How to Be Funny in Spanish: 10 Knee-Slapping, Good-Humored Jokes
Being funny is one of the best ways to make new friends and it’s also a good recipe to be happy. Everyone loves to be around a funny person who knows how to make them laugh.
Besides, learning the way humor works in a different language is a window into that culture. For that reason, learning jokes has always been an interesting way to develop your language skills.
Let’s sit back and learn about the importance of humor. Find out if there is such a thing as “Spanish humor,” and learn 10 jokes that are funny in Spanish. Plus, I’ll share the secret formula to any great joke.
What’s Humor, Anyway?
Everybody knows what humor is and can tell if a joke is funny or not. But it’s extremely hard to define humor or explain why something is funny. Even philosophers have had a hard time trying to explain what is this thing that makes people laugh.
According to the dictionary, humor is “a comic, absurd, or incongruous quality causing amusement.” Defining what’s comic might have its own set of difficulties, but we can understand what absurd and incongruous mean: something that doesn’t make any sense. And another important clue is that it’s a quality that causes amusement.
So, there you have it, we just did what philosophers couldn’t do for centuries, define humor. Something that doesn’t make any sense and causes amusement in people.
Why Humor Is Important?
First, because it’s a universal human quality. It doesn’t matter from what culture you come from, or what culture you might be visiting, they all laugh and laugh a lot. So, having a good sense of humor is a basic social skill that will help you make new friends, no matter where you go.
But humor is not only about having a laugh with friends, it’s also highly beneficial to cope with life. Multiple studies have shown that humor improves people’s lives, self-esteem, prevents depression, lowers stress levels, and it’s good for your overall health.
What’s Funny in Spanish?
This question is really hard to answer. Yes, Spanish humor exists; however, it doesn’t necessarily refer to humor in Spanish but to humor from Spain. Every country has its own set of inside jokes and cultural references, and Spanish-speaking countries are widely diverse.
That said, it’s undeniable that the community of Spanish-speaking countries (I’ve always wondered why there isn’t a word like “anglosphere” for the Spanish world) share common cultural elements. What people find funny in Spanish is one of them.
Spanish Humor Elements
If we understand for Spanish humor everything that might be funny in Spanish, and not only what might be funny in Spain, we find that humor in these countries is less intellectual and more of the slapstick kind. It relies less on sarcasm and more on physicality. It’s also more at hand, everything can be an excuse to have a laugh, and by everything I mean exactly that. Nothing is off-limits. Political correctness is way less developed than in English-speaking countries.
Also, in Latin American countries, double meaning jokes are everywhere. Sometimes, at the expense of well-intentioned foreigners. So, be careful!
10 Jokes That Are Funny in Spanish
Learning some jokes that are funny in Spanish will help you develop your Spanish-speaking skills, better understand the culture, and learn the many nuances of the language. Besides, as mentioned before, being funny in Spanish will help you make some new friends.
In Spanish, jokes are called chistes. However, the term “joke” can also be translated as broma, which is more like a prank. So, enjoy these 10 funny chistes with translations and explanations.
– Cariño, cuando hablas eres como una ciudad de Estados Unidos.
– ¿Los Ángeles?
– No, Kansas.
– Honey, when you talk you’re like an American city.
– Los Angeles?
– No, Kansas.
Kansas sounds exactly as cansas, which means tiring. Me cansas cuando hablas, means “you tire me when you talk.”
– Pepito, ¿qué planeta sigue después de Marte?
– Pepito, ¿which planet goes after Mars?
Tuesday in Spanish is martes, with an “s.” The planet, however, is just Marte without the “s.” Wednesday, on the other hand, is miércoles, also with an “s.” So, Pepito is being funny in Spanish by pretending that the teacher is talking about days of the week without an “s.”
3. The Untouchables
– ¿Qué le dijo un cable a otro cable?
– Somos los intocables.
– What did one cable say to another cable?
