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What Are Corny Jokes and Why Are They Funny?

Inspirational essays and articles, with a touch of humor, are favorite topics for Ms. Giordano, a writer and public speaker.

Corny Jokes

Corny jokes stated with a seed catalogue.

Corny jokes stated with a seed catalogue.

Who Tells Corny Jokes in Your Family?

Did you have an uncle like my Uncle Eddie? I didn’t see him often, but I would see him every Thanksgiving when my family hosted a big extended family Thanksgiving dinner.

He was a joke machine. Endless corny jokes that made us groan, then laugh, and finally cry. Cry out for him to stop.

I’ve gathered up a bunch of old corny jokes. Memorize these jokes. If you see your joke-telling uncle at Thanksgiving or other holidays, you will be ready to beat him at his own game.

What Does "Corny” Mean?

Literally, “corny” means pertaining to corn. For instance: My mother’s corn bread was made with fresh corn kernels and had a very corny flavor.

But that is not the kind of corny we are talking about. We are talking about corny jokes. In this context “corny” means trite, dated, melodramatic, mawkish (sickening, nauseating) sentimental, and lacking in subtlety.

The Urban Dictionary says that “corny” means trying to be cool, but ultimately being very un-cool and even embarrassing.

The most likely source of the word corny in this second sense goes back to the early 20th century in America. Seed companies started to send catalogues of their selections to farmers. They planted some jokes and cartoons throughout the catalog hoping to raise interest in the catalogues. The jokes became known as "corn catalogue jokes."

Unfortunately, the “corn catalogue jokes” were what we would call “lame”—lacking in quality. The jokes were labeled "corny", and eventually “corny” applied to all humor considered embarrassingly unsophisticated.

Corny jokes often make use of bad puns. (Or clever puns, depending on how you feel about puns.) They can be politically incorrect and/or in bad taste. They are often off-color. They make you groan, and then you laugh in spite of yourself.

An Ear of Corn

Corny jokes can make us smile...or groan.

Corny jokes can make us smile...or groan.

How To Tell a CornyJoke?

Corny jokes require the proper set up.

At a get-together, go up to a group of people. At the first opportunity, say “That reminds me of a great joke.” or “Do you want to hear a great joke?” This raises expectations—part of the reason a corny joke is funny is because it utterly fails to meet expectations.

The second part is the action of telling of the joke. The corny jokes here all begin with a question. Ask the question really fast. Pause for just a moment—only a brief moment—you don’t want your audience to have a chance to think. Then blurt out the answer.

Part three: Laugh uproariously at your own joke. Laughter is contagious and so people will start to laugh. Soon they will start to think that they are laughing because your joke is funny.

If people don’t laugh, repeat the punch line, preceded and followed by the words “Get it?” Say the punch line louder and slower. Laugh uproariously. This has a kind of the-emperor’s-new-clothes effect. People will start to think that if they don’t laugh it means they are too stupid to get it.

Finally, immediately launch a new joke.

Repeat these steps until you find yourself standing alone.

And now for the jokes. Remember, I warned you they were corny. Proceed at your own risk.

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Proceed at Your Own Risk

Corny jokes often use X-rated humor. If you are the prudish type or are easily offended, go no further.

Bad-Pun Corny Jokes

Corny jokes often involve puns.

How do you make anti-freeze?

—You send her out in a blizzard without her coat.

Why do elephants have wrinkles?

—They are really hard to iron.

How much should you spend to use a pay toilet?

—The going rate..

If athletes get athlete’s foot, what do astronauts get?


What is another name for twin boys?

—Womb mates.

What kind of country has all its automobiles painted pink?

—A pink car nation.

What another name for an grocery clerk from Asia?

—A Chinese checker.

What happens if you don’t pay your exorcist?

—You get re-possessed.

Groaner Corny Jokes

These jokes may make you groan.

What do you call a woman who stops nagging her husband?

—A widow.

What should you do if your nose goes on strike?


What’s red and green and sings “Danny Boy?

—A leprechaun with a sunburn.

What does one happy frog say to the other?

—Time’s sure fun when you are having flies.

Confucius Say...

Many corny jokes begin with the words "Confucius say."

Many corny jokes begin with the words "Confucius say."

Confucius-Say Corny Jokes

Phony sayings falsely attributed to the Chinese philosopher Confucius are a popular type of corny joke.

Confucius say...

—Indian who drink too much Lipton will drown in his own tee pee.

Confucius say...

—Man who pay money to look up the family tree wind up being the sap.

Confucius say...

—Man who live in glass house, should dress in the basement.

Confucius say...

—Artificial insemination is procreation without recreation.

Confucius say...

—Many people stop looking for work when they have a job.

She Was So Fat...

Many corny jokes begin with the words, "She was so fat."

Many corny jokes begin with the words, "She was so fat."

She-Was-So-Fat Corny Jokes

Why are these jokes always about women?

She was so fat …

—She applied for a group insurance policy.

She was so fat…

—At the ski-resort she had to buy a fork-lift ticket.

She’s so fat…

—Her clothes hangers are at airports.

