A listener has been baffled for years by a riddle told a German friend. It goes, “What’s the difference between a frog? Answer: The greener it is, the faster it swims.” It’s an example of an antiwitz or “anti-joke,” a popular form of German humor that has the structure of a traditional joke, but involves absurd imagery and lacks a satisfying punchline. In China, a similarly silly type of humor goes by a name that translates as “cold joke.” This is part of a complete episode.
- Hot Dog, Cold Turkey 05/29/2017: Why do we call a frankfurter a hot dog? It seems an unsettling 19th-century rumor is to blame. Also, if someone quits something abruptly, why... [more]
- Hell for Leather 05/13/2017: Victorian slang and a modern controversy over language and gender. In the early 1900's, a door-knocker wasn't just what visitors used to announce their arrival,... [more]
- Skedaddle 05/08/2017: The months of September, October, November, and December take their names from Latin words meaning "seven," "eight," "nine," and "ten." So why don't their names... [more]
- Pop Stand 04/29/2017: When it comes to learning new things, what's on your bucket list? A retired book editor decided to try to learn Latin, and ended up... [more]
- Coast is Clear 04/24/2017: In the military, if you've lost the bubble, then you can't find your bearings. The term first referred to calibrating the position of aircraft and... [more]