Humour remains as a difficult mental concept to understand and where we might laugh at some notions n some circumstances yet firmly reject the same notion when it might appear offensive to others. Mercifically working for a telephone call ventre for just a few years helped establish a friendly form of banter in which he was able to establish the 'fall guy' of many 'Irish jokes' was when translated to similar telling in Ireland.In this case, the answer was 'Kerrymen' or those deemed 'tick' and living in the County of Kerry in Southern Ireland.
Similar vicious humour has included hardworking farming 'rednecks' in the USA, or else 'blonde hair moments' that suggest that those, usually feminine form in body shape and of lighter hair colour are 'less than the full shilling' in terms of mental capacity. Ginger hair colouring has been adopted into this role in recent times.
Scottish humour isn't confined to mere language, accent and our tendency to roll out the letter 'r' as in "There's been a murder!" often quoted in films and televisual drama. Scottish humour can be visual as exemplified on many postcards and the photographs featured on this page. Even a car crash can become a scene of mirth if there happens to be another similar car with just one digit difference on the number plate! Sadly, even this meagre offering of traditional Celtic Jibes of typically self-effacing humour cannot entirely avoid themes worthy of laughter on the one hand yet invite criticism on the other.
Consequently, we trust our selection of jokular examples, taken from a bygone era, will be happily perceived in the gleeful spirit in which they are presented and without intent towards malice or hatred of any kind. Looking down from heaven, we hope that famous Scottish comedians like Sir Harry Lauder, Jack Milroy and Rikki Fulton would approve of our selection. Enjoy!
When his faithful sheepdog died, Angus McMeikle the farmer, was deeply distressed and sought out the parish priest, “Father, will you conduct a funeral for my dog?”“I certainly will not!” replied the priest indignantly, “Why don’t you try the minister?”“I’ll do that,” said Angus sadly, “Do you think a thousand pounds for his church fund would be a suitable gesture of gratitude?”“Now just wait a minute,” said the priest hurriedly, “why didn’t you tell me the dog was a Catholic?”
A farmer from Houston, Texas, was visiting a local farm in Aberdeenshire to see how the finest beef in the World was produced. He observed several Aberdeen Angus cows grazing fresh grass for a long period of time in silence then asked the farmer about his property, "How many acres of land have you got?” he asked the Turrif farmer. "Two Thousand Acres,” came the proud reply. “Is that all?” said the astonished Texan, “I can get in my car and drive all day and still not reach my boundary fence of my ranch.” In response, the Scotsman smiled and nodded in sympathy, "Och Aye, I used to have a car like that too!"
A Scottish rugby supporter was watching a match against England at Murreyfield Stadium in Edinburgh. Beside him was the only empty seat in the entire stadium.“Who’s seat is that?” asked a man on the one side.“It’s my wife’s,” replied the supporter.“But why isn’t she here?” asked the man.“Oh, she died a few days ago!” the supporter said with eyes keenly fixed on the game.The inquisitor was shocked and regarded the empty seat, “Then why in heaven didn’t ye gie her ticket to one of your friends?”“I couldn’t,” replied the supporter, “They’re all at her funeral!”
I’ve passionately kissed every woman in this tenement block except one,” the amorous Glaswegian boasted to his friend one evening in the local pub. One man, who had been to the lavi, was walking past them when he heard the remark. The man immediately turned back, went upstairs and reported this to his wife. “I wonder who the woman is this rascal was talking about and hasn’t kissed?” “Oh,” replied his wife, “I suppose it’ll be that stuck up Mary Macintosh on the third floor!”
Red Adair, the famous Texan oil-fire fighter walked into a bar in Aberdeen one night. The man next to him at the bar immediately spotted him as an American. “I’ve been to the States myself,” said the Scotsman. “Oh really,” said the Texan in a tired voice.“Oh yes, I was in California a whole month. I went to a concert with a famous country singer called Benny Rodgers, and…….”“Eh, would that be Kenny Rodgers?” interrupted Adair.“Oh yes, that’s right, and he sang with a woman with a fine figure, Polly Darton.”“Do you mean Dolly Parton?” The American’s voice was terse so the Aberdonian decided it was best to change the subject.“Have I not seen you on TV?” he asked.“Maybe,” replied the Texan, “I’m Red Adair.”“What!” exclaimed the Aberdonian, “I must have your autograph. Are you still married to Ginger Rodgers?”
