Formulaic humour

A friend recently sent me the following joke:

A man went to the zoo. All they had to exhibit was a dog. It was a shih tzu.


This evening I wondered how many other jokes there were using the pattern “adjective + noun sounds like noun“. So I downloaded the CMU pronouncing dictionary, WordNet and cracked out a bit of Perl.

Here are the jokes my computer came up with (with a little help):

Did you hear about the potato that has started presenting football matches?! That’s no common tater.

A reformed conman now has a job installing kitchens. He’s an expert counter fitter.

I once knew an IT-professional who used the subjunctive. That’s some pro grammar.

Did you hear about the salad that wouldn’t stop screaming? Now it contains hoarse radish.

An exhibitionist has recently got into songwriting. Be prepared for some new ditty.

I found a niche, but sadly out of date, vegetable in the fridge. Off beet.

An man from Oceania saved the world with his urine. It was a key wee.

I was once attacked by a blind, snake-like, fish. (That’s not an eyed eel situation.)

An Asian man ran into a bank, started ranting, and then escaped with cash. It was quite some Thai raid.

The man in charge of illuminating the sea was really bad at his job. He got a dim ocean.

I like to play chess. But I try not to involve my czech mate.

Did you see the bird that stole a snack from the beach? I think it was a bay gull.

The harbour has been torn down and replaced with an Italian restaurant. At least there’s no quay.

Do you know the pirate whose son is rude to everyone? He’s a bit of a coarse heir.

Surprisingly, when art collectors die they see more Titians.

So it turns out the original is the only vaguely funny joke with this formula. But I still found it a faintly interesting exercise. Here’s the full ouput from the script (a number only work with an American accent):

