How to write funny jokes – yes, even about horses

On a Friday afternoon in April, 2011 we had a little party (April 29th to be precise,  after that other little party in honour of some wedding or other in London, England…) to celebrate the launch of my latest book, “The Pony Lover’s Joke Book.” This is at the multi-award winning equestrian superstore whose owner asked me to do a joke book about ponies. She sells loads of my earlier title, “The Horse Lover’s Joke Book” and thought the pony book would do well too.

Are horses funny?

People who keep horses always laugh at this gag, largely because it’s true: “how do you make a small fortune out of horses? Start with a large fortune.” Despite this the vast majority of horse owners in the UK, Canada, the USA and I suspect most other industrialised countries are not filthy rich (any more!) but hard-working individuals who often have to do two jobs just to afford the livery costs, vets’ bills, feed, tack, bedding, grazing, clothing, transportation, etc., etc.

If you know where to look you can find humour in just about anything (I even find humour in cancer-related stories and incidents, as you can see on my CancerComicStrip blog.) And in the world of horses there is an absolute goldmine of opportunities for funny jokes.

A good place to start looking for humour is within jargon

Nearly always there is a jargon for any particular sport, activity, or even business. Often jargon can be used for amusing wordplays and double meanings. Take the following horsey terms, for example:

Flash Noseband(real meaning: a crossover-styled nose band within a horse’s bridle) A noseband which cashes in on the current rage for fashion statements comprising utterly outrageous glitter, sparkle, Swarovksi crystals and other bling which riders hope will catch the judges’ eyes and divert their attention away from a) a number of fences down or b) a really bad dressage test.

Gaited Horse(real meaning: a North American horse trained to go in artificial paces as well as the four natural ones) A US term referring to their extraordinary horses which not only do walk, trot, canter and gallop but also can be taught  boogie-woogie, jive, quick-step, waltz, rumba, cha-cha, salsa and Ceroc.

Livery(real meaning: board and lodging for a horse at a livery yard/horse farm) How parents say they feel when they are obliged to get up at some insane hour of the morning to take their kids to a show or rally, after having had far too much to drink the night before.

 

Then, you can take jargon terms and change them slightly

Crab biting: a condition whereby the horse crib bites sideways (crib biting is a bad habit that stabled horses can get into when bored – they chew out the wood around their stables…)

Faminitis: a disease suffered by many equids, particularly ponies, causing them to escape from their stables and attempt to raid the feed bins (play on the word “laminitis” which is an all too common disease of horses and ponies)

Thoroughdread: a thoroughbred horse who has just noticed a garbage bag that’s caught in the hedge and which is now flapping in the breeze (this was inspired by my own mare who was a real “thoroughdread!)

Now, how about adapting some silly jokes?

What kind of horse wears a sweater, jeans, and cheap boots? A plainclothes police horse

What time is it when a fat pony sits on the fence?  Time to mend the fence!

What’s spotted, stands in a puddle when it rains and doesn’t get wet? An Appaloosa with an umbrella!

And to round off, some “boyfriend” jokes

Why ponies are better than boyfriends

  • Ponies’ feet and shoes usually don’t smell, unlike a boyfriend’s stinky socks and shoes
  • You won’t get upset if your pony forgets to send you a Valentine’s card
  • Ponies do not normally get big problems with zits
  • Ponies do not play drums or loud guitar music in terrible rock bands
  • Ponies’ stables are not littered with a half-metre depth of empty Coke cans, week-old, mouldy takeaway curry leftovers, school books, laptops and dirty laundry

What else?

With a bit of thought, you can adapt the joke styles I’ve just described to suit a large number of other topics, as I mentioned above. Here are some more styles you can try:

  1. Adaptations of nursery rhymes and children’s stories
  2. Spoof “etiquette” rules … (would love to do one on golf…!)
  3. Essential knowledge for newbies (spoof on what people new to the activity can expect)
  4. Wordplay using adapted titles of TV shows and movies
  5. If you crossed an X with a Y you’d get a Z (e.g. Highland [pony] – Shih Tzu [dog]: HighShihtz, a pony with unfortunate intestinal issues)
  6. How many (whatevers) does it take to change a light bulb?
  7. Spoof on rules/issues of the sport/activity (e.g. Your 15 metre circle shape reminds the judge that she needs to buy some eggs on her way home)
  8. And many more….!!

If you’d like me to do more posts on joke writing let me know, and I’ll be offering an eGuide on humour writing soon, too.

As always, please comment away!

Sz

NB If you’re interested in the two horsey joke books, here’s where to find them (they make great gifts!)

The Horse Lover’s Joke Book: UK here, and USA here

The Pony Lover’s Joke Book: UK here, and USA here

m4s0n501

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  1. thanks for the info, its hard to just make up jokes

  2. What a great article, it’s difficult sometimes to balance the educational with the ‘funny’. I have really struggled with our writing staff at Ramm Fence to try to balance the content and add a touch of humor! I will use these suggestions.

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  1. […] Don’t try to be funny if you aren’t Although a semi-social or social speech can gain a lot by being humorous, at least in places, don’t force yourself if you’re not comfortable with it. If you do tell a few jokes, make sure you tailor them to the audience and the occasion – more on how to do that in this article, and also in this article. […]

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