I love “near jokes.” These are jokes that don’t make sense, yet are close enough to making sense that your brain experiences a weird little sensation, simultaneously pleasant and uncomfortable. It’s like being tickled until you fart. For example, I saw this story about a fight breaking out at the Boston Pops.
Ben Folds was performing with the symphony when it happened. One of the men in the melee ended up without his shirt. It inspired me to concoct the following “near” joke:
Q. Why did the man take off his shirt at the Boston Pops?
A. Because he heard Ben Folds.
See? It a-a-a-almost makes sense, but not quite. That’s why it’s funny.
You’re thinking about rereading the joke now, aren’t you?