whole ding              holding
high fun                hyphen
high ding               hiding
over lode               overload
sick sur                sixer
bay cur         baker
minute mann             minuteman
white inning            whitening
west word               westward
bay leigh               bailey
whole sailor            wholesaler
ex caliber              excalibur
fore sum                foursome
grey zing               grazing
up easement             appeasement
bay dah         beda
tan zee         tansy
canned ela              candela
two sum         twosome
meet ball               meatball
hoarse play             horseplay
elect rick              electric
sikh won                sequin
vi null         vinyl
out ley         outlay
pro grammar             programmer
calm stock              comstock
brute us                brutus
dear ailment            derailment
slow polk               slowpoke
pale eocene             paleocene
mass cur                masker
go leigh                goalie
dear skin               deerskin
white haul              whitehall
ex re           x-ray
true purr               trooper
lay sur         lacer
sent wrist              centrist
manned amos             mandamus
hoarse tale             horsetail
vi qing         viking
mad mann                madman
well fare               welfare
game calk               gamecock
pink us         pincus
two two         tutu
coarse heir             corsair
all bunny               albany
down beet               downbeat
some ali                somali
sign eye                sinai
lee word                leeward
thai kuhn               tycoon
north word              northward
lay burr                labor
fab urge                faberge
yugoslav eon            yugoslavian
earthen wear            earthenware
dutch us                duchess
bass cut                basket
lite house              lighthouse
no wear         nowhere
after affect            aftereffect
nee dea         needy
calm bat                combat
lee dough               lido
ill aberration          elaboration
rush dea                rushdie
beat nyx                beatniks
fore ae         foray
thai sun                tyson
low ding                loading
smug ling               smuggling
gu gull         google
sore ting               sorting
back sa         backsaw
puff inn                puffin
arch whey               archway
pro bait                probate
ex torsion              extortion
hoarse power            horsepower
manned ela              mandela
sick loan               cyclone
sign us         sinus
czech point             checkpoint
damn nation             damnation
thai ping               typing
pass time               pastime
lee ana         liana
fore teen               fourteen
pro phyle               profile
tan dea         tandy
curt si         curtsy
thai fuss               typhus
triple ae               aaa
bally who               ballyhoo
uncertain tee           uncertainty
fey cur         faker
silver wear             silverware
green whey              greenway
thai dea                tidy
dead locke              deadlock
raw money               romany
bush null               bushnell
bay luff                bailiff
hoarse back             horseback
bay qing                baking
proper tee              property
own us          onus
over shute              overshoot
east earner             easterner
fey ding                fading
calm rad                comrade
old stir                oldster
loose urn               lucerne
nett work               network
meet packing            meatpacking
express whey            expressway
wrong dewar             wrongdoer
wry myrrh               rhymer
must ashe               mustache
gay vara                guevara
hip ease                hippies
sovereign tee           sovereignty
manned rake             mandrake
handy kraft             handicraft
west urn                western
some esther             semester
fore tee                forty
burry tow               burrito
casual tee              casualty
mass tuff               mastiff
blooming tonne          bloomington
fair ill                farrell
jawed purr              jodhpur
sere ease               series
pet roll                petrol
up lund         upland
bitter route            bitterroot
fore square             foursquare
fore tuna               fortuna
normal si               normalcy
high lund               highland
lite ship               lightship
anti frieze             antifreeze
nee ling                kneeling
dumb purr               dumper
no belle                nobel
high coup               haiku
fore going              forgoing
new cum         newcomb
lively hood             livelihood
vi mar          weimar
bass it         basset
broad castor            broadcaster
bone us         bonus
french mann             frenchman
up eel          appeal
missed rus              mistress
chief tonne             chieftain
sec cyst                sexist
pass tell               pastel
past ell                pastel
key no          keno
more gun                morgen
sore bey                sorbet
hoar us         horus
counter mann            counterman
boss raw                basra
blue belle              bluebell
over ley                overlay
lee myrrh               lemur
stripped ease           striptease
green lund              greenland
far myrrh               farmer
lay dea         lady
fell dean               feldene
pass ill                passel
waste line              waistline
sane thomas             st_thomas
lay ocean               laotian
bay six         basics
distal eight            distillate
skim attic              schematic
bay gull                bagel
mass cut                mascot
go tee          goatee
more timur              mortimer
up draught              updraft
sent orr                centaur
sore tee                sortie
up roach                approach
norman dea              normandy
seven tease             seventies
raw burt                robert
six tease               sixties
ex poe          expo
lee ping                leaping
hard wear               hardware
overt aching            overtaking
ten us          tennis
sought ae               saute
sore us         sorus
hale storm              hailstorm
wed locke               wedlock
go fur          gopher
more tonne              morton
up laws         applause
paid ae         payday
nine tease              nineties
hind site               hindsight
seedy si                cdc
sere us         cirrus
six tee         sixty
blue byrd               bluebird
pro cane                procaine
likely hood             likelihood
ex porte                export
bay cyst                bassist
fore truss              fortress
low thing               loathing
large us                largess
safe tee                safety
eight ease              eighties
loyal tee               loyalty
out lory                outlawry
dumb belle              dumbbell
pro mow         promo
pale ode                payload
hoarse head             horsehead
due little              doolittle
mass qing               masking
fore tease              forties
