Jokealong: HEAR NO EVIL…

February 15, 2013 § Leave a comment

Since people are continually stumbling onto The Oldest Jokes in the World in search of actual jokes, not just abstract theories about them, every other week we have a joke-along post. I’ll search through the site’s stats for a specific joke people have been searching for, comb the internet for the best existing examples, and try come up with one of my own. And then you all can add your own in the comments, so the next time someone comes searching, they won’t leave disappointed.

This week, we’re lifting our hands from our eyes in search of “Hear No Evil” Jokes.

Hear_speak_see_no_evil_Toshogu

In a post I wrote almost a year ago about our sense of humor as a sense, I included a photo of Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor from their classic 1989 comedy, See No Evil, Hear No Evil–and searches for “hear no evil jokes” have been pilling up ever since.

Unfortunately, the jokes themselves weren’t as plentiful, with this proving to be quite a difficult jokealong. It was pleasant enough at first, as I spent an hour poking around youtube clips of the movie, reliving all my favorite gags but failing to find any real reference to the three monkeys besides its jokey title. (Since the bits in the movie are so much funnier than the on-topic jokes I found, I’d be remiss if didn’t break the rules and include at least one.)

Once I got down to business, though, nine out of ten search results were the same list of “witty” one-liners (often tagged as witty one-liners for women or, strangely, work) that has been posted prolifically across the internet. The one line in question is: “Hear no evil, see no evil, date no evil.”

I hoped there was better stuff out there, but half of the result remaining on each page were for these very lame Hear No Evil Anti-Nagging Earplugs for Men.

Part of the trouble with my research was that I’ve never really understood what the heck this strange maxim really meant, and I guess I’m not the only one who’s confused: Wikipedia’s article on The Three Wise Monkeys says that Buddhists use it as reminder not to dwell on negative thoughts while most Westerners use it “to refer to a lack of moral responsibility on the part of people who refuse to acknowledge impropriety, looking the other way or feigning ignorance.” In organized crime, it is often used to invoke a code of silence. Or, consider this sign aimed at participants in the Manhattan Project.

Oak_Ridge_Wise_Monkeys

With that in mind, out of the few actual jokes I found, I decided to pick one that seemed to capture everything that is creepy, wrong, and irresponsible about these three self-involved monkeys. It’s from British Comedian Jimmy Carr; unfortunately, I couldn’t find a good clip online of him saying it, so if you’re not familiar with his dry delivery, check him out here to get his voice in your head. Anyways, the joke is short and simple: See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. Rohypnol(TM).

Inspired by the organized crime connections, I wrote this bootlegging vignette as my contribution:

Sam was desperate for a drink, hadn’t had a drop since the cops busted up the last speakeasy in town a month earlier. So when he heard about a new gin joint just down the block, he left work early to see if the rumors were true. Sure enough, the nondescript door on the south side of the alley led into a long, dark room that stank of sweet, sweet booze. There were no other patrons this early in the day, though, just three gangsters behind an empty bar. Despite their tough looks, Sam had trouble not laughing: one had his hands on his ears, the other had his hands over his eyes, and the third had his hands on his mouth.

“WELCOME TO THE “HEAR NO EVIL, SEE NO EVIL, SPEAK EASY,” the one with his hands over his ears yelled. “MY NAME IS HEAR-NO AND I’LL BE YOUR HOST.”

“Hi,” Sam started, “The na—”

“TO AVOID ANY LEGAL IMPLICATIONS,” Hear-No interrupted, “WE RUN THE BAR UNDER A VERY SPECIFIC PROTOCOL. I’M GOING TO EXPLAIN THE RULES, OUTLOUD, TO NO ONE IN PARTICULAR. FIRSTLY, LET IT BE KNOWN THAT SEE-NO, SPEAK-NO, AND MYSELF ARE ALL INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS AND ARE IN NO WAY AFFILIATED WITH EACH OTHER OR THIS SPEAKEASY. THAT SAID, ONCE I’VE FINISHED TALKING, IF YOU WANT A DRINK, YOU’LL PUT A C-NOTE IN SEE-NO’s POCKET, AT WHICH POINT SPEAK-NO WILL POUR YOU A DRINK.”

“Sounds great, fellas,” Sam answered, looking around the empty shelves behind them. “Just one question first: where do you keep all the booze?”

Hear-No grimaced and pointed at his ear before covering it again.

“Sorry. Of course.” Sam tapped his nose. “Say, See-No… Where do you guys keep all the booze.”

See-No kept his eyes covered with one hand while he felt in his breast pocket with the other. When he felt nothing, he scowled, “How’m I supposed to know where anything is, ya jerk?”

“Sorry. I trust you guys.” Afraid of losing his chance for a drink, Sam tried to smooth things over as he retrieved his billfold. “In fact, I appreciate how cautious you are being, so maybe you can stay open. Looks like you’ve got the perfect racket, anyways: plausible deniability for all three of you since one guy just deals with the patrons, one guy justs deals with the money, and,” he pointed to Speak-No and smiled, “you must take the interrogations whenever the cops show up.”

Speak-No sighed through his fingers and shook his head.

“Of course not. I was just joking,” Sam apologized again, but Speak-No kept shaking his head, holding tight to his mouth as his movements became more emphatic. Sam crammed a hundred dollar bill in See-No’s pocket, but when he looked to Speak-No, the silent giant continued to jerk his neck from shoulder to shoulder. When he looked back to See-No, the money was gone.

“And here I go blabbing your whole plan and I didn’t even mean to mention the cops, I swear. You probably think I’m the G-D’ed D.A.” As Sam babbled nervously, Speak-No took a martini glass from above the bar and held it under his chin.

Gin and vermouth dribbled into the glass as he explained. “Ah, you got the whole scheme wrong anyway. I only deal with mixing the booze; when the cops come, I’m just supposed to swallow.” By way of a punctuation point, he spit an olive into Sam’s glass.

I guess that turned into more of a short story than a joke, but you can’t complain unless you add a pithy little joke of your own!

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