Numbers

Even some numbers are funnier than others, and we're not just talking about three or sixty-nine.

In humor, the economy of words is almost fanatical. There is one exception and that is when numbers are used. If they're essential in the joke, when we want to give them extra power, they must sound or look important. The number 1,500 should be pronounced (or written) as one thousand, five hundred. The time of 8:15 should be pronounced (or written) as a quarter after eight. The height of 6'2" should be pronounced (or written) six-foot, two inches tall. Every syllable must be an atom of meaning as well as information.

In addition, the following numbers (or expressions), by sound or imagery, tend to stimulate humorous responses:

zero zip a zillion thirteen twenty a nickel three a fiver goose egg ninety-nine a grand fifty a deuce a million ten

A billion dollars here, a billion dollars there. Pretty soon, it adds up to a lot of money. —Everett Dirksen

"Thanks, buddy. Most guys wouldn't have done that for a transvestite."

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