Anybody who has ever tried to write any form of comedy will tell you that it is the best feeling in the world when you write a really funny joke.

I am incredibly pleased with my joke. It is a lightbulb joke!!! There are so few new lightbulb jokes. I check all sorts of combinations of the words on Google to ensure that nobody has written my joke before, and I discover that is totally original and funny!!! It is a slight twist on the traditional lightbulb joke angle, it is politically hard-hitting and contains universal truth. Hahahaha!!! I rock!!!

Anybody who has ever tried to write any form of comedy will tell you that the next stage is a waft of depression as you try and try and try to find some way of working your new joke into the fabric of life; be it casual conversation or an entry in an internet private secret diary. You rack your brains. You examine every situation from every angle. You try everything. It is frustrating.

I am still worrying away at this when I arrive to pick the Toddler up from her nursery.

“It’s a dad! A dad!” There is a cry from inside. It is two of the fit nursery assistants who are struggling with something and need my help. One looks over at me and asks – not one word of a lie:

“We can’t reach. Can you help us change this lightbulb?”

I am gobsmacked by this. I look at them, look at the light fitting, look at the lightbulb. There is some comedy god looking down on me. Not only will I get to tell my joke in the most natural and casual way possible thus making the fit nursery assistants collapse with fits of laughter and think ‘omg omg he has a sense of humour as well AND he can provide for me by being taller and changing the lightbulb’, but I will then be able to report the incident to the readers of my private secret diary as an amusing story AND shoehorn in the joke. I take the lightbulb from her gentle hand.

The lightbulb slides easily into its cavity whilst the girls watch on. I wait for my moment; the optimum time to tell my new joke. When you have unbelievable fortune, sometimes you can get carried away and blow it by ruining the timing. I push hard and twist in the bayonet. They clap, in a girly way.

I open my mouth. There is a knock on the glass door. Another parent turns up.

“How many…”


All hell breaks loose as a small child hurtles in to the foyer and grabs the centre for attention. I try to continue: “neo…” but the moment is lost. Booooooooo – I will never get a chance like this again to tell my funny new joke. I collect the Toddler grumpily and drive home, looking for dark buildings.

64 thoughts on “I write a joke.

  1. greavsie says:

    As long as it’s not the Blue Peter one:

    “How many Blue Peter competition contestants does it take to change a lightbulb?”

    “As many as there are in the production team that day”

  2. JonnyB says:

    Certainly not. That joke has been written before, by you, or a joke writer, or a production assistant pretending to be a joke writer as there were no jokes submitted that day.

  3. Mujja says:

    decisions decisions…shall I be first to beg Johnny to tell his joke…as he obviously wants us to……OR shall I stay quiet and leave him to stew……hmmm…. no brainer really….no begging from this lady!!!

  4. LucieP says:

    Come on Jonny, do tell us! Are you trying to play the joke on us: “How do you keep and idiot in suspense?”

  5. Spank the monkey, old son. Better than inventing jokes.

  6. zed says:

    Nope, I’m not begging either. I bet it’s as good as one of my son’s jokes, and you really don’t want to hear one of those.

  7. Mmm…Jokes on us.

  8. Ani says:

    You can’t possibly tell the joke now. No matter how great a joke it is, the built up suspense will ensure you are met with a tepid, “was that it, then?”

  9. Good to se you gingerly dipping your toe in the cold waters of comedy, Jonny. A few laughs on your site would be a welcome innovation…

  10. JonnyB says:

    Hullo The Therapist and welcome. And all new readers from The Guardian newspaper (page 9).

    Ani has hit the nail on the head with her accurate hammer of incisiveness.

  11. i’m gutted for you, Jonnyb. Lost opportunities … *sigh*

  12. Clare says:

    Q: How many neo-physicists does it take to change a lightbulb?

    A: What’s a neo-physicist?

  13. neo..conservatives?
    neo..the clown fish?
    neo..lithic cave men?

    This is MUCH more fun.

  14. Damian says:

    How manyneo conservatives does it take to change a lighbulb?

    None, it turns out there were no lightbulbs to replace…

    but they sent the troops in anyway!

    How’s that Jonny? Do you like the double punch at the end. Maybe we should team up and write a comedy show. We could be like Ant and Dec, only older, with greyer hair and more body fat. Well, I’ve got more body fat – you, obviously, have been running, so I imagine you are quite svelte and sexy looking now.

    How many svelte and sexy looking bloggers with their own comedy show does it take to change a light bulb?

    None – we get Ant and Dec to do it, now that we’ve taken their slots on the TV.

    Oh man, I’m on fire!

    None – we leave it up to Ant and Dec.

  15. Damian says:

    Oops – a few corrections to above:

    “manyneo” should read “many neo”

    I didn’t realise I’d left the “None – we leave it up to And and Dec” down the bottom there, so please ignore it.

  16. Damian says:

    I feel a little less on fire now.

  17. Wilson the Volleyball says:

    “Musings of a Norfolk house-husband make perfect 21st century version of Diary of a Nobody”

    Can you be both be advertised in the national press and a nobody? How will the new-found fame influence your blogging style?

  18. JonnyB says:

    Hullo Wilson the Volleyball and welcome!!! Can I ask – where did you get your name from?!?

    Yes. It is a fine line I balance. But the fame is not new-found. I was in ‘Web Active’ magazine as well once, you know.

