DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE FRANKFURTER SALESMAN WHO GOT DRUNK AT A BASEBALL GAME? HE WENT ON A HOT DOG BENDER.
What’s so funny about this? The Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle is a great source of puns. The daily puzzles aren’t bad either, but Sundays seem to bring out the best (or the worst, depending on how you feel about puns) of the puzzle makers. I debated whether or not to do this one because it is so culturally loaded with concepts that only American native English speakers would know. And then, even if they get it, chances are that they won’t laugh because puns evoke groans rather than laughs. Nevertheless, I’m going to forge ahead because that’s what most of you are doing here, trying to understand the basis for American English jokes and puns. In the set-up I needed to paraphrase a “hot dog vendor.” These are the men and women you find at baseball games and other sporting events held in large stadiums (or stadia if you want the Latin plural) They walk up and down the aisles, yelling “Hey hot dogs, hot dogs here, get your hot dogs.” So a couple of synonyms for hot dogs are “frankfurter” and “wiener.” Both of these words reflect the Germanic origin of the “all-American” sausage. However “wiener” has too many other connotations these days, so I went with “frankfurter.” A “vendor” is a salesperson, usually of something small that they can hand you, like a hot dog or a beer. Moving on, these vendors are as human as the rest of us and like a drink or two, now and then. In the case of the joke, the vendor had a whole lot to drink and got roaring drunk. This kind of heavy drinking and getting drunk is known as “going on a bender”, which works very nicely as a pun for vendor. So a hot dog bender could even be someone who got drunk on too many hot dogs. Maybe they were laced with vodka? And THAT’s what’s so funny!
This joke was inspired by the Sunday, May 19, 2013 New York Times crossword puzzle by Jean O’Connor
Listen to the podcast: http://audioboo.fm/boos/1401972-beer-here