How to write a really bad joke

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Lady Cressida Hardly-Worthit

Recently a challenge came up, to make what was already a pretty weak joke so bad it would bring tears to your eyes. I thought you might enjoy my entry…

British aristocrat Lady Cressida Hardly-Worthit, 65, had a very embarrassing problem. The innards of her abdomen were twitchy to put it mildly and she made the f*rts of a dray horse seem like the puffs of a butterfly’s wings.

Furthermore, her innards caused her pain – in addition to the humiliation of being able to clear a packed 2,000 square foot Hunt ballroom in 20 seconds or less with so much as one small squeak of the anus.

Much as her stiff upper lip deterred her from seeking medical advice for such a trifle, she succumbed to the discomfort and confided in Zinnia, her humble housekeeper, whom she asked to fetch a doctor, and be sure to tell him to use the tradesmen’s entrance.

“This is not the 19th century, modom,” grunted Zinnia. “Doctors are big cheeses these days. You need to make an appointment and go to see them. In their surgery.”

“I really don’t think I want to watch one of those people being operated on, Zinnia. Get one to come here this evening before dinner. I’ll give him a glass of sherry if that will help.”

“No, no, modom. The surgery is where they work, not who’s operating on them. And the sherry won’t work because it’s not politically correct. They’re not supposed to booze. Smoke weed, sniff coke, do crack, shoot up, okie dokey. But booze can be smelled on the breath and it’s every rural policeman’s dream to knobble a quack who’s driving around p*ssed. Modom.”

“Goodness me. Well, make an appointment for me then, Zinnia.”

Two days later Lady H-W was waiting to see the local GP, sitting in a stuffy room full of peasants who were coughing and spluttering. She brayed at a passing nurse, “my appointment was at 10:20 and I was here at 10:19, my good woman. It is now 10:22. Please instruct the doctor to see me now.”

“You don’t come here very often, do you darling?” schmoozed the nurse. “It’s busy today so don’t bitch about two minutes. You’ll be lucky to see him in two hours. Here – have a nice gossip magazine to read.”

“Thank you, but I must get away from this rabble of disease-ridden proles. Why on earth should I want to read such dirt as a gossip magazine? Why are there naked men and women all over the cover?”

“Because that’s what real people get off on, you snotty old cow,” said Lady H-W’s neighbour. “Have a read and stop whining about the wait time. Some good juicy stories in there. Should shut you up for the next two hours before you’re seen.”

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The NHS doesn’t do genteel

Lady H-W drooped, crestfallen, beaten by the harsh reality of modern medicine. Happily, before she had had time to shout again a doctor appeared in the corridor and spoke her name.

She waited for him to approach her and escort her to an office, but he stood in the doorway and glared at her. Swallowing her pride she rose and followed him into the small, stuffy office.

“OK, er, Cressida, what can I do for you?”

“You know perfectly well that my name is Lady Cressida Hardly-Worthit, young man.”

“Sorry, Lady Caroline. What’s your problem?

“Cressida.”

“Whatever. You’ve got 9 minutes left.”

“I have a rather embarrassing condition whereby my bowels seem to be unpredictable and create, er, shall we say, a, er, unpleasant odour…”

“You mean you f*rt a lot.”

“Well, that’s hardly a genteel way of putting it…”

“We don’t do genteel in the National Health Service, Lady Christine. What else?”

“Cressida. Although with your attention span you may as well call me Caz, like my governess did.”

“Let’s get on with the symptoms, Chris.”

With failing hope, Lady H-W explained the whole story to the GP. After which time he said, “Right, I need to refer you to the hospital for a colonoscopy.”

“What’s that?”

“It’s the endoscopic examination of the large bowel and the distal small bowel with a CCD camera or a fiber optic camera on a flexible tube passed through the anus. It can provide a visual diagnosis (e.g. ulceration, polyps) and grants the opportunity for biopsy or removal of suspected colorectal cancer lesions.”

“Do you speak English, by any chance?”

“A specialist shoves a long tube up your botty-hole to take pictures of your intestine so we know if there are any problems up there.”

“I do wish you would avoid vulgar language.”

“I do wish you would stop wasting my time and say if you want to have further investigation of your problem or not.”

Lady H-W endured her colonoscopy and soon was back in the doctor’s office. A different doctor this time.

“Are you the doctor’s wife?”

“No, Lady Catherine. I am the doctor.”

“I think I would rather wait and see your husband.”

“You’ll be waiting for quite a while. His last known whereabouts was throwing up under a table in a run-down bar somewhere in Jamaica with an 18-year-old barmaid he picked up in the Red Lion pub across the road here four years ago.”

“Oh, very well, then. What have you got to tell me?”

“You have an intolerance to peas.”

“But that’s my favorite vegetable.”

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No peas for the wicked.

“No doubt, in fact many people crave just the foods to which they have an intolerance. But there’s no question. You must never eat a pea again – or at least, not for the next five years. After that you should be OK with them as the intolerance will have subsided.”

“Are you trying deliberately to provoke me? I am beyond despondent!”

“No, I’m not taking the pea. Oh, sorry, Lady Carusa. It’s been a long day.”

Five whole years passed during which time Lady H-W avoided all mention of the dreaded P word, and instructed her staff never to let that word pass their lips. Suppers in the staff quarters were on strict no-pea orders unless Lady H-W was away staying at Claridges in London to confer with her trust managers.

But eventually, the fifth anniversary of Lady H-W’s sad penance arrived.

On the eve of this important day, she called Titbombe, her butler, into the morning room for the usual audience to discuss the next week’s menus.

“Tomorrow evening I will dine only on peas.”

“Peas, m’lady? What about your greens and stuff?”

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“Peas are green, Titbombe, you nincompoop. A large plateful of petit pois with sautéed scallion onions and plenty of butter.”

“Very good, m’lady.”

The next evening, Titbombe placed a steaming plate of tasty peas before Lady H-W.

“Enjoy your meal, m’lady.”

“I will, Titbombe,” murmured Lady H-W. “Especially considering I haven’t had a pea in the last five years.”

“Very good, m’lady. Excuse me, I must hurry to evacuate the below-stairs staff before the flood.”

What’s your favorite bad joke?

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