Bud's on a roll. He's been walking around the house for weeks saying, "Hey, Mom! I got a joke for ya!" As they've been in the past, most of his jokes are stolen from Zoboomafoo, so they tend to have an animal theme. For example,
Bud: Hey, Mom. How are a tree and an elephant alike?
Me: I don't know, Bud. How are a tree and an elephant alike?
Bud: They both have a TRUNK!
Insert peals of laughter here.
Bud: Hey, Mom. What did the lemur get when he cut himself on the mulberry branches?
Me: I don't know, Bud. What did the lemur get when he cut himself on the mulberry branches?
Bud: A Madaga-SCAR!
Insert more raucous laughter here.
Or, my favorite:
Bud: Hey, Mom, what did the frog say when she laid an egg?
Me: I don't know, Bud. What did the frog say when she laid an egg?
Laugh here till you snort.
You get the point.
Lately, though, Bud has not been satisfied with simply scripting his jokes; he's trying to make them his own. And, as Bud has learned, in most situations in which your echolalic script is not quite doing it for you, you can MITIGATE your echolalia by swapping out words to fit your new situation.
Sounds simple, right? Not so when you add in the element of comedy. Instead of inspiring a giggle, Bud's newly created jokes have a more surreal quality. I get the sense they may be the kinds of jokes that David Lynch told as a child.
Like this one (that I still can't trace back to the original):
Bud: Hey, Mom. What do you get a hippo... (purposeful pause)... and an ant?
Me: I don't know, Bud. What do you get a hippo and an ant?
Bud: Ants. And maybe uncles.
Or this version of "What do you get with a bird, a car, and a dog? A flying carpet!":
Bud: Hey, Mom. What do you get with a lamp... a chair... and a Mom?
Me: I don't know, Bud. What do you get with a lamp, a chair, and a Mom?
Bud: A... light seat mother!
Or this mitigated form of the old "fish travel in schools" joke:
Bud: Why are skunks so smart?
Me: I don't know, Bud. Why are skunks so smart?
Bud: Because they travel around in... STINK BREATH!
See what I mean? Creative, certainly... but not so heavy on the humor. Bud's working on his routines, though, and he's trying to hit upon just what it is that makes a joke funny. Tonight he was delighted to discover all on his own that there was a hint of comic genius to build upon if he started out by renaming his favorite purple friend "Stinky Winky." It will be interesting to see where that one leads.
In the meantime, he's keeping me laughing and, truly, he is his own best audience. As he says multiple times a day, clearly scripting from I source I've not yet identified: "I crack myself up."
And also, a note to self: I really must find some time to explain to Bud that the stink does not come from the breath end of the skunk.