A young lad on a work experience scheme was sent off with a local painter. When they arrived at the place of work, they parked their van at the back of the house and the painter gave the lad a pot of red paint and a brush. “I’ll give you an easy job to start with,” he said, “Go round to the front and paint the porch.” After an hour, the apprentice came back, smiling and confident his work would help launch him in a new career. “Finished it already?” asked the painter, “That was quick work!” “It was easy,” replied the lad, “but it wasn’t a Porche. It was a BMW!”
A new high-rise building was being constructed in Glasgow and three steel erectors sat on a girder having their lunch high above the street below them. “Oh no – not cream cheese and walnut again” complained the first, a man from Coatbridge, “If I get the same again tomorrow, I’ll jump off this girder.” The second man, who came from Airdrie, opened his lunch box.“Oh no – not a Caesar salad with salami and lettuce on rye bread. If I get the same again tomorrow I’ll jump off too.” The third man, who came from Dufftown, opened his lunch pale, “Oh no – not another potato sandwich. If I get the same tomorrow I’ll be jumping off too!”Next day, the Coatbridge man got cream cheese and walnut. Without delay, he jumped off the high beam and was splattered on the busy road below. The Airdrie man got Caesar salad with salami and lettuce on rye bread so he followed his colleague into the afterlife. The Dufftown man opened his lunch box, briefly noting the potato sandwiches before he jumped too. The site supervisor, who had overheard their conversation, reported what had happened and the funerals were held together. “If only I’d known, wailed the wife of the Coatbridge man. “If only he’d said,” sobbed the wife of the Airdrie man. “I don’t understand it,” said the Dufftown wife, “He always made his own sandwiches!”
Two wicked little boys shouted at the parish minister while he was walking down the village High Street, “Hey mister, the Devil’s deid!” In quick response, the heckled minister answered quickly, “In that case, I must pray for two fatherless bairns!”
A border rugby referee died and went to Heaven. At the gate, he met St Peter who asked if he had carried out any action where principles went ahead of self-interest. “Well,” said the man, “I was reffing a game between Hawick and Jedburgh. Hawick were two points ahead with two minutes to go when the Jed wing made a break and passed inside to his lock. The lock was driven on by his forwards, passed out to the flanker, who ducked blind and went over in the corner. However, the flanker dropped the ball before he could ground it. Since Hawick had played the better game all through, I ruled he had dropped the ball down, not forward, and awarded the try. “That was quite brave.” said St Peter, “Let me just check it in the book.” He consulted the large tome then closed it with a snap. “There’s nothing in the book about it,” he complained, “When did this happen?” “About forty-five seconds ago.” said the ref.
On the train from Edinburgh to Perth, the ticket collector was having a fierce argument with a passenger who had no ticket. The passenger claimed she was a schoolgirl entitled to half fare though the collector thought she looked somewhat older. She had a big brown holdall on her knees. In the end, her rudeness so annoyed the official that he grabbed the holdall as the train was going over the Forth Bridge and threatened to throw it out the window. “That’s typical!” shouted the passenger, “First you refuse to believe I’m still at school and now you threaten to throw my little boy into the sea!”
The only plumber in Glasgow to charge reasonable fees died and was sent to Hell by mistake. Eventually, the mistake was noticed in heaven and St Peter got on the telephone hot line to hell.“Have you got an honest plumber there?” he asked Satan.“Yes.”“He’s ours. Can you send him up?”“You can’t have him.”“Why not?”“Because he’s the only one who really understands air conditioning. It’s really cool down here now, man.”“Send him up,” shouted St Peter, “or we’ll sue.”“You’ll sue?” laughed the voice at the other end, “and where will you get hold of a lawyer?”
As a Christmas present one year, the laird presented his gamekeeper, MacPhail, with a deerstalker hat with earflaps. MacPhail was most appreciative of this gift and always wore it with the flaps tied under his chin to keep his ears warm in the winter winds. Then one cold windy and wintry day, the laird noticed he wasn’t wearing the hat.“Where’s the hat?” he asked.“I’ve given up wearing it since the accident.” came the reply.“Accident? I didn’t know you’d had an accident.”“Aye, terrible it was. A man offered me a nip of whisky and I never heard him!”
A woman with a baby in her arms got on a Fife Scottish bus in Dunfermline. As she put her money into the cash machine, the driver looked disdainfully at the child and remarked, “That’s the ugliest baby I’ve ever seen!” The woman was so astonished by his comment that she failed to react and quietly made her way to a seat and sat down beside a man, “That driver is the rudest man I’ve ever met.” she said to him, “I’ve a good mind to go and get his name so I can complain.” “On you go then, hen,” replied the man, “I’ll hold your monkey for you while you do it!”
