8:05 AM on February 20 [11 favorites]

The dad joke generator is quite lovely, but it strayed (autocorrected?) into Bad Kids Jokes territory with this one:

What do you call a fish with no eyes?
A fish.

Some computers just can't tell a joke.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:31 AM on February 20 [1 favorite]

More bad/Dad jokes previously...
posted by MtDewd at 9:15 AM on February 20 [2 favorites]

If you don't have time to visit digital archives, a dad joke generator may be more your speed.

See also American tax dollars at work.
posted by solotoro at 9:17 AM on February 20 [1 favorite]

so a string lives in a town with discriminatory anti-string laws — i'm not going to go into all the details, but suffice it to say that strings are badly oppressed here. one of the laws is that strings cannot be served drinks in bars. our string, chafing at the restrictions imposed upon him in this horrid town, decides one day that he's going to find a way to drink in a bar if it's the last thing he does.

he has a plan, though. there's a bar in town with a famously nearsighted bartender, and out of vanity this bartender refuses to wear glasses. so what the string does is he goes to this bar on a particularly busy night, hoping that the bartender will be too busy to recognize him as a string. he goes up to the bar and orders a screwdriver. the bartender starts to pour him the drink, but then he pauses. something is wrong here. he squints, rubs his eyes, leans over way forward, squints again, rubs his eyes again, and then shouts "hey! you're a string! you know damn well you can't drink here! get the hell out and never let me catch you in my bar again!"

the string is dejected, but he decides to try again at an even busier time — let's say the local football team is playing their rival and if they win they get a spot in the playoffs. so the string goes into the bar, jam packed with shouting, boisterous fans, goes up to the bar, and this time orders a bud light on the theory that perhaps his mistake was drawing attention to himself by asking for a cocktail. the bartender takes the order, turns to the tap, and begins to pour the string his desired generic rice beer. but then he stops and turns around, and does his whole squint, rub eyes, lean in, rub eyes again, squint more routine — and shouts "i know you! you're that goddamned string! i told you to get out of my bar! don't ever let me see you in here again or there will be consequences! and you damn well won't like them!"

the string is dejected, heartbroken, out of plans. so what he does is he goes to the greyhound station and catches the first bus out of town, not caring where he ends up. after several hours he sees a town — no, not a town, really it's more of an overgrown rest stop — that just so happens to have a gun shop and a fleabag motel. so what he does is gets off in this barely-a-town, he buys himself a pistol at the gun shop, gets a room at the hotel, and after a few minutes steeling his nerves he blows his own stringy brains out.

it turns out that the football team back in that horrible anti-string town did indeed win against their rivals, thereby clinching a spot in the playoffs, and when they play the next week the bar is even more packed with even more boisterous fans. a horse passing through decides that it might be fun to get a drink there, and so he walks in, pushes his way to the bar, and orders himself a bud light.

the nearsighted bartender — who is truly, deeply nearsighted, we're talking 20/200 vision, really his vain refusal to wear glasses is ruining his life — can tell there's something different about this patron. he squints, rubs his eyes, leans way in, squints some more, rubs his eyes again, squints again, and shouts "goddammit all to hell! i know you! you're that fucking string that keeps trying to drink here!" the horse, confused, taken aback, responds:

"no, i'm afraid not."
posted by bombastic lowercase pronouncements at 9:29 AM on February 20 [6 favorites]

What do you call a fish with no eyes?
A fish.

I didn't think of autocorrect at first. I thought of this:

What do you call the person who graduated last in their medical school class?

Yet a fish with no eyes is still a fish. That in itself would be funny, coming from a two-year-old.
posted by Miss Cellania at 9:42 AM on February 20

I ate a bunch of synonym rolls this morning. My stomach is thesaurus it's ever been.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:42 AM on February 20 [9 favorites]

I ate a bunch of synonym rolls this morning.

Just like Grammar used to make?
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:45 AM on February 20 [6 favorites]

No Dad jokes that I'm aware of, but if you're into folklore the Fairy Census is a great repository of fairy sightings, mostly in the British Isles, courtesy of Dr Beachcombing of Beachcombing's Bizarre History.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 11:19 AM on February 20 [2 favorites]

Flagged as being insufficiently eponysterical.
posted by Frayed Knot at 2:12 PM on February 20 [4 favorites]

What did the egg say to the boiling water?

It'll be a minute before I get hard. I just got laid by a chick.

Not so sure this one if for the kids.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 3:01 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]

What do you call a black woman who flies an airplane?

A pilot, of course. Did you expect something else, you sexist racist?
posted by otherchaz at 8:11 PM on February 20

Ahh the answer to “what is a fish with no eyes” was actually just incorrectly spelled..
It’s obviously a fsh.
Close, and better when spoken aloud.
Definitely unfunny as appears above.
posted by GrandPunkRailroad at 5:41 AM on February 21

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