  19. misterboatswain says:

    Maybe if all your new readers get hyped up about the joke another article could be written on it. In which you tell the nation your fantastic joke. And then all the Guardian’s readers will be able to say “was that it, then?”
    I am one of your new readers, and I’m certainly hyped.

  20. JonnyB says:

    Hullo misterboatswain and welcome. Yes – I can see a whole ‘Snakes on a Plane’ PR frenzy building up around my joke. In the midst of all the madness the poor joke won’t stand a chance.

    (That is ‘poor’ as in ‘not having a chance’ and not ‘poor’ as in ‘unfunny’ as it is a very funny joke. But I am not raising any more expectations at all, oh no.)

  21. peach says:

    how many dull people does it take to change a light bulb?


  22. mb says:

    how many freudians does it take to change a light a bulb? Two one to change the bulb, the other to hold the penis. Sorry i mean ladder.

    That’s my favourite.

  23. jwk says:

    How many black tulips does it take to grow a light bulb?

    (Hang on, that can’t be right …)

  24. Jenny says:


    I actually thought I was going to hear a joke.


  25. My god this blog gets sexier by the day. Lightbulb-changing will never seem the same again.

  26. Linda says:

    How many sausage makers does it take to change a lightbulb?

  27. How many bloggers does it take to write a damn fine lightbulb joke?

  28. Pat says:

    I just hope I can understand it when it fru-its. I never did understand the light bulb joke.

  29. Valerie says:

    My favorite one is:

    How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?

    A fish.

  30. Orb says:

    Neo… lithic settlements?

    “How many neolithic settlements does it take to change a light bulb? Four – one to change the light bulb and the other three to go off and hunt and gather food for the impending winter.”

    Damian may be closer to the flames than I am.

  31. NAGA - Life Coach To The Stars says:

    How many ‘fit nursery assistants’ does it take to get Jonny B to change a lightbulb?

  32. NAGA - Life Coach To The Stars says:


    Blinking taxi for one again ain’t it?

  33. Blossom says:

    Oooo you left us hanging…
    Maybe it’s too dangerous to share – like the joke Monty Python created many years ago which was fit only for close combat owing to the fatal results for the reader.

    My new favourite light-bulb joke was found on a musicians’ joke website recently –
    How many sopranos does it take to change a lightbulb?
    One – she just holds on and the whole world revolves around her!
    (I can laugh at this one as I am a soprano – the musical kind – not the American Mafia one)

  34. guyana-gyal says:

    I know the joke…but you tell yours first, JonnyB, then I’ll tell you if it’s the same as the one I know…

  35. JonnyB says:


  36. kermit says:

    are you open to bribery with pictures of boobies (of fit nursery room assistants)? and if so, where do i send them?

  37. april says:

    How many Mexicans does it take to change a light-bulb?

    Just Juan.

  38. Sandy Path says:

    How do you defuse a cheese bomb?


    Made up on the way to the Big Cheese Festival one year.

    I’ll get me coat…

  39. Sandy Path says:

    oops, should say Caer-philly.

    I’ll not be giving up me day job then.

  40. sablonneuse says:

    We are all being fooled. There is no new joke. What Jonny is after is ideas. So there.

  41. ST says:

    I would be concerned if I was paying a fortune to send my child to a fancy nursery if I found that the staff, however fit, were not bright enough to overcome a simple height-deficiency by using basic problem-solving skills, or a chair.

    Still, it explains your claim that they were holding a torch for you.

  42. Pat says:

    Sandy Path – that has me totally foxed – both versions. It’s very depressing.

  43. Lisa says:

    I am worried that the quality of commentary will be diluted with the 4 million comments you’ll have per post…oh wait, inadvertent implied self compliment, never mind, I’m sure they’ll all be brilliant.

    On to more important matters:
    How many impressionists does it take, etc?
    Three: two to dance a pas de deux and one to turn on the fog machine.

    Just far too much temptation put in our way, damn you.

  44. Paul says:

    My personal favourite is still:

    How many Anglicans does it take to change a lightbulb?


    Personally, I think Jonny’s joke is that he’ll never tell us (because there is no joke – which is itself the joke). It’s clever, in a head hurting kind of way.

  45. JonnyB says:

    Paul has an interesting point. It could be like the Syd Barrett ‘Have You Got it Yet’ story.

    But he is wrong. The joke exists. I have told it to two people, neither of whom have collapsed in folds of laughter. Boooooooooo I am losing confidence in my joke. Not like my yet-to-be-used-on-blog ‘condom’ line which is still brilliant.

    No. I must have faith. It is still a good joke. But it will never now be told.

  46. guyana-gyal says:

    Awright, awwwright, there, there JonnyB, tell us, we’ll say we don’t know it, and we’ll double over laughing.

    I wonder if Paul is right.

  47. AndyB says:

    It’s fairly obvious where “Wilson the Volleyball” comes from – he’s Welsh, comes from a village with lots of Wilsons, and he’s the Only Volley-baller in the Village!

    No actually, (forgive me if I’m wrong/being bloody obvious) it’s a reference to the film/(book) Castaway, where the Castaway befriends his volley-ball, whom he names “Wilson” – as that’s the make of the ball.

  48. Never fear! You’ll soon get an other golden ticket to share your genius with the world (or, erm, your toddler’s care takers)! 🙂

  49. Mark says:

    “The lightbulb slides easily into its cavity whilst the girls watch on.”

    Ohh err, how very Girl With A One Track Mind of you…

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