The new receptionist at a Highland hotel was very surprised when the young man in Room 8 came down late at night and gave her an extra big smile. He then came around the desk and put his arm around her waist.“Excuse me!” she said, “How dare you?”“It’s in the Bible,” said the young man then he kissed her.“That’s enough,” she protested and struggled free, “What do you mean, it’s in the Bible?”The young man held up his copy of the Gideon’s Bible and opened it at the flyleaf where somebody had written, “The receptionist is a pushover.”
Enjoying a round of golf with a distant aquaintance, I saw him sink a twenty-foot putt on the first green with a grunt of satisfaction. His little dog, which had come with us, promptly stood up on its back and uttered a shrill ‘Yip Yip’ while clapping its fore paws together as if applauding. “That’s amazing,” I said, “What does he do if you miss?" He turns somersaults,” replied my friend. “Oh Really. How many?” "Depends on how hard I kick him!”
Patient: "Doctor, Doctor, I think I'm addicted to Twitter"
Doctor: "I'm sorry, I don't follow you!"
On the roof above Glasgow’s Central station, an older pigeon was training one of its offspring, “Noo, d’ye ken whit yer supposed tae dae?” said the elder pigeon. “Aye, Dad.” said the junior. “Off ye go then and try oot yer style then.” The younger pigeon flew off the roof and swooped down on a man wearing a bowler hat. For nearly a minute, he tried to cling to the hat despite the man’s efforts to prevent the pigeon’s efforts. Eventually the young pigeon flew back up beside his father.“How wiz zat?” he asked. “Terrible! Just Terrible!” replied the parent shaking his head, “Seems ye didnae listen tae a single word ah said. Watch me!” The parent then flew expertly down to where a woman was stepping out of a taxi. A few seconds later, he returned to the roof having completed his mission, “D’ye see noo?” he said to his son, “Och noo I see!” said the son, “Ah thocht ye wiz saying ‘sit on their heads.’”
Tamas and Tillie had been married for twelve years and had spent a lot of this time arguing and losing their tempers with Tillie retiring upstairs while Tamas went to the pub. One day, prompted by a friend, Tamas went to see the local marriage guidance councillor. “I’ll need to see you both together,” he was advised, “but remember that a woman likes to feel loved and appreciated. Why not try telling her that you love her and you’ll feel better too.” Tamas thought about this and decided it was worth a try so when he finished work, he came straight home fully resolved to try this out. “How’s your day been, Tillie?” he asked benevolently. “Don’t ask,” she replied tersely, “There’s been a power cut, the kids have broken my best bowl, the cats been sick on the bed……..” He put his arm around her, “Never mind, Tillie, your Tamas loves you!” She pushed him away violently, “And to cap it all, you come home stupid drunk!”
Hector and Hamish went into their local pub in great good humour and ordered two large whiskies. “Are you lads celebrating something?” enquired the barman.“We certainly are,” said Hector, “We’ve just finished a jigsaw puzzle in record time. A hundred pieces it had, and it only took us six months.” “Six months?” said the barman, “but that’s quite a long while.” “Not at all.” said Hamish, “It said on the box, three to five years.”
A visitor to Edinburgh had lunch in a restaurant and left three pence on the table as a tip. As he left, he heard the waitress murmur something. He swung round, “What did you say?” She replied, “I was just saying that you can tell a lot about a man by the tip he leaves.” “Oh yes? And what can you tell about me?” he asked. “I can tell three things straight off!” replied the waitress.“ "Tell me then” demanded the visitor. “Well, you’re thrifty.” “That’s true enough.” said the man, pleased. “And you’re a bachelor.” “Yes, that’s true, and what’s the third?” said the man smiling. “Your father was one too!”
Dr Watson had a patient who was both self important and boring. One day, whilst a minor complaint was being dealt with, the patient said, “I’ve been invited to speak to the Rotary Club next week. The question is, what should I tell them?” “Tell them you’ve got flu!” suggested Dr Watson.
A Lewis man, planning a visit to Glasgow, telephoned the airline information desk at Glasgow airport and asked how long the flight from Stornoway took, “Just a second, sir,” said the lady at the other end, “Thanks very much.” he replied and hung up.
After discovering they had won £15,000,000 on the National Lottery, Mr and Mrs McBride sat down to discuss their future. “After twenty years of washing other people’s stairs,” said Mrs McBride, “I can throw my old scrubbing brush away at last.” “Of course you can, hen,” replied Mr McBride kindly, “we can easily afford to get you a new one now!”
