So, if my title gave you anxiety that this post was going to be negative, let me just clear that up right away by assuring you that this post is, indeed, actually about bad jokes. Specifically the ones perpetuated by my hilariously unhilarious children.

But first!

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And THAT’S no joke!

Neither, it turns out, is this…even though it’s Evy’s (age 2 1/2) favorite in the whole wide world.

Evy: Knock knock

Me: Who’s there

Evy: Dragon

Me: Dragon who?

Evy: DRAGON!!!! (Cackles maniacally)



{So, the real questions is: is Evy crying because of her own horrible joke-telling or because Nola’s letting something even stinkier than her Knock Knock Jokes fly?}

Seriously, people. She would keep at this winner, using the exact same wording and tone of voice, until the breath left her body if I didn’t eventually crack and hide in the bathroom after the 42nd repetition.

But she’s not the only Knock Knock Joke Offender.

About a month ago, my kids and I were in the kitchen finishing breakfast when Simon (7 1/2) let this one slip:

S: Knock knock

Me: Who’s there?

S: Fire

Me: Fire who?

S: Fire that’s gonna burn your house down!



{Della says: “I may not be able to tell a joke, but I sure can smolder!” Heaven, help us. I’m not even sure where this is coming from, but it worries me}

After surveying the other kids, I discovered that not one of them had even an inkling of how to formulate a decent, or even coherent, Knock Knock Joke. Not even Ezra (9 in two days), who is (and this is not just motherly pride talking) really bright and perceptive. He gets allegory and metaphor, for crying out loud. But Knock Knock Jokes?


So, right then and there, we had a Knock Knock Joke boot camp. I did my best to explain the concept of “play on words.”

And mostly got a lot of this:

Evy and Nola:



Ezra: Uuuuuummm (as he wrinkled his forehead in obvious pain of concentration and attempted comprehension)

Theo: Goo goo ga ga (Pretty sure he nailed it. If only I spoke baby)


{I know, Theo. That’s exactly how I feel about their jokes too! #justsmileandnod}

My abstract methodology was a total bust, so we got down and dirty with actual examples and then tried making up some of our own…like this one:

Knock knock

Who’s there?


Theo who?

Theo gray mare, she ain’t what she used to be.

Slaps knee.


Knock knock

Who’s there?


Buddha, who?

Buddha my bread for me, would you?


ANYhoo, after about 20 minutes of painfully bad Knock Knock Jokes interspersed with 2 or 3 sort-of-kind-of correct ones…

Ezra more or less got it. Yes, just Ezra. Well, and Theo, obviously.

Seriously, I’ve always assumed that Knock Knock Jokes were way down there at the bottom of the joke pile. But no. Apparently they’re more intricate, nuanced, and sophisticated that I could have even imagined.

So, now I have to know. Are your kids bad at Knock Knock Jokes too? Obviously, mine are…although I have to admit that Evy tells her “joke” with such enthusiasm and personality that I genuinely crack up every single time.

Care to share your foolproof Knock Knock Jokes? I’m determined to get these kids of mine to understand the concept eventually, and I need lots of examples! My made-up ones are pretty bad.

At what age do you feel like your kids finally start actually “getting” the concept of humor? Ezra likes to say, “You’re being sarcastic!” and feeling super proud of himself for noticing if I say something like: “Now, that’s a greeeeeat idea,” when they climb up on a tall object to jump off or something (I know. Nominate me for Mom of the Year). But, even though he can be clever, his humor is still very literal. Which is kind of completely not the point.


  1. My daughters (5&3) love to say..
    Knock knock
    Whos there?
    Table (or insert any other random object)
    Table who?
    Table on my heeeeaaaad!

    And then they both laugh like minions and tell the same joke about 50 times using different objects. lol kids are so weird and fun.

  2. My mom’s favourite knock knock joke when I was growing up was:
    Knock knock
    Who’s there
    Boo who?
    Don’t cry, it’s just a joke!

  3. This is a running joke amongst my family ever since my brother used to make up these ridiculous, no punch line whatsoever jokes! He’s now 17 and I still lol over the 4 yr old jokes he made up! But seriously, you should at least teach them the interrupting cow….I’m sure that will lead to a whole host of hilarious(at least to them)spinoffs…or not

    1. YES!!! My favorite! We were just cackling our guts out over this last night. : D

      My niece used this one on my kids:
      Knock, knock
      Who’s there?
      Ahch who?
      Bless you!

      P.S. Kids DO NOT understand knock-knock jokes. Knock-knocks are puns, and puns are actually quite involved. See? A sign of deep intelligence! Good parents provide their children with a good kids joke book to properly educate them. Bad parents neglect this, and find themselves screaming “IF I HEAR ONE MORE ‘KNOCK-KNOCK’ TODAY, I’LL _______.” : )

  4. Some of my favorites…
    Knock knock
    Who’s there?
    Olive who?
    Olive you!

    Knock knock
    Who’s there?
    Cargo who?
    Car go beep beep!

    Knock knock
    Who’s there?
    Interrupting cow
    (you interrupt them as they say, “interrupting cow who?”)


  5. Kiddos I nannied for loved
    Knock knock
    Whose there
    (Enter silence because nobodies home) ha.

    I use to follow my poor family around with a Jokelopedia…looks like it is still selling on Amazon. Haha.

  6. Knock, knock
    Who’s there?
    Broken pencil
    Broken pencil who?
    Don’t worry, it’s pointless.

    Knock, knock
    Who’s there
    Abbie who?
    Abbie birthday!

  7. I was Nodding my head in agreement and saying Amen, sista! My kids cannot tell a knock-knock joke to save their life!! We’ve had to put a ban on them during car rides because they get so painfully ridiculous I just can’t fake laugh anymore!! A joke book from the library definitely helped ;). I’m terrible at jokes so they come by it naturally :). Hoping they get better and don’t humiliate themselves in a social situation someday!!! Haha!!

  8. When my kids were younger, my dad gave my son a joke book. Oh. Mylanta! Hours upon hours of jokes, but it got worse. My son and his friends started to make up jokes….we finally had to institute a ban on made-up jokes. The ban was necessary to preserve my sanity!

  9. My son (5 and a bit) cannot tell a joke to save his life! usually he just states a fact and starts cackling.

    When my brother was young, his joke was “Once upon a time, a man went to the moon. He took a bite out of it and he glowed forever.” Cute the first time. Not so funny the other 9,999,999,999

    My favorite knock knock jokes are:

    Knock knock.
    Who’s there?
    Owl says
    Owls says who?
    That’s right! Owl says who.

    or the opposite

    Knock knock.
    Who’s there?
    sheep says
    Sheep says who?
    No silly! Sheep doesn’t say who, he says baa.

    Knock knock.
    who’s there?
    Banana who?
    Knock knock.
    Who’s there?
    Banana who?
    Knock knock
    Who’s there?
    Banana who?
    Knock knock
    Who’s there!?!?!
    Orange who?
    Orange ya glad I didn’t say banana again?

    Oh, and I taught my son this one the other day and now I regret it!
    Me: What are you eating under THERE? (as I look intently over his head)
    Him: (looks up) “under where?”
    Me: “Ewww, you’re eating underwear!? Yucky!”

I love hearing from you guys!