The 5 Funniest Types of ‘Guy Walks into a Bar’ Jokes Ever Told

From an ancient Sumerian scribe to Gilbert Gottfried, this has got to be one of the most versatile joke structures in history.


The OG

The oldest known “guy walks into a bar joke” was carved into a clay tablet by a Babylonian scribe around 1700 BC. Do you know how rare that was, to save any type of information for future generations to read? You’re not gonna carve clay if it’s not an all-time banger. The joke roughly translates to: “A dog, having entered an inn, did not see anything, (and so he said): ‘Shall I open this (door)?’”

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Get it? 

Neither does anyone else. It’s likely that the “inn” was understood to be a brothel, implying the dog was interested in scoping out some kind of lewd act. But the actual joke seems to be a pun that’s been lost to the sands of time. As all puns should be.

Some scholars say we can’t even technically call it a joke, because it might just be a serious proverb. But I mean, c’mon! A dog? In a brothel?? That’s comedy!!!

A more recent riff comes from Ancient Rome, and this one seems to be a pretty straightforward “take my wife… please” type of gag: “A certain person sitting beside a tipsy man drinking in a tavern, said, ‘Your wife is dead.’ Hearing that, he said to the innkeeper, ‘Therefore, waiter, mix some dark wine.’”

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Ugh, Puns

I hate a lazy pun. Lots of people think they’re absolutely eating with a sick double entendre, when they’re barely pulling off a single solitary entendre. But the “guy walks into a bar” structure usually forces the joke teller to make a clever, unexpected connection, which is exactly what a joke should be. Here are some classic examples:

  • “Two guys walk into a bar. The third one ducks.”
  • “A guy walks into a bar carrying jumper cables. The bartender says, ‘Hey pal, don’t start anything in here.’”
  • “A man walks into a bar owned by horses. The bartender says, ‘Why the short face?’”
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There’s a sub-variant where it’s no longer a guy walking into a bar, but some unexpected thing:

  • “A five-dollar bill walks into a bar. The bartender says, ‘Hey, this is a singles bar.’”
  • “Three fonts walk into a bar. The bartender looks up and says, ‘We don’t serve your type in here.’”
  • “The past, present and future walk into a bar. It was tense.”
  • And here’s comedy legend Bob Einstein telling an old favorite of his: “Guy walks into a bar with a dog. Bartender says, ‘Get that dog out of here!’ and the guy says, ‘No, my dog can talk.’ Bartender says, ‘If your dog talks, I’ll give you $500. If your dog doesn’t talk, I throw you two through a window.’ Guy says, ‘You’re on,’ and turns to his dog: ‘Fido, what do you call the top of a building?’ Dog goes, ‘Roof!’ Guy says, ‘Fido, what do you call the top of your mouth?’ Dog goes, ‘Roof!’ Guy says, ‘Fido, who’s the greatest baseball player of all time?’ Dog says, ‘Roof!’ Bartender then picks the two of them up and throws them through a window. The dog shakes it off, looks to his owner and says, ‘You think I should have said DiMaggio?’”
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The Trifecta

This variant involves three similar, or three vastly different people hanging out together. The point can be to highlight unexpected similarities, surprising differences, or, yeah, once again, deliver a pun:

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  • “Three vampires walk into a bar. The first one says, ‘I’ll have a pint of blood.’ The second one says, ‘I’ll have one, too.’ The third one says, ‘I’ll have a pint of plasma.’ The bartender says, ‘So, that’ll be two Bloods and a Blood Lite?’”
  • “Two cannibals were sitting in a bar having drinks and munching on a clown. One cannibal says to the other, ‘Does this taste funny to you?’”
  • “A priest, a rabbi and an imam walk into a bar. The bartender says, ‘What is this, some kind of joke?’”
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The ‘Pwease Don’t Cancel Me!’ Non-Joke

Colin Quinn made half of a “guy walks into a bar joke” in 2016, bravely skewering those affected by racism, sexism, ableism and transphobia: “A featureless, colorless, nonsectarian, non-gender specific person of indeterminate origin… walks into a bar.”

He then trailed off into a diatribe about how icky New York City is. Thank you for your service, sir!

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Bo Burnham’s “Comedy,” while very clever and self-aware, deploys the same underlying cancel-culture exasperation. The song is about the blind audacity of a white man believing that he can solve racism, famine, disease, whatever… through the power of his art:

I am gonna use my privilege for the good 
Very cool, way to go!  
American white guys
We’ve had the floor for at least 400 years
So maybe I should just shut the fuck up… 
I’m bored. I don’t wanna do that

To illustrate the depths of this inanity, he then sings: 

A Jew walked into a bar, and I saved him a seat 
That’s healing the world with comedy

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This is a characteristically clever, thoughtful and concise riff on a joke that’s been around for millennia. Thank you for your service, sir!

The GOAT Walks Into a Bar…

But enough with the thoughtful shit. You want to see a modern, brutalist take on this ancient joke? Gilbert Gottfried has at least three prime examples:

  1. “Dracula walks into a bar, orders a cup of hot water, dips a tampon in. Bartender goes, ‘What are you doing?’ Dracula says, ‘Making tea.’”
  2. “A guy walks into a bar. He sees Joan Rivers is the bartender. He sees a sign over the bar that reads ‘Cheese Sandwich $1.50, Hand Job $10.’ He says to Joan Rivers, ‘Are you the one that gives the hand jobs?’ Joan says, ‘Yes I am!’ He says, ‘Well, wash your hands, b****, I want a cheese sandwich.’”
  3. “A man walks into a bar and starts drinking. He gets so drunk he pukes all over his shirt. He goes to the bartender and says, ‘I’m in trouble. I’m not supposed to be drinking, my wife will kill me.’ The bartender says, ‘Here's what you do. Put a $10 bill in your shirt pocket, and when you get home, tell your wife a drunk guy puked on you and gave you $10 to have it cleaned.’ The man says, ‘Great, I'll try that.’ When he gets home, his wife angrily confronts him about the puke on his shirt. He pulls the bill out of his pocket and says, ‘See honey, I’m not drunk, another man puked on my shirt and gave me $10 to have it cleaned.’ The wife says, ‘But that’s a $20 bill.’ The man pauses and then says, ‘Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you, he also shit in my pants.’”