Here’s a list of 20 jokes that only intellectuals will understand (found originally on Tickld)… how many do you get?

My two favorites:

  • “It’s hard to explain puns to kleptomaniacs because they always take things literally.”
  • “Helium walk into a bar and orders a beer.  The bartender says, “Sorry, we don’t serve noble gases here!”  Helium doesn’t react.”

20 jokes that only intellectuals will understand...


  1. One is not necessarily intelligent if one understands these jokes. For, people like Leslie Lemke and Alonzo Clemons, two “idiot” savants, would surely not understand them; Leslie is a musical genius while Alonzo is a master sculptor, yet both struggle daily with basic social interactions. Intelligence exists in many forms, and while I did enjoy the above content, I do not think that my comprehension of it alone qualifies me as “intellectual”.

    • We confuse “intellectual” with educated. These can be, often are, mutually exclusive. You can memorize your way to a high degree, but not understand what you can then spew out from memory. You can be very intellectual, but not have learned who any of these people are, referenced in so many of these jokes.

  2. @Timothy C
    I think they meant understanding the jokes is a sign that you’re well rounded and actually know things. There’s a fine line between intellectuals, morons, and geniuses, and to understand most of the jokes, you need to know more than a common understanding. But I agree with you completely. It isn’t a guarantee that you’re smart, but I think it does have a broad area of topics that can at least gauge how well rounded you are.

  3. I once heard that “intellectual” is defined as a person who can listen to “The William Tell Overture” amd not think of The Lone Ranger. That may be a bit out of date, but it is appropriate to many.

  4. Rene Descarte is sitting in a bar. The bartender comes up and asks if he’d like another drink. Descarte says “I think not.” Poof, he disappears in a puff of logic.

  5. Re: 17. The monk then hands a $10 to the vendor, who puts it in his pocket. Monk: “My change?” Vendor: “As you know, change must come from within.”

  6. @Timothy C –

    I think a better argument that would fit your example would have been the following:

    One does not necessarily lack intelligence if one does not understand the jokes.

    This would be the case with respect to the two savants you referenced.

    I would , however, agree with your assertion that comprehending the jokes does not make you an intellectual.

  7. Thanks, good stuff.

    @Timothy C. most people mix knowledge and intelligence two quite different concepts.

    If you understand all of the jokes, it means you know about a lot of subjects (philosophy, maths, chemistry, physics etc.).

  8. Why do people thing speaking in the third person and using words like, “assertion” makes them seem intelligent?

    • It’s not necessarily a sign for “I’m an intellectual,” in that it could be a sign of “Let’s have an intellectual discussion.” How you begin a conversation affects the following replies, and such a tone hopefully keeps it from falling into banal chatter. (Feel free to jump on this one, the tone was just for you.)

  9. 17
    A buddhist monk approaches a hotdog stand and says:”Make me one with everything.” He pays with a 10 dollar note. After a while he asks:”Where is my change?” The guy replies: “Change must come from within.”

  10. Yes, I agree. It is also akin to what I often say about there being a difference between being ignorant and being stupid. I think someone can be very intelligent and still be ignorant, meaning, they have the brain capacity and intelligence, etc. and the information is available to them, but they stubbornly choose not to avail themselves of it. So, too in this case, I think someone could be extremely intelligent, or “intellectual” and still not “get” these jokes, simply because they were not exposed to the material being (people, etc.) mentioned. It’s a bit like the ethno-centric way we test IQ here in the US, which is biased and unfair to other races and cultures that perhaps have not been exposed to the same things we study here in our American school system. Someone in Nigeria could be ten times more brilliant naturally then the most “intellectual” party-goer here in the U.S., but this “joke test”s not a sound measure of true intelligence – just what you happen to have been exposed to in your curriculum, and that also speaks to certain other biases of opportunity – even in this country. I was fortunate enough to go to “upper class” private schools growing up, so I got about 90% of these, but, I know it’s quite fair to say, had I been born in the back alley slums somewhere, even still having my current so-called “genius” brain, no one would ever know it. And I would not know get any of these jokes. But – I would still be an intelligent person – just about very different things.

  11. I just laughed at the jokes, instead of questioning the definition of intellectual and the author’s use of it in the heading. Guess I’m not an intellectual then.

  12. #15 Could be funnier.. Speaking of jokes, a Doctor is performing surgery and says he wants a bottle of whiskey after stopping a bad nose bleed. He asks Argon if he wants a little bit of his liquor after with very little reaction and being noble, he says it would be a gas to try.

  13. whoever wrote this REALLY thinks they’re intelligent. i mean, its not as if these jokes are difficult to understand.

  14. A neutron walks into a bar and asks the bartender: “How much for a beer?” The bartender says: “For you, no charge.”

  15. How… the person that ellaborated this must have a big ego, I bet that a lot of people would get them with a quick mind search

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