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French Knock Knock Jokes Posted by on Mar 11, 2015 in Culture

Humor doesn’t always traduire (translate) well. What’s funny in one culture is often not that funny in another culture. Just imagine trying to explain why “to get to the other side” is une chute drôle (a funny punchline) to someone who’s never heard the famous chicken joke. En même temps, (at the same time) un anglophone probably won’t understand why asking someone “where is Brian?” is une blague (a joke) in France.

Photo by Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious on Flickr.

Photo by Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious on Flickr.

The easiest blagues françaises are les blagues Monsieur et Madame. They are the French equivalent of Knock Knock jokes, which means they are always very punny. After you’ve finished groaning, keep in mind that puns are incredibly useful for a language learner! They teach sound interactions and how native speakers intuit certain sound combinations. That also means you will have to read these jokes à haute voix (out loud) in order to really get them.

The typical setup for les blagues starts with giving M. et Mme (Mr. and Mrs.) a last name, followed by la question, “ils ont un fils/une fille. Comment s’appelle-t-il/elle ?” (They have a son/daughter. What is his/her name?) the answer being a play on words using the first and last names.

If you still don’t get it, don’t sweat it! Voilà the model for these jokes:

A: M. et Mme __________ ont un fils/une fille. Comment s’appelle-t-il/elle ?
B: _______.

Here are some examples you can use with tes amis français (your French friends):

A: M. et Mme Delors ont un fils. Comment s’appelle-t-il ?
B: Omer.

A: Mr. and Mrs. Delors have a son. What’s his name?
B: Omer.
Omer Delors — Oh merde alors

A: M. et Mme Pourfère-Lavécèle ont un fils. Comment s’appelle-t-il ?
B: Vladimir.

A: Mr. and Mrs. Pourfère-Lavécèle have a son. What’s his name?
B: Vladimir.
Vladimir Pourfère-Lavécèle — Voilà du Mir pour faire la vaisselle (Here’s some Mir* to wash the dishes)
*Mir is a common brand of dishwashing detergent in France.

A: M. et Mme Terrieur ont des jumeaux. L’un préfère rester dans sa chambre lire et écouter de la musique. L’autre aime le sport et l’aventure. Comment s’appellent-ils ?
B: Alain et Alex.

A: Mr. and Mrs. Terrieur have twins. One likes to stay in his room reading and listening to music. The other likes sports and adventure. What are their names?
B: Alain and Alex.
Alain Terrieur — À l’intérieur (indoors)
Alex Terrieur — À l’extérieur (outdoors)

I would like to remercier (thank) Tim Morley and Guillaume Armide for leurs blagues amusantes (their funny jokes)!

Do you have a favorite blague Monsieur et Madame? Let me know in the comments!

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About the Author: John Bauer

John Bauer is an enthusiast for all things language and travel. He currently lives in France where he's doing his Master's. John came to France four years ago knowing nothing about the language or the country, but through all the mistakes over the years, he's started figuring things out.


Comments:

  1. Marie-Claude ANDRE:

    Monsieur et Mme Teuzmanie ont un fils. Comment s’appelle t’il ?
    Gégéon : parce que Gédéon Teuzmanie (j’ai des honteuses manies)

    Monsieur et Madame Froid ont 7 enfants. Comment s’appellent-ils ?
    Yvan, Aude, Anne, Marc, Samson, Gilles et Ella (Ils vont au Danemark sans gilet et elle a froid..).

    Variante : Monsieur et Madame Froid ont sept enfants : Sylvie, Aude, Anne, Marc, Sanson, Giles et Laura.
    “S’il vit au Danemark, sans son gilet, l’aura froid.”

  2. Catherine:

    M et Mme Hatte ont un fils, il s’appelle comment ? – Tom
    Tom Hatte (tomate)

    M et Mme Haimar ont un fils, il s’appelle ? – Jean
    Jean Haimar (J’en ai marre)

    M et Mme Covert on un fils, il s’appelle ? – Harry
    Harry Covert (haricot vert)

  3. Emma:

    Monsieur et Madame I can fly ont trois fils…Comment s’appellent-ils?
    Abdel, Yves et Hakim.

    (‘I believe I can fly’ with a French accent!)…