Some people have a spirit animal, an animal that’s supposed to represent your skills or beliefs in some way.

Fozzie Bear and Miss Piggy

Courtesy of TriStar Pictures

My spirit animal is Fozzie Bear.  Yes, that furry comedian from “The Muppet Show,” the one with the pork pie hat and polka-dot bow tie.  “The one who tells the terrible jokes?” you say.  Yes, but you misspelled hilarious!

Wocka, wocka, wocka!

My kids were playing a video game, and a bad guy came on the screen.  “Is he Russian?”  Andy asked.  From the kitchen, I said, “I don’t know, but he sure is walking fast.”

I thought it was hilarious. 

This morning, I hugged my daughter, Blair, before she’d had her morning coffee and told her she was shrinking.  It took her a full thirty seconds to figure out I was wearing inch-high flip flops.  When she did, she laughed.  Which was why I had done it in the first place.  She had been kind of down last night.  I figure, if I can start a new day for her off with a dumb joke that actually cracks her up, I’m doing my job.

I love corny jokes.  For some reason, they’re known as “dad jokes,” but they’re also pure Mom.  They offend no one.  They make fun of no one.  They’re not dirty.  Anyone, of any age, can laugh – or, as is often the case with my audiences, groan – but almost always smile.  Corny jokes are great icebreakers.

Puns are the droppings of soaring wits.” – Victor Hugo

What do you call a fake noodle?  An impasta!

What does a nosey pepper do?  It gets jalapeno business!

I can’t believe I got fired from the calendar factory.  All I did was take a day off!

Why can’t you give Elsa a balloon?  Because she’ll just let it go!

I wish I had a drummer available at all times to provide that rim shot.  Sometimes, if I’m in the kitchen and planning ahead, I can tell a joke and thunk one of the pots hanging on the pot rack with a spoon.  Delightful!

What did the janitor say when he jumped out of the closet?  SUPPLIES!

In an age of often unbearable hipness, where girls from fifth grade up are mean, where nerdy or vulnerable kids get picked on, where adults are ruder than ever – flipping people off, shouting mean things at sporting events, making shameful, profane comments under the cloak of anonymity on websites, bullying people on social media; you can probably think of your own examples – it’s not such a bad thing to send a corny joke someone’s way.   They’re kind of a safe haven, gentle humor that means no offense and would give you a hug if it could. 

On “The Muppet Show,” there were two cranky old hecklers, Statler and Waldorf, who always trashed Fozzie’s jokes.  But secretly, they must have loved them, because they were always back the next week for more. 

What did the fish say when it swam into a wall?  Dam!

Every day, Josh gets a little note in his lunch box, as his brother and sister did before him, with a little joke or maybe an illustration if I can think of one.  He loves them so much, he saves them.  We have a drawer full of yellow stickies with one-liners on them. 

Did you hear about the man whose bakery burned down?  His business is toast! 

I’m reading a book about anti-gravity.  It’s impossible to put down! 

Need an ark?  I Noah guy!

I’ve got a million of ‘em!  Now, here’s my most risqué one:  What did one old boob say to the other?  “If we don’t get some support around here, people will think we’re nuts!”  I admit, I wouldn’t tell that to everybody, but the ladies in the choir at church thought it was pretty funny.   

Norman Cousins, the respected editor of the magazine, Saturday Review, is famous for laughing himself to health.  He was diagnosed with a crippling spinal condition, and no medicine helped him.  So one day, he checked himself out of the hospital, holed up in his apartment and spent a month reading comic books, watching funny movies and TV shows like “Candid Camera,” writing jokes and laughing up a storm.  A month later, he was cured.  “All I did was laugh myself to health,” he told his doctors, who were dumbfounded at the change in his condition.

I figure, there’s enough bad stuff out there in the world.  People are polarized over politics, stressed out by technology, worried about money and the state of the world in general.  They don’t need me to try to be profound and make deep or ironic statements (which is good, because I don’t have any).  So, in closing, let us pause to remember these meaningful words of Groucho Marx:

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend.  Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”

Wocka, wocka, wocka!

For more fun, here is a brief history of puns from the New York Post.