Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Bee Joke

Vintage White Owl Wood Cigar Box

Before we begin here is the bee joke.....

Morris and a woman are standing side by side waiting for a bus when they get to talking.

"Say," said the woman. "Do you have a hobby?"

"Naturally, a hobby I got , I'm a bee keeper."
"Well, you must live in the country then."
"Nope, right here in the Brooklyn."
"Really? You must have a large house then."
"Nope, apartment."
"Gee, where do you keep'm?"
"A shoe box in my closet."
"A shoe box!? How many bees do you have?"
"Couple thousand, something like that. So who counts ?"
"Well, you can't keep a couple thousand bees in a shoe box! They'll die!"
" So screw'em, I hate bees."

In my opinion things need to have order, be logical to make sense.

This is why I am so confused about the bee joke....

When I was a junior in high school, I had an English Teacher Bill Scutta.  Mr Scutta was probably one of my favorites.  He had a great love of the english language, particularly poetry, and at least to a small extent, he put that in me.  I still know a few ee cummings poems by heart because of how he showed me how to appreciate them.

But there was one thing he never explained and that was the bee joke.  ..

Now this might not have been a problem from some ordinary schlemiel, but this joke came from my favorite teacher.  He honestly thought this was some sort of very funny joke.

So I had to figure this joke out.

That was 30 years ago....

Thirty long years ago.......

Days spent staring at the ceiling,  hours driving on the road pondering its mystery.  I never got it.....

The internet provided little solace,  when I first discovered search engines one of my first searches was "bee joke",

No Dice.  I looked through a lot of bee jokes with no success.

The dawn of the internet also brough on another breakthrough, a chance a chance to communicate with Mr Scutta, I sent him a note and after preliminaries asked him to explain the Bee joke. 

He responded quickly and  said that I didnt need a pretense to look him up, he was fine and doing well and hoped I was doing the same.

I responded back with (basically) "Dude,  glad your not dead, but I really did want to know about the bee joke."

He replied (basically) "keep working on it."


and so I did (fruitlessly).

That was five years ago,  he is retired now and probably ambling off into senility at this point so I dont know if I ever will get a straight answer from him.

Today there was a break, the first big break in a long time.......

I typed in a search for Bee Joke and Cigar Box....

the clouds opened up,  angels started singing.....

There it was, the bee joke.  (this is the version you see above)

Under the title,  "The funniest joke I have ever heard".

Hubba Wha???

How can it be funny, it makes no sense???????

Suddenly I found it multiple places,  apparently it a favorite joke of:

Jerry Garcia
The Democratic Underground (Is this the vast left wing conspiracy we have all been wondering abouta)

Can anyone explain this joke to me.....

Particularly democrats and deadheads.

Cause I cant take it any more.

One rule, no googling,  if you find it funny tell me why.


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  2. Morris must hate himself if he maintains a hobby which he hates. Which should instead give him pleasure and peace.

    Absurdity is funny.


  3. Truth be told, finally finding this joke on the internet did help me finally "get" the joke. In the original telling I completely forgot the fact that this was Morris' hobby (or maybe it wasn't clear.

    In the original telling Morris just seemed sadistic in an off-hand way.

    Now I just want to hear Jerry Garcia say it. there used to be a video on you-tube, but apparently now deleted :(

  4. where did the video go! It was amazing! My cousin and I tell the joke in our best Jerry voices EVERY TIME WE SEE EACH OTHER! I should have downloaded it when I had a chance. Now its the day after JerryDay and I can't find the video anywhere :( i am sad

  5. Jerry's rendition of this joke is quite a bit different, much longer, and much funnier when he shoots it out. Funniest joke I ever heard. It was a lot to do with his delivery. Him seeming to be high as kite at the time also added to the humor.

    I saw this video literally one day before it got struck from you tube. I sent friends links to go see it and it was gone forever the next day.

    Here is paraphrase of how I can remember he told it:

    So there are two friends, Pete and Steve. They haven't seen each other in quite a while and they decide to meet at Steve's apartment to catch up. So, the next day, Pete comes over to Steve's apartment, they order a pizza and open some beers. As the eat they start to catch up. Steve asks Pete how he's been and Pete tells him all about the past 10 years of his life, how he's married, all about his job, his kids, pretty much everything. Once he's done, pete asks steve the same question. Steve begins by explaining how his job has been good, and that he's recently been married and had his first kid, but then says "but lately I've been looking into farming bee's."
    "Bees?" pete asks.
    "Yeah, man. Its so awesome. I'm gonna make my own honey, lip balm, perfume, there's so much stuff you can make from a bee farm. I'm gonna make my own family business. I'll be able to quit my job. I'm so excited, I just absolutely cannot wait to get going. I finally feel like things are coming together for me. I can't imaging things being better than this. I actually just got 10,000 bees sent in about a week ago."

    "Holy shit, 10,000 bees?" pete asks


    "Where the hell do you keep'em"

    "Follow me" steve says. They get up from the couch and head down a narrow hallway of Steves apartment. As they get further and further down the hallway, a heavy buzzing is becoming apparent. They stop in front of a closet and Steve opens it up. The buzzing is horrendously loud. Steve reaches up and lifts a couple stacked blankets off of the top of a cigar box and takes the box off of the shelf. The box is shaking so badly that Steve can barely hold it. BBBBUUUUZZZ BUBUUBUBUUZZZ.

    "Well, here they are." he says

    "Your Bee's are in there?" pete asks

    "Sure as shit"

    "10,000 bees in that cigar box?"


    "Well don't you think they're a little cramped in there?"


  6. Its not a joke you can tell at a bar and get people laughing. Its funny to me cuz Steve is so damned excited about these bees and you'd think he has his shit together and some organization with this farm he is so excited about, but he just has them in a box and doesn't give one shit about their well being. Yet, for some reason he is expecting it to all to change his life.

  7. Thanks Mick, I appreciate it. I first heard it from a High School teacher, who couldn't use "eff" em. Which sort of gives it just the right rip.

    This is one of those jokes that not everyone can tell. I would love to see the video of Jerry Garcia, He must be a pisser.

  8. Has anyone tried the Jerry Joke video on the wayback machine of archive . org? I can't find the link to the deleted page in my favorites... its worked for other deleted vids.... I gotta hear that joke again!

  9. I first saw this as a cartoon in, I believe it was, "High Times", back in the early 70's. The guy's eyes were swirling as he asked, incredulously, "you have 10,000 bees in a cigar box in your closet? Aren't you afraid you'll crush them?" and the answer was a casual "yeah, but f**k 'em!" I guess you had to "bee" there...;)

  10. I first saw this as a cartoon in, I believe it was, "High Times", back in the early 70's. The guy's eyes were swirling as he asked, incredulously, "you have 10,000 bees in a cigar box in your closet? Aren't you afraid you'll crush them?" and the answer was a casual "yeah, but f**k 'em!" I guess you had to "bee" there...;)

  11. Andy Kindler has a version: Mort and Sol meet. Sol: how are you? Mort: I been so depressed. Sol: you need a hobby like me, I collect bees! Mort Bees? Where do you l
    Kkep em? Sol I keep em in this can. Mort: you need to poke holes in the lid, otherwise the beesll die! Sol: What do I care? Itz only a HOBBY!