A singular comedic formula
Wed 28 Jan 2015 10:55 AM
The crypotnymous blogger at Slate Star Codex has posted a long list of a philosopher walks into a coffee shop jokes. It's a slight twist on the an X walks into a bar formula, for X = 'philosopher' and 'a bar' exchanged for a coffee shop. He includes a hoary Descartes joke which is usually told as Descartes walking into a bar, but he also includes lots of original material.
Several of the best form a series and rely on appearing in a long list of jokes which follow the same formula, and this excuses the lame jokes. What they lack in intrinsic hilarity they make up for in constituting part of the long list. His Sartre joke, however, is pretty weak.
Since Sartre's philosophy is indigenous to Parisian cafes, my thoughts developed along these lines:
Jean-Paul Sartre walks into a coffee shop and walks up to the counter. The barista asks him what we wants. Sartre was supposed to meet a friend but is running late, and so he ignores the barista. Looking around the cafe, he sees nothing. What a great philosophical example, he thinks to himself.
There is also a hoary Sartre joke which already fits the pattern, mentioned by one of the commenters:
Jean-Paul Sartre walks into a coffee shop, walks up to the counter, and asks for a coffee without cream. The barista replies "Alas, we are out of cream. Can I offer you a coffee without milk instead?”