Thursday, January 01, 2009

Why did the echolalia cross the road?

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.


Stimey said...

That's funny. None of my kids really have the humor thing down. But they also mine Zaboomafoo for comic gold:

Knock, Knock
Who's there?
Panther (or pantzer or something)
Panther who?
Pants or no pants, I'm going swimming.

Or something to that effect. My kids think it's hilarious.

Anonymous said...

ah yes, what is it about kids and comedy? We finally bought a book of kids jokes...only it hasn't improved his routine much. He still insists on improvising!!

Happy New Year, by the way...

mommy~dearest said...

I love mitigated scripting... it leaves me so clueless.

Anonymous said...

I don't know, I laughed out loud at the stink breath one... ;) He may have a bright future as a comedian!

Beth Allums said...

Oh my goodness! My guy does the same damn thing - he tells the same jokes over and over - insisted on telling a joke at Halloween to each of the houses he trick or treated - the same joke all night - and he makes up jokes that make absolutely no sense. I just love it! Check out our youtube videos for Joke time fun - I bet Bud would get a kick out of it! -

Ms. TK said...

Look. I found those jokes funny. Who's to say that he doesn't *get* comedy?

I find it far funnier to take the road less traveled anyway...

rock on, Bud!

Ange said...

Ha! My boys love the knock knock jokes. By that I mean one knock knock joke with a different punch line:

Knock, Knock
Who's there?
Orange who?
Orange you glad I didn't say {1st they pause and then they say an object that they see nearby...and then they fall on the ground laughing}

Club 166 said...


I love it. We've been "into" creating our own jokes around here, too, though I can't remember any off the top of my head. Some are really funny, while others...


Beth Allums said...

by the way... I found a "joke master" at Pottery Barn (a small box with 40 jokes - interesting side note they are made by Jackie "the joke man" Martling from the Howard Stern show but I digress) Santa left in my guys stocking - seemed like a great idea at the time..... it's hiding on top of the fridge now

SUS said...

Happy new year to MOM-NOS and lil' Shecky!

Anonymous said...

Has Bud seen Top Gun? Maverick (Tom Cruise) says "I crack myself up" when he and Goose are giving the "mig" the bird......

Happy, Happy New Year! ! ! !

Niksmom said...

(*Chuckles and shakes head in bewilderment*) All I can say is that I love that boy. Seriously. When it really clicks, you'll be rolling on the floor holding your sides!

Happy New Year. Really. I hope it's a very happy one. xo

Anonymous said...

Your son, the lounge lizard!

Seriously, humor doesn't come easily; good for him for learning the intrinsic value of making people giggle!

(Your) Anon

David said...

Thanks for sharing these MOM! Bud is brilliant and quite lucky to have you for his audience (having heard your enthusiastic laughter).

Humor is a wonderful gift. :)

Anonymous said...

Rachel does this too. She loves to be a jokester

Anonymous said...

Those are great! I'd love to study the development of humor/jokes because I swear that this is a typical stage in humor development, when kids make the leap from scripted "heard" jokes to novel ones. I've heard a lot of jokes that sound like those at my house and while they're funny to me in all their randomness, they do gradually move towards more traditional jokes. So fascinating. Keep us updated!

Daisy said...

I like the "ants and uncles" punchline! He's experimenting with language, and that will take him far.

Anonymous said...

My family tells endless tales of how when I was a child I told "stories" and "jokes" much to the disdain of all around me.
I'd like to think I am a little more clever now...but I think they are likely just humoring me in hopes that I'll just go away!

Jen said...

How entertaining! I wonder if Louie will tell jokes. First, we gotta get him talking!


Harvest Moon Farm said...

Y'know, my kids BOTH went through a phase of doing exactly the same thing -- both the one with Autism and the one without. In fact, the little non-A one still does it on occassion. His favorite still is:

him: knock knock
me: who's there?
him: who's there?
me: who's there who?
him: who's there who?
me: I don't get it.
him: rolling on the floor laughing

But anyway, the one with Autism finally figured out that his jokes should make some sense if he wants anyone other than me to laugh at them. And now he actually manages to come up with a good one every now and then.

Just waiting for the other to get on board the laugh train....

Anonymous said...

I spy with my little eye something beginning with Five...

The answer is always: FIRE TRUCK!!!


Anonymous said...

I giggled at the Aunts and Uncles one - too cute. We're working on knock knocks in our house - my five year-old says "knock knock" we say "who's there" and she laughs. Baby steps, right? :)

Joeymom said...

Sorry I haven't stopped by in a while... but holy cow, this post could have been taken from my house- complete with Zoboomafoo references and off-the-path jokes, with BOTH of my guys. Which, of course, made it SCREAMINGLY funny for me. Go, Bud!

Anonymous said...

My mother alternately loves and loathes this stage. She says all kids go through it, and she's probably right.

Both nieces (3 and 5) are in the middle of this stage RIGHT NOW. So we have gems like "Knock knock. Banana. Banana you glad I didn't say... uh... orange?" and, of course, Evangeline's attempts, which I documented here. (I couldn't bear to rewrite them, I'm afraid.)

I'm trying to turn them on to tongue twisters instead. They're not as funny, but at least I'm not expected to laugh.

Anonymous said...

this 'cracked me up'... my son is an 8 yr old aspie and aspiring comedian also.

got one for ya... hey mama...who is mississippis best friend?

punchline :) mr. sippi insert explosive laughter here....

i also read your blog about how Bud doesnt really care for babies...we have the very same son had to leave a school friends b-day party because there was a baby whom was "taking all the attention" away from the birthday boy and my son just couldnt stand the injustice :) gotta love 'em

i just let him be who he needs to be, help him along the way and love him and laugh with him as much as possible. thanks for writing this i enjoyed reading it.