– We’re the untouchables.
This one keeps using the language as a source of humor, but it also relies on double meaning. To begin with, the words cable and intocable have the same ending, which make for a rhyming joke. Also, because cables carry electricity you shouldn’t touch them. Up until this point the joke is good but nothing else. However, once “The Untouchables” film (translated as Los Intocables) was released, the joke got an added layer of cultural reference and intertextuality.
4. Lazy Cows
– ¿Cuáles son las vacas más perezosas?
– ¡Las vacaciones!
– Which are the laziest cows?
This one is easy. Vacas mean cows. So, the laziest vacas are vaca-tions.
5. Lazy Fish
– ¿Qué hace el pez perezoso?
– What does the lazy fish do?
Another chiste that’s just a play on words. Nada means nothing, but also means “to swim”. As in, Carlos nada muy bien (Carlos swims very well). So, the fish is lazy because it doesn’t do anything, but it makes fun because as a fish is supposed to swim.
6. Sweet Revenge
– ¿Por qué los diabéticos no pueden vengarse?
– Porque la venganza es dulce.
– Why can’t diabetics take revenge?
– Because revenge is sweet.
While in English you say “revenge is a dish best served cold”, in Spanish revenge instead of cold is sweet. And we all know that sweets aren’t good for diabetics. This joke flirts with cruelty but is actually silly.
Un cura en la iglesia dice:
– Hoy confesaré a todas las devotas.
Se levanta una chica y pregunta:
– ¿Y a las que vinimos en sandalias, cuándo nos toca?
A Catholic priest in the church says:
– Today, I will hear confession from all the devotees.
One girl gets up and asks:
– And what about those of us who are wearing sandals?
This one is hard to explain. Devotas (devotees) sound exactly the same as de botas. Botas means “boots”, and saying de botas would mean that you are wearing boots. So, this poor girl thought that because she was wearing sandals, she wouldn’t be able to go to confession.
8. Math Notebook
– ¿Por qué está preocupado el cuaderno de matemáticas?
– Porque tiene muchos problemas.
– Why is the math notebook worried?
– Because it has many problems.
This joke is funny in Spanish and funny in English. So, no need for explanation.
9. Waiting for the Bus
Estaba una manzana esperando el autobús.
En eso, llega un limón y le pregunta:
– ¿Hace mucho tiempo que espera?
Y la manzana contesta:
– No soy pera, soy manzana.
There was an apple waiting for the bus.
Then, a lemon comes and asks her:
– Have you been waiting for a long time?
And the apple replies:
– I’m not a pear, I’m an apple.
Also a play on words, and it makes no sense when translated. The key is on the word espera, which means “to wait”. However, es pera means “it’s a pear”. So, the apple understood the question as ¿hace mucho tiempo que es pera? Or “have you been a pear for a long time?”.
10. Mexican Tacos
– ¿Por qué los mexicanos no pueden jugar billar?
– Porque se comen los tacos.
– Why can’t Mexicans play pool?
– Because they eat the cues.
In Spanish, the cues are called tacos, just like every Mexican favorite dish.
How To Write a Joke
Writing your own joke is easier than you think. There is even a formula for it! Every chiste is actually two different stories. One takes you in a direction, and the second one adjusts the story. Humor is that adjustment. What an easy way to describe it, right?
The first story is the set up, and the second one the punchline, also known as the twist. This last part is unexpected and that’s the reason we all laugh.
Then, the formula would be as follows:
X + Y = P
Where X is story 1, Y story 2, and because people are expecting Z, you actually give them P, the punchline. To be clear, P is implicit in Y. P happens when people realize the reason Y is funny in Spanish or in any other language.
Be Funny in Spanish!
Try writing your own chistes in Spanish following this formula. First, create a story that leads somewhere, and then come with a second story that delivers the funny twist. You’ll have fun while trying and you’ll be practicing Spanish without even noticing.
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