After an open-air service, the preacher passed his hat around the scanty collection of people who had stood listening to him. It came back completely empty. The preacher raised his eyebrows, surveyed the gathering then looked skyward. “I thank thee, O Lord,” he declared loudly, “for the safe return of my hat!”
At the Blair Atholl Highland Games, an eighty-one year old man stepped forward to toss the caber. “Don’t you think you’re a bit old for this?” asked the worried steward. “Not at all!” replied the old man, “My father was planning to come too but he had to go to my grandfathers wedding.” “Oh, how old is your grandfather?” asked the steward. “Och, he’s one hundred and twenty-four.” “Fancy a man of that age wanting to get married,” said the steward. “Och no – he didnae want to get married,” replied the old man, “He had to!”
A wind turbine technician was sent on a month long contract to study the weather patterns at Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. On the day he arrived, it was overcast, grey and raining. Next morning the weather was the same and so it was the next day and the day after that. After several weeks of this constant weather pattern, he asked a young boy whether the weather ever changed around these parts. “I don’t know,” replied the little boy, “I’m only six years old.”
A boy aged about 10 strolled into a Glasgow bar, “I’ll have a nip and a chaser”, he said to the barmaid. “You’ll get me into trouble.” she replied kindly. “We’ll get onto that later.” said the boy, “First the drinks.”
When God created Scotland, he looked down at his handiwork with great satisfaction and called the Archangel Gabriel to take a look. “Just see,” said God, “this is the finest yet – splendid mountains, beautiful scenery, brave men, fine women, nice cool weather. And I’ve given them beautiful music and a special drink called whisky. Try some.” Gabriel took an appreciative sip while looking down at the creation. “Excellent,” said Gabriel, “but haven’t you been a little too kind to them. Should there not be some drawback in order to restore a natural balance?” God nodded in agreement, “Just wait until you see the neighbours they’re getting!”
Jock had been fishing on the River Dee but had caught nothing. On his way home, he called in at the fish shop. “Just throw me a small salmon,” he said to the fishmonger. “Why throw it?” asked the fishmonger. “Well, that way I can say to my wife that I caught it,” said Jock. “Wouldn’t you rather have a sea trout?” asked the fishmonger. “Why would I?” asked Jock. “Because when your wife was in earlier, she said that’s what she’d prefer you to catch when you came in.”
A man from Aberdeen came across a perfectly good crutch lying by the side of the road. He picked it up, hurried home with it and broke his wife’s leg.
One of the Edinburgh scientists who cloned a sheep decided to secretly clone himself. The experiment was successful and although the clone was an exact duplicate in almost every way, it would only speak in the most obscene and depraved language. People soon mistook the clone for the real thing and he was asked to resign from the local golf club and the scientists ‘lunch club’. The University fired him from his job and his neighbours complained about him to the city council. In despair, he lured his creation to the top of Ben Nevis near Fort William and pushed him off a cliff where the clone fell to its death. Unfortunately, he was seen doing this dastardly deed and the police came for him. In vain, he protested it was his own creation he had disposed of but the police would hear none of it. “No sir,” said the policeman, “it’s a very serious offence. We’re arresting you for making an obscene clone fall”
Angus MacIntyre was a fisherman who was drowned at sea during a most horrendous storm. At his funeral, his relatives laid a red and white emergency float ring on his coffin in place of a more traditional wreath. "It's what he would have wanted," said the greiving widow.
A Polish refugeee and former pilot of World War Two was describing his experiences during the aerial Battle of Britain to a Scottish Television program maker during a live interview, "The Fokkers came from the left; the Fokkers came from the right; they were everywhere!" The reporter turned to the camera lens calmly and attempted to retrieve the situation, "I should explain to our audience that Fokkers was type of German made military aircraft commonly employed by the Luftwaffe during World War Two!" "No, No, No," injected his interviewee quickly, "These Fokkers were Messerschmitts!"
Pensioner Angus Meagle heard a knock at the door and answered it. A young boy stood there with a yellow collecting tin in his hand and said, "I'm collecting for the local swimming pool project." In response, Angus retired to kitchen, filled a large glass of water then threw it over the unsuspecting boy and saying, "That's all I can afford on a state pension! I hope it helps!"
A Scotsman and an Englishman were in the jungle one day when suddenly a lion appeared in the distance. The Scotsman immediately began to pull off his heavy boots and put on a set of trainers. “What’s the use of that?” said the Englishman, “You’ll never outrun a lion.” “You’re right,” replied the wily Scot, “but I’ll outrun you!”
Credits: Woodpile Graphic by Stirling Gallery Publications, 15, Claremont Park, Edinburgh, EG6 7PJ: Tel 0131 554 9561.