middle tonne            middleton
common terry            commentary
mad rus         madras
go carte                go-cart
due berry               dewberry
hoar mon                hormone
missed rust             mistrust
gu rue          guru
grim us         grimace
manned eight            mandate
grey si         gracie
free whey               freeway
mined set               mindset
two nick                tunic
farming tonne           farmington
hoarse radish           horseradish
banned leader           bandleader
lay ding                lading
lee cur         leaker
shy locke               shylock
key whole               keyhole
cross beau              crossbow
high qing               hiking
novel tee               novelty
flint locke             flintlock
pass porte              passport
czech book              checkbook
first bourne            firstborn
male ae         melee
high jean               hygiene
down caste              downcast
lee cock                leacock
raw cur         rocker
northeast word          northeastward
million heir            millionaire
wrecked angle           rectangle
fey sur         facer
bum purr                bumper
plane tuff              plaintiff
over draught            overdraft
out cum         outcome
up earring              appearing
go ding         goading
high flyer              highflier
high dun                haydn
banned wagon            bandwagon
bay sus         basis
base us         basis
whole dover             holdover
wee cunning             weakening
nigh trait              nitrate
nigh agra               niagara
new tonne               newton
key ev          kiev
fore qing               forking
high doubt              hideout
high cur                hiker
sly sur         slicer
thai wan                taiwan
bored room              boardroom
black liszt             blacklist
two buhl                tubule
fab rick                fabric
sham pu         shampoo
evil dewar              evildoer
pussy kat               pussycat
handy mann              handyman
meet loaf               meatloaf
up wright               upright
mid heir                midair
black byrd              blackbird
mean wile               meanwhile
grand sun               grandson
merry anise             marianas
raw chester             rochester
key tone                ketone
mum alien               mammalian
well ding               welding
sere ia         syria
dry dun         dryden
calm beau               combo
eighty pee              atp
high dah                haida
ane us          anus
bored walk              boardwalk
wry no          rhino
common tater            commentator
big inning              beginning
raw low         rollo
fore mull               formal
sore surrey             sorcery
up ointment             appointment
high sun                hyson
mayoral tee             mayoralty
hoar nit                hornet
well tee                welty
star quay               starkey
legion heir             legionnaire
fore tay                forte
whole steen             holstein
out gogh                outgo
west earner             westerner
fore word               forward
long horne              longhorn
lite weight             lightweight
few ling                fueling
handy cap               handicap
nigh chert              nightshirt
mocking byrd            mockingbird
missed rial             mistrial
awed it         audit
big inn         begin
thai raid               tirade
sore buss               sorbus
lame ia         lamia
written house           rittenhouse
gold win                goldwyn
broad caste             broadcast
auld ermine             alderman
green piece             greenpeace
handy work              handiwork
high fur                heifer
pure ae         puree
crisp inn               crispin
coral eight             correlate
keen oat                keynote
fond yue                fondue
silver steen            silverstein
hoarse flesh            horseflesh
premiere ship           premiership
pure bread              purebred
whole fast              holdfast
raw burr                robber
sown are                sonar
curt us         curtis
raw stir                roster
fore myrrh              former
mini buss               minibus
missed aching           mistaking
just us         justice
banned width            bandwidth
more us         morris
sore bonn               sorbonne
ten dun         tendon
blue ming               blooming
entire tee              entirety
utter ni                attorney
fly whey                flyway
bourgeois zee           bourgeoisie
young cur               younker
nigh quay               nike
damn purr               damper
nett scape              netscape
banned anna             bandana
grey ting               grating
weak end                weekend
adverse eyrie           adversary
young stir              youngster
fore caste              forecast
shy stir                shyster
super starr             superstar
raw strum               rostrum
grey ding               grading
beat nick               beatnik
nigh city               nicety
fair ia         feria
raw ni          rani
more titian             mortician
eyed eel                ideal
frail tee               frailty
banned stand            bandstand
male box                mailbox
go bee          gobi
raw swell               roswell
wry zing                rising
away cunning            awakening
port rut                portrait
czech out               checkout
prime eyrie             primary
sick steen              sixteen
dim eyes                demise
wet stone               whetstone
no quay         gnocchi
pat urn         pattern
free bee                freebie
dread naught            dreadnought
sick allah              cicala
pro teen                protein
fair well               farewell
fourth rightness                forthrightness
whole stir              holster
side steppe             sidestep
grand add               grandad
sere eon                syrian
seven tee               seventy
key west                key_west
high jack               hijack
weak day                weekday
pallid inn              paladin
three sum               threesome
special tee             specialty
gold burg               goldberg
indoor sur              endorser
wry ting                writing
pro gram                programme
broke aide              brocade
expert ease             expertise
well cum                welcome
lite bulb               lightbulb
fore wording            forwarding
wild kat                wildcat
vi purr         viper
trusty ship             trusteeship
weather mann            weatherman
missed ache             mistake
marine lund             marineland
high mi         hymie
fine ding               finding
fore matte              format
new bourne              newborn
ex es           excess
candid eight            candidate
hale stone              hailstone
raw cut         rocket
eyed ia         idea
gu fee          goofy
counter fitter          counterfeiter
lee ding                leading
nee cap         kneecap
middle mann             middleman
port lund               portland
