Wednesday, April 12, 2017


There are some people who have the knack of telling a funny story. 

They will build their story to perfection, adding layer upon layer, until they bring in the punch line with just the right tone and mood that leaves you in splits. And then you find yourself guffawing, unable to control yourself.

And then there are the others. Folks who couldn’t tell a joke if their lives depended on it.

These are the people who excel at killing a perfectly good joke and turning it into a Jayus, an Indonesian word that describes a joke that is so unfunny (or told so badly) that you just have to laugh.

You would think that a bad joke teller ought to be able to tell when he/she has just told a Jayus.

That the annoyed glances and the strained laughter ought to be a dead giveaway.

But it doesn’t work like that.

These Jayus tellers, for want of a better word, they excel at their craft. These people are where good jokes go to die, and where bad jokes are revived, zombified and served for public consumption.

The best joke can get badly mangled in their hands. The Jayus tellers will tell the joke in the wrong order, often squeezing the punch line between the beginning and the end.

Sometimes they will tell a clichéd Poor Joke, as if they had just made it up, and every other kindergarten aged child wasn’t already aware of it.

Have you ever been guilty of telling a Jayus? What do you do when self-styled humourists unleash their Jayus on you?


  1. I am not a good joke teller, but do not think I am guilty of this. OTOH, I have a friend who does this a lot and ends up shaking her head trying to explain.

  2. Hi Cynthia - I'm not sure I've been aware of being 'Jayused' - though I'm sure on occasions I've completely mangled and thus jayused a joke ... fun word and I can imagine some people would be really good at them ... cheers Hilary

    1. Thank you, Hilary. I think when it comes to jokes, most of us have been at both ends of a Jayus, givers and takers.

  3. I wouldn't rate myself as a good teller of jokes either but I try to recount "funny" stories and my family tell me I go on and on and that they're not that funny so maybe I am a Jayus and I just didn't realise it??? I know when someone is one to me I just try to smile politely and nod whilst they're getting through it and then inwardly sigh when it's all over!
    Special Teaching at Pempi’s Palace

    1. Don't be so hard on yourself, Senco. We all tell Jayus at some point or the other. Maybe it is the fault of the audience. Maybe they are just not receptive enough.

  4. That makes it worse, in my opinion. If you have to explain a joke, then you had better not have started telling it.
    Denise, I think it is interesting that you have two friends who match my words.

  5. Do puns count as Jayus?... I never thought they were funny. I know people who turn everything into a pun, and it gets awkward fast...

    The Multicolored Diary: WTF - Weird Things in Folktales

    1. I guess puns would count as Jayus, if the teller said it so badly, he/she lost their listeners.



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