Alex’s blog

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Knock-Knock! Who’s there?

In case you didn’t know, I created a new episode this week. But, this one was a little special since it was actually an episode co-hosted by my classmates, Matthew and Noah. This episode’s goal was to help understand why the story of Romeo and Juliette is such a classic, and what exactly makes a classic. 

For this week’s weekly post, I decided that I wanted to go more in depth about something that my group and I were pretty proud of finding. (Quick story: mid-conversation, we were talking about knock-knock jokes and Matthew was curious to see when and who created this classic joke. And we found out that it was originally first used in Shakespeare’s MacBeth, which we just so happen to be doing a project on). So, I decided to extend a little more into this topic and learn more about the history of the knock-knock joke. After doing some research, here is what I had found. 

It is actually not for sure, but is said to be a possibility that Shakespeare’s MacBeth in 1606 was the source of this joke. In Act 2, Scene 3, the porter in the story was very hungover from the night before, and says “Knock Knock! Who’s there” in his monologue.

“Knock, knock! Who's there, i' the name ofBeelzebub? Here's a farmer, that hanged himself on the expectation of plenty: come in time; have napkins enow about you; here you'll sweat for't. Knock, knock! Who's there, in the other devil's name? Faith, here's an equivocator, that could swear in both the scales against either scale; who committed treason enough for God's sake, yet could not equivocate to heaven: O, come in, equivocator.”

The second time it had been used was in the paper for Oakland Tribune. Merely McEvoy talked about a style joke around the year 1900. Where the joke went something like: “Do you know Arthur? Arthur who? Arthurmometer!”

It was also used a couple times after that, but then, used once again in a newspaper advertisement in 1936 about book called Knock Knock written by a man named Bob Dunn: 

“Knock, knock! Who's there? Rufus. Rufus who? Rufus the most important part of your house.”

It was also said that Bob Dunn had invented the Knock Knock joke in that very book. 

After the year 1936, it started rising in popularity but then had gone down since people who loved the joke were said to have social problems. The format was well known in the UK and US in the 1950’s and 1960s before. Until it became a regular part on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-in, which was a show that ran from 1968-1973. And after that, this joke has gone to what it is today, a classic. Anyways, please stay tuned for my next podcast episode and weekly post. Bye!

Work Cited: 

Barrie, Joshua. “The unlikely origin of the knock knock joke — and how it was first told”.  Mirror. April 28 2017. https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/unlikely-origin-knock-knock-joke-10315103 Accessed Jan 11 2021.

“Knock-knock joke”. Wikipedia. Last edited December 26 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knock-knock_joke. Accessed Jan 11.

“The Secret History of Knock-Knock Jokes”. NPR. March 3 2015. https://www.npr.org/sections/npr-history-dept/2015/03/03/389865887/the-secret-history-of-knock-knock-jokes Accessed Jan 11 2021.

 

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