84 Comments

  1. Imagine my surprise at reading this, as I had just finished writing a letter of thanks to a donor to my Rescue group by the name of . . . Kowalski. Which is also the name of a friend who passed away some time ago (but not decapitated).

    Sill funny, tho!

  2. This joke is funnier with the name “Kowalski” than it would be with the name “Smith,” “Jones,” or “Henderson.” Why? Is it because “Kowalski” has two ks in it?

  3. “Is it because “Kowalski” has two ks in it?”

    KKK has two ks in it, plus a spare, and isn’t funny at all. Pretty much ever.

  4. I love this joke quite a lot, thanks Uncle Irv. I repurposed it once for a sketchpad comic using a specific person with a very square head that me and my father know. He loved it (my dad, not the person whose head was being caricatured).

  5. I was out in the woods away from all things electronic the past week. I would have commented….With a last name of Kowalkowski, I have been called this quite a bit in my life! Funny thing is, I’m told by my mom and others more knowledgeable of Polish name translation, Kowalski is Smith so swazoo’s comment is relevant. My last name is more specialized as Blacksmith.

    I do wonder when this joke was originally inked. If it was during the dumb polish joke craze of the 60’s and 70’s, it would make sense as an anti-polish joke where the punch line shows someone other than the “dumb Polock” is actually the dumb one. But in this case, Kowalski is still dead!

    On a side note, I’m pleased that Polock was just spell checked as I typed this.

  6. Good one, JP. Funny, I suddenly have an urge to go bake some fish sticks….

  7. Chak, this was my uncle’s favorite joke. When he passed away in 1999, I decided that every year on his birthday I would tell the joke to somebody who hadn’t heard it.

    Somehow it wasn’t until the second year that I realized that as long as I have a web site that grows every year, I could use that.

  8. “KKK has two ks in it, plus a spare, and isn’t funny at all. Pretty much ever.”

    They’re the butt of several jokes such as Pogo’s the “Kluck Klams” (…. although Lisa Simpson said “Yeah,… they weren’t that funny”).

  9. There was that awful Star Trek: The Next Generation episode where Data attempts to learn about humor by using the holodeck to conjure up Joe Piscopo as a Borscht Belt comic (thereby proving what everyone had suspected all along: the TNG writers knew nothing about humor). It was posited that words ending in K were inherently funny. Brent Spiner (a very, very funny man) used that to corpse Piscopo (a very not funny man) in the scene, so maybe there’s something to it.

  10. “It was posited that words ending in K were inherently funny”

    Is that why the comic strip character Cathy used to say “ACK !” all the time. Were we supposed to automatically laugh then? Gee, now I feel sort of guilty that I almost never did so.

    Are such words still funny if they’re the last word in a phrase like “toxic shock” or “broken back” or “fatal attack” ?

  11. Another Happy Birthday to Uncle Irving!

    And this shows that we have been on wordpress over a year now – hard to believe it is that long.

  12. Happy birthday, Uncle Irv. Thanks, all, for helping me understand why bookkeeping is humorous but knickknacks are twice as funny.

  13. I experienced weird clock-and-calendar confusion from this being bumped as a post but retaining old comments. Imagining the comments to be new, I was struck by goodwill at seeing some lately-missing names (even when I may not always have gotten along with them on the best terms), posters I think of as veterans asking intro-level questions, and a remark from myself where I now have absolutely no idea what I was thinking of.

    I would agree with John K that it is not just the letter K that enters into the humor but some element of it being an ethnic name. But I don’t see it as one of the byegone era’s ugly-intentioned Polish jokes per se.

    I don’t recognize that movie! And yet, I do recognize Richard Benjamin! (The younger guy.) And yet, I do not recognize Walter Matthau! (The taller guy.)

  14. ‘Bookkeeper’ nicely has that series of three doubled letters.
    A stupid or clumsy person in that profession would be a ‘boobbookkeeper’.
    Their assistant would be the ‘subboobbookkeeper’.

  15. Mitch, all comments prior to January 2018 (Comicgeddon) are lot, of course, but everything newer remains. Same as the Arlo and Janis Veteran’s Day discussion.

  16. @ Mitch4 – I assumed that your “snapshot” comment had a typo, so that it meant to refer to the “iKodak”, Apple’s ill-fated joint venture into analog photography.

  17. P.S. Similarly, Bill’s “Comicgeddon“ typo seems to indicate that those old comments have turned into pillars of salt.

  18. Kilby, I appreciate your attempts to make sense, but my comment, even though two years ago, might as well have been twenty for how much I remember of what I could have meant.

  19. Bill – A fine reminder for your uncle Irving. With appreciation – Happy Birthday Uncle Irv!

  20. CIDU Bill, to help with your quest to spread the joke, this year I told it to Mrs. SingaporeBill. She did have to ask me what a Kowalski was, but then she laughed.

  21. The composer Tchaikovsky was quite neurotic, and when he began conducting professionally he developed this irrational fear that his head would fall off as he conducted, which of course would be very embarrassing. So he would use his left hand to hold up his head while he conducted with his right. So if you find a head in the woods near a bunch of animals playing instruments, maybe it’s Tchaikovsky’s head.

    (That’s true about Tchaikovsky’s neurosis, not a joke.)

  22. It really has been a short year stuck in – seems much too early for Happy Birthday Uncle Irv day – but it is, so Happy Birthday Uncle Irv.

  23. Did Bill already have this cued up, or did you remember? Either way, nice job.

    Happy Birthday, Uncle Irv.

  24. I feel stupid* here. I’ve heard this joke before and never seen why it was funny, other than the very, very, very small “ha ha, headless = shorter”. Am I missing something else? Am I the only one?

    *er than usual

  25. Phil, it’s not “headless = shorter”; it’s “body-less = shorter”. Kowalski used to be at least 5 feet tall (for example). Now he’s at most only one foot.

  26. Phil Smith III, the joke is that his “height” depends on how high the guy is holding the head. If he held it higher, it could be Kowalski.

  27. I see it more as MikeD sees it than swazoo does but it’s still funny.

    I just think it’s funny in that the exchange “Is that Kowalski?” “No, Kowalski is taller” sounds like such a normal thing to say and a sensible way to identitfy someone, but so obviously does not apply to a severed head. And to dismiss a loss of over 80% of one’s height so offhandedly is just an absurd understatement.

  28. Ah, if it’s what swzaoo and Mitch4 say, then I kinda get it. Might be better visual: “No, he was shorter” “Like this?” “Yeah, that’s him!”

    (Kinda like when you’re presenting to a crowd, attach the lavaliere mic, go “How’s this?” and someone says “Higher!” so you squeak “Better?” in a falsetto–doesn’t work so well written!)

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