Deaf Jokes & Humor

Deaf humor is an important part of ASL literature.  Deaf humor is culturally based because in their jokes the Deaf person is the protagonist and somtimes the jokes are at the expense of hearing people.  The Deaf person comes out on top because of his or her deafness.  According to Dr. Bill Vicars ( "Yes, Deaf humor makes fun of hearing people.  But there is a difference, we are talking about a culturally oppressed group finding amusement and success in the very condition that the dominant culture pities us for.  Deaf humor isn't against hearing people, it is just in support of Deaf Culture!"

Deaf humor is understood and appreciated if the listener has knowledge of the culture.

Linguistic based humor can be expressed through American Sign Language just like it can in English. 

English Jokes

Listen to the spoken English jokes below which are humorous because of their "play on words." 


Explanation: In the first joke the emphasis is on parking lot. The dog crosses the road to get to the "barking lot." In the second joke there is a play on the word kleenex. The letter X takes a bath to get clean. A "clean X."

Deaf Joke

Now watch the clip of a well-known Deaf joke called, "King Kong."  This joke is funny because of the use of the sign MARRY.

Translation: A beautiful woman is out jogging and everyone is admiring her. She later goes to sunbathe when King Kong enters the town. People are running away and screaming. King Kong sees the beautiful woman and picks her up. He tries talking to her but she indicates that she is Deaf. So King Kong knows sign language and signs to her that she is beautiful. She thanks him. He then goes on to sign I think we should MARRY. When he makes that sign he accidentally squashes her!

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