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The 80s saw rise to a strange phenomenon - themed joke telling. While jokes have probably been told since the dawn of humans, the 80s gave rise to an interesting way in which they were told and spread. These jokes had very specific themes and were mainly passed on by word of mouth. It seems the objective was to be the first who collected a new joke under each category and then tell everyone else. In many of the cases, the jokes weren't even that amusing and if told today are often met with silence or frowns. Later themes became more amusing and still persist today. The first round of 80s jokes to follow this pattern were the 'baby jokes'.
The most interesting thing about 'baby jokes' is that they were in a class of their own. Instead of generic groupings of jokes like those based on sex, age, religion or race, baby jokes where one of the few to have their own categories. Many blonde jokes of the time were derived from generic jokes that poked fun at stupid behaviour. For example Q. What do smart blondes and UFOs have in common? A. You keep hearing about them, but you never see one. You could easily substitute any group of people into this joke and it would have the same affect. It works equally well for Footballers, Politicians or even switching the gender to men.
Unlike most blonde jokes, the baby jokes were mainly created from scratch (a few were based on other jokes, but most were new). At the time, it was common to hear a conversation start off with: Have you heard the latest baby joke? By today's standards these jokes seem pretty lame, and many would consider them to be offensive, but at the time people would laugh uncontrollably when told a new one.
Baby jokes often involved some violent act and a baby - the more violent, the more it was told. For those unacquainted with this questionable humour, here is an example. Q: What's blue and knocks on glass? A: A baby in a fishtank.
It is probably hard to see why a joke like this is funny today. But if you consider the context of how it was told, it makes a significant difference. They were only told to people that you knew – these jokes were never broadcast over TV or radio. Remember also that at the time it was extremely rare to have access to either the internet or a fax machine.
Many baby jokes also spawned sequels - the same joke would have two or three extensions that were told in quick succession. This went even further to incorporate baby jokes with other jokes circulating at the time, and almost always involved staples (see below)
Later in the 80s, many other themed jokes started to appear such as those about disasters (famines, the space shuttle explosion) and the infamous blonde joke.
Warning - while these are not the worst of the baby jokes, many of them involve questionable/sick humor. Proceed at your own risk.
Q: Why did the baby cross the road? A: It was stapled to the chicken.
Q: What is more fun than stapling dead babies to the wall? A: Pulling them off.
Q: What's the proper gift for a dead baby? A: A dead puppy.
Q: What is yellow and blue and found at the bottom of a pool? A: A baby with slashed floaties
Q: What does a dingo call a baby in a pram? A: Meals on wheels.
Did you know that it takes five babies to make just one bottle of baby oil?
Here's an example of a baby joke sequence that gets mixed in with other jokes of the time...
Q: Why did the koala fall out of the tree? A: Because it was dead.
Q: Why did the baby fall out of the tree? A: Because it was stapled to the koala.
Q: Why did the tree fall over? A: The koala didn't let go.
Q: Why did the kangaroo die? A: Because the koala landed on it.