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I have a vested interest in both my daughters developing a strong sense of humor. If they don't find me funny, our relationship is pretty much screwed. Being able to appreciate a joke is basically the difference between them loving everything I've written in this blog since they were babies or locking me in a basement without a wireless connection until they go off to college.

When Mazzy was a baby, she never laughed. I watched countless YouTube videos of babies giggling over things like paper ripping, nose blowing, vacuum cleaning, etc. It seemed so easy! But Mazzy wouldn't crack a smile if I put on a clown nose and danced a jig. While juggling monkeys. With Will Ferrell. In drag.

I often wondered if Mazzy had no sense of humor or maybe just a really discerning one. Perhaps she didn't appreciate clowns and would rather the subtle observational humor of Louis CK.

When Mazzy was two, she thought people who laughed were funny. Which means, if I told a joke and Daddy laughed, she'd say, "Daddy's funny!" and I'd get no credit whatsoever.


At some point, Mazzy learned about "knock knock jokes" and now she asks me to tell her three before bedtime every night.

It's unclear what she finds funny. I don't think she gets the word play. She can easily memorize a set of words so she can successfully tell a knock knock joke, but then she'll mix the words up and find it even funnier.

For instance…

ME: Knock knock

MAZZY: Who's there?

ME: Boo

MAZZY: Boo Who?

ME: Why are you crying?

MAZZY: HAHAHAHA! Knock knock.

ME: Who's there?


ME: Boo who?

MAZZY: Boo Who Shoe Boo Doo Doo! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

She also thinks putting the word "business" on the end of anything is hilarious. I think Mike might have made up a half-assed knock knock joke about "monkey business" and it all snow balled from there. 

For instance…

MAZZY: Knock Knock.

ME: Who's there?

MAZZY: Monkey.

ME: Monkey who?

MAZZY: Monkey Business! HAHAHAHAHA! Knock knock.

ME: Who's there?

MAZZY: Chair.

ME: Chair who?

MAZZY: Chair Business! HAHAHAHAHA!!!!

In that last few weeks, she has taken the big leap to question and answer jokes.

When she first asked me to tell her one, I made the mistake of asking, "Why did the chicken cross the road?" I forgot the joke behind that joke is that it's actually not a joke at all. Saying "to get to the other side" to a three year-old is like telling them any question asked and answered factually is funny.

This has translated to jokes such as…

MAZZY: Why is the toothbrush on the sink?

ME: Why?

MAZZY: Because that's where you put it.


MAZZY: Why is food in the kitchen?

ME: Why?

MAZZY: So we can eat it.

Trust me, this can go on for several hours.


Eventually, Mike and I both looked up jokes online so we'd have one at the ready every time it was requested. Which is often.  

Why was the man running around the bed? To catch up on sleep!

Why is six afraid of seven? Because seven eight nine!

What do you call a pig that knows karate? A pork chop!

Mazzy laughs at all of them but again, I'm not sure if she knows what she is laughing at.

There is one joke Mazzy finds particularly funny and tells over and over again. I can even ask her to say it on demand if I want to show off my daughter's newfound sense of humor amongst friends.

Why did the cow cross the road? To get to the mooooo-vies.

She tells it with so much confidence. All the emphasis in the right places. Her timing is perfect. With this sly little smile like she totally knows she's got you.

Every time she tells it, I feel like it might be a window into the stellar sense of humor Mazzy will one day possess. The sense of humor that will allow us to bond over the stories in my blog instead of tear us apart.

And then yesterday, Mazzy asked me to tell her the cow joke.

ME: Why did the cow cross the road?


ME: To get to the mooooo-vies.


ME: What?

MAZZY: To get to the MOVE FEETS.

ME: What?

MAZZY: To get to the MOVE FEETS.

ME: No, it's to get to the MOOOO-VIES.


ME: Babe, it's because a cow goes MOOOO, so it's to get to the MOOOO-VIES.


ME: Alright, move feets.

Uh-oh. If you can't find me, I'll be in the basement. Without wireless.