Some weeks back, I came up with a joke I was really proud of. When I tweeted it I got a couple of retweets and comments, and when I’ve told it in person it’s got a lot of laughs.
Now, the point of this post is not self-aggrandisement (well, no more than the rest of this website is) but bear with me for a moment while I tell and explain the joke.
Tightened in the telling slightly, to fit into Twitter’s 140-character limit, it goes thus:
An Edinburgh man is on his 6th visit to Mongolia, and stays at the same campsite. The receptionist says "you'll have had yurt E?"
— Simon Varwell (@simonvarwell) October 14, 2012
For those not acquainted with Scottish humour, “you’ll have had your tea?” is a phrase mockingly associated with the good people of Edinburgh who are unfairly characterised as being a little prim, conservative and unwelcoming to guests. And a yurt is a Mongolian tent.
Or so I thought.
I got an email yesterday from a friend saying that he’s been retelling my joke on a number of occasions and getting a great response (perhaps he tells it better than me), until one occasion when someone told him that the joke was flawed.
As my friend relays, a yurt is apparently more of a Tibetan thing, and in Mongolia they are called gers. Though upon conducting extensive research into the matter, Wikipedia is slightly ambiguous about this, implying that a ger is just a type of yurt rather than something distinct from it.
I’m a bit of a pedant, and I always like it if jokes are not only funny but technically correct and culturally sensitive too. If anyone can boast a degree of authority on the issues of the large tented structures of central Asia, please share your wisdom in the comments below.