main ia         mania
lite motif              leitmotif
bass till               bastille
certain tee             certainty
dim eater               demeter
east word               eastward
tied water              tidewater
lee tow         leto
prime eight             primate
star byrd               starboard
due tee         duty
blue purr               blooper
over caste              overcast
more leigh              morley
red byrd                redbird
over cote               overcoat
back bawd               backboard
hoar ni         horney
mass kera               mascara
full tonne              fulton
given us                givenness
dull simmer             dulcimer
fore site               foresight
nine tee                ninety
brazen us               brazenness
wee lund                wieland
raw ting                rotting
few guard               fugard
sour kraut              sauerkraut
bay sting               basting
base ting               basting
due bye         dubai
male mann               mailman
over site               oversight
true foe                truffaut
raw mull                rommel
sore gum                sorghum
out caste               outcast
numb burr               number
honey due               honeydew
no vela         novella
coral eyrie             corollary
single tonne            singleton
down pore               downpour
high whey               highway
own ida         oneida
vi dah          wajda
bay route               beirut
whole doubt             holdout
blue myrrh              bloomer
out liar                outlier
strait edge             straightedge
ex ice          excise
key ping                keeping
camp eon                campion
hoarse shoe             horseshoe
calm petition           competition
ex aspiration           exasperation
ex checker              exchequer
thai myrrh              timer
shy en          cheyenne
czech mate              checkmate
high poe                hypo
lee dah         leda
south word              southward
disloyal tee            disloyalty
gay lick                gaelic
calm press              compress
stock pyle              stockpile
male ox         maalox
male strum              maelstrom
some olea               somalia
due dad         doodad
thai poe                typo
calm pact               compact
thai burr               tiber
lay sick                lasik
wee ling                wheeling
made ae         mayday
indie annapolis         indianapolis
hoar house              whorehouse
key wee         kiwi
strong mann             strongman
bay sick                basic
czech liszt             checklist
bay sun         basin
free mont               fremont
green burg              greenberg
bay ting                baiting
some owen               samoan
counter fit             counterfeit
on corps                encore
fore micah              formica
worst id                worsted
no ell          noel
wry leigh               riley
gold marque             goldmark
southwest urn           southwestern
calm post               compost
potent eight            potentate
under cote              undercoat
out cider               outsider
necked eye              necktie
black male              blackmail
elder leigh             elderly
elect road              electrode
fair whey               fairway
down draught            downdraft
thick it                thicket
lay ni          laney
wee klee                weekly
weak leigh              weekly
teased ale              teasdale
pop sickle              popsicle
white tale              whitetail
stone wear              stoneware
wry fling               rifling
rife ling               rifling
low us          loess
xi ting         sheeting
lee vi          levi
cut ell         cattell
low fur         loafer
gay ming                gaming
pat si          patsy
sikh rut                secret
dim arch                demarche
boss tonne              boston
on dante                andante
fore castor             forecaster
mid whey                midway
slow gun                slogan
musky tow               mosquito
stock tonne             stockton
over lapp               overlap
dumb ping               dumping
wee no          wino
new ditty               nudity
fey ling                failing
bare ia         beria
lee stir                leister
royal tee               royalty
some won                someone
low commotion           locomotion
real ae         relay
broad whey              broadway
here say                hearsay
bald won                baldwin
lee whey                leeway
sold add                soledad
thai ming               timing
off us          office
lee foe         lifo
eyed entity             identity
rank inn                rankin
gross beak              grosbeak
dead beet               deadbeat
new porte               newport
outspoken us            outspokenness
low gun         logan
proto caul              protocol
dim ocean               demotion
billion heir            billionaire
two loos                toulouse
sham pane               champagne
plane song              plainsong
lay tex         latex
late ex         latex
up razor                appraiser
key tonne               keaton
far gogh                fargo
two pei         toupee
prime us                primus
thai tonne              titan
out rigor               outrigger
kin zee         kinsey
low gogh                logo
sham plane              champlain
manned rill             mandrill
second eyrie            secondary
new bee         newbie
hoarse shoes            horseshoes
flat wear               flatware
wee cling               weakling
lay bun         laban
damn sun                damson
still well              stilwell
mock si         moxie
wry ding                riding
some wear               somewhere
indie anna              indiana
on trey         entree
free dun                friedan
lee quay                leakey
dry fuss                dreyfus
petty cote              petticoat
subtle tee              subtlety
shy low         shiloh
full crumb              fulcrum
cut are         qatar
calm pound              compound
thai pei                taipei
through whey            thruway
own eel         o'neill
new burg                newburgh
nee boor                niebuhr
calm position           composition
high phi                hi-fi
off beet                offbeat
lee no          lino
low cuss                locus
red cote                redcoat
off shute               offshoot
low wee         loewi
green male              greenmail
fore fit                forfeit
up dyke         updike
odd olea                adalia
big horne               bighorn
long beau               longbow
raw bun         robin
dull us         dulles
male bag                mailbag
low cull                local
bay bee         baby
thorough bread          thoroughbred
key purr                keeper
two myrrh               tumor
up beet         upbeat
raw claw                wroclaw
matte rus               mattress
tight us                titus

I don’t think computers will be kicking out the writers any time soon.

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