She’s so fat…

—When she sits around the house—she sits AROUND the house.

She’s so fat …

—At the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, people looked for her wires.

She’s so fat ..

—When she goes to a party, she sits next to everybody.

She’s so fat ..

—She dances cheek to cheek with herself.

She Was So Ugly...

Many corny jokes begin with the words, "She was so ugly."

Many corny jokes begin with the words, "She was so ugly."

She-Was-So-Ugly Corny Jokes

Why are these jokes always about women?

She was so ugly...

—She had bags OVER her eyes.

She was so ugly …

—Cops would pull her over to tell her to speed up.

She was so ugly …

—When she sits in the sand at the beach, cats try to bury her.

She was so ugly…

—When she entered an ugly contest, they said, "Sorry, no professionals.”

She was so ugly...

—When she looks in a mirror, her reflection ducks.

Not-Quite-Ethnic Jokes

There are some jokes which name a particular ethnicity, but I thought it prudent to steer clear of politically-incorrect territory. If you have no compunctions in this regard, you can add an ethnicity to the joke.

What does a lazy wife like to make for dinner?


How did the forgetful feminist scar her chest?

She burned her bra before taking it off.

Why did the little boy cut a hole in his umbrella?

So he could see if it was raining.

What did the stupid athlete do when he won a gold medal at the Olympics?

—He had it bronzed.

What did the over-zealous student do?

—He studied for his blood test.

A Little Bit Smutty

Some corny jokes are off-color.

Some corny jokes are off-color.

A Little-Bit-Smutty Corny Jokes

Many corny jokes are off-color. I’ve chosen some that are only slightly blue.

Do men prefer a lover with fat thighs or skinny thighs?

—Somewhere in-between.

How many fleas does it take to screw in a light bulb?

—Two if you can get them in the light bulb.

What do you call a man who mounts animals?.

—A taxidermist.

When should you wear two rubbers?

—When it rains.

When is Mother’s Day?

—About nine months after Father’s Day.

Bathroom Humor

Some corny jokes use bathroom humor.

Some corny jokes use bathroom humor.

Scatological Corny Jokes (Bathroom Humor)

Many corny jokes deal with bathroom humor.

How did the horse get rich in New York?

—He made a pile on Wall Street.

Why do you need to watch your rear in a hospital?

—You are in enema territory.

What should a couple do if they want to go steady?

—Take Ex-Lax..

What does a mathematician do when he is constipated?

—He works it out with a pencil.

Where does the good proctology student go?

—To the rear of the class.

Why Do Corny Jokes “Cross the Lline”?

Sigmund Freud is famous for his theories about sex, but did you know he also studied humor?

One of his theories about humor is that we laugh at the unexpected. This explains why puns are funny. They twist the meanings of words to give us an unexpected answer.

Freud also believed that we find humor that breaks taboos funny. When a joke concerns the things polite people aren’t supposed to talk about, we laugh. The reason is that the breaking of a taboo arouses fear, but when no negative consequences follow, the release of tension causes us to laugh.

What do you think of corny jokes?

Here are a Few More Corny Jokes. Enjoy

© 2014 Catherine Giordano

Any comments or jokes to share? If you've got the time, I've got the place.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on October 05, 2014:

So glad you enjoyed them. A day without laughter is like a day without sunshine. Thanks for letting me know I made your laugh.

Dianna Mendez on October 04, 2014:

You have my laughing here, Catherine! Oh my! Thanks for the definition, but most importantly the laughter for the day.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on October 04, 2014:

Thanks for your comment. I read up on Freud's ideas this week. They are convoluted and difficult.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 04, 2014:

Catherine, thanks for the laughs. I also find Sigmund Freud's ideas interesting.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on September 29, 2014:

So glad you like, er hate, them. I'd say show them to your father, but he probably knows them all already.

Andrew Smith from Richmond, VA on September 29, 2014:

Ha! These are awful. My father is a master of the corny joke. He really loves these.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on September 28, 2014:

Thanks Examiner. My day job is market research so you think, I would know how to write a poll question that is inclusive of every point of view. I'm going to count you as a "Yes" because no one finds every joke funny and 50% is good enough for me. I should add that often my polls are just meant to be funny, and that is the case with this one. The last line of your comment made me laugh.

The Examiner-1 on September 28, 2014:

Interesting Catherine. I was ready to vote in the poll but unfortunately there was not an answer which I would have used - "Occasionally funny". I like the ones they use on the Brit shows. The American comedies are 50%/50% funny. I think that the ones on the commercials are stupid. I voted this up, shared and pinned it.


By the way, did you hear the one...?

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on September 27, 2014:

Thanks, Jodah. I love Monty Python. I'm glad the jokes made you laugh. I'm a big fan of laughter.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on September 26, 2014:

Um, don't tell anyone. Catherine but I am still laughing at some of these jokes. My wife does not "get" my sense of humour at all. I like things like Monty Python, The Three Stooges etc...and the Cormier the joke, sometimes the funnier. Interesting to hear than Freud wrote about jokes and the Unconscious as well. Voted up.

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