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National Knock-Knock Jokes Day

Knock, knock. Who's there? Today we celebrate knock-knock jokes and spend the day telling them! These jokes are found everywhere and are some of the first jokes that children hear and learn. They are "call and answer" jokes that a joke teller of any skill can share. They start with a person saying "Knock, knock," with the receiver of the joke saying "Who's there?" The teller then says a name or word, the receiver repeats it and adds "Who?" and the teller repeats their first answer but adds a pun or a play on words to give the joke its punchline. Today's holiday dates back until at least 2006, although it's unknown how it got its start. Ironically, it takes place on Halloween, a day when children often knock on doors while they are trick-or-treating.

No one knows exactly where knock-knock jokes came from. Some believe they were derived from "call and answer" routines that were used by guards during the Middle Ages to identify people who came to their castles after dark. Some also point to a humorous speech in William Shakespeare's Macbeth that follows a pattern similar to a knock-knock joke. By the twentieth century, "Do You Know" jokes were common. An example of one is as follows: "Do you know Arthur?" "Arthur who?" "Arthurmometer." Similar types of jokes were popular a few decades later, particularly with flappers. An example of one goes like this: "Have you ever heard of the Hiawatha?" "Hiawatha who?" "Hiawatha good girl...until I met you."

From these types of jokes came the knock-knock joke. They were very popular by the mid-1930s, during the time of the Great Depression when a good joke was desperately needed. Friends and neighbors bandied the jokes about, businesses held knock-knock contests, knock-knock clubs sprang up across the country, and orchestras included the jokes in their performances. There even was a song called "Knock, Knock, Who's There?" Despite a pushback against the craze later in the decade, where purveyors of the jokes were labeled as being socially ill, the jokes have prevailed, and are still with us today, being so prominent as to warrant their own holiday!

How to Observe

Celebrate the day by telling some knock-knock jokes! You could try to write your own or could find some online to learn and share. Check out some online resources for them such as "The 85 Funniest Knock-Knock Jokes for Kids," "LOL! 101 Knock Knock Jokes For Kids and Adults That Are So Bad They're Good," or "Knock-Knock Jokes." If you happen to be out trick-or-treating today, you could tell some jokes while knocking on doors.

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