The year was 1974. “Fuck it,” said a comedy book editor. “Fuck everything.”
Vampire Jokes and Cartoons is the skeletal remains of an idea picked dry by mindless boneworms. It was edited by Phil Hirsch, a giant in the dead horse kicking genre. Keen-minded hot dogs might remember him as the man responsible for 101 Hamburger Jokes and two different boob joke collections. He has the sense of humor of an Anne Frank House tour guide, and Vampire Jokes and Cartoons is him on an off day.
“Something about necks, come on think… neck…” is the entire writing process for most of the book’s jokes. And speaking of writing processes, the first thing I do when I read these things is to find the patterns. Authors always reveal secrets and weaknesses when they lazily attack the same problem, and that’s where the magic is. So I started keeping a tally of nonsensical neck references. Blood bank jokes. Misunderstandings of how vampires work. Misunderstandings of how comedy works. I’ve never learned less. Vampire Jokes and Cartoons is the spilled intestines of a beast feeding only on stupid. Two of the categories I was tracking were “Huh?” and “Fuck You” because I thought I could do some kind of “The Only 6 Kinds of Vampire Jokes” bit. But no way. Without exaggeration, 80% of the jokes in this book were “Huh?” or “Fuck You.” Let me show you.
Oh, a vampire lemonade stand? I get it. The lemonade would be blo– hold on, the customers are also vampires? And they… don’t recognize the taste of blood? They thought they were buying tomato juice? Even though they only drink blood? You dumb fuck, did you forget what vampires were in the middle of this? This is like a cartoon of two dogs, but one of them is a psychiatrist and the other says, “You are a dentist, camel.” Pathetic. An embarrassment.
What’s the joke supposed to be here? This is a group of vampires going to see a movie about a vampire. I suppose they would do that if they existed. Are you fucking telling me this cartoonist wants me to imagine a world where vampires are real and nothing else is different and something about that would magically be funny? Maybe if they were buying tickets to Two Hours of Diabetic Cowards Bleeding Out, you’d think, “Oh, I get it. Undead monsters would enjoy different entertainment than us.” But this? This is nothing. Only a goddamn idiot wouldn’t know that, Phil Hirsch.
Later in the book they do try to come up with funny vampire movies. It is catastrophic. Shameful failures cowering under the shadow of a mouse drawing. “A SCAR IS BORN?” How? On what? The dead body you were sucking on? Dead bodies don’t heal! Or do you think there’s a coroner out there referring to the gaping fang wounds on a desiccated corpse as “a scar?” And what the shit kind of sad effort is “GRIEF ENCOUNTER?” And don’t start with the excuse of “oh, the family of the guy the vampire ate will feel grief, and that’s why the hilarious pun works.” I’ve heard it all before, you fucking hack. You wrote this in 1973. You only had to flip one letter upside down and you could have had Cleobatra Jones. It was right there, you trash.
Are you starting to see what I’m talking about? What could this mean? Is this vampire sarcastic? Or in this world of vampires, are movies about vampires always funny? And if so, why? Do they get “real” vampires wrong? That can’t be it, because the authors and readers of this book are using those vampire movies as a reference, which would make this joke literally impossible to understand. No human mind should have been capable of a thought this pointless. Which means, okay, this is going to sound insane but here’s my theory: this book is for people who find vampires hilarious. Under any circumstances and in any context, to them, “vampire” is a complete setup and punchline. With this in mind, let’s continue.
“Could it be that easy? Am I already done?” asked the man staring at the words VAMPIRE SNOWMAN. He was.
“I really need some time to set this gag up,” decided the man staring at the words REFRIGERATOR FULL OF BLOOD. He didn’t.
What!? Aiiiiieeeee, WHAT!? No no, we can figure this out. Okay, I think a group of men wrote a letter to this unnamed bureaucrat about a vampire balloon that scared them. So far, amazing. Perfect premise. Next, the letter arrived and the important man finished every task with a higher priority of “some guys scared by balloon.” Finally, he called his secretary into his office to take down his reply. It’s a great joke and it works perfectly except for one thing: there’s no way all of this could happen while the parade was still going. Checkmate, Phil.
Take off your Daredevil Doug Safety Goggles™ and let’s get started, Little Scientists™! With your parents’ help, mix 5mg of aluminum sulfate with three drops of the menses of an innocent. You fool, you have summoned Dracula.
I get this cartoonist is going for irony, but a vampire writing a vampire book in a world where vampires exist would be subject to the same criticisms as a human writing a human book in our world. The only thing that happened here is a dipshit tried to imagine a world where vampires were real but then accidentally didn’t. A better caption would have been: …the handsome vampire’s fangs slid easily into the engorged penis like two penises penetrating a blood-filled penis. A passing parade startled him from his penis feast, leaving twin crimson geysers erupting from the penis like two ejaculating peni– “Jesus Christ, this is HOT. I don’t need to read another word, the receptionist job is yours.”
The book makes a few attempts at “real” jokes, but Phil was so lazy he couldn’t remember which punchlines had already been used. Sometimes they used classic jokes with a vampire twist, but they couldn’t quite get them to make sense.
This is one of the rare times you can’t just change the word “gorilla” to “vampire.” Because “anything it wants” isn’t the answer to the question of what you feed a vampire. It always wants blood, you dumb shit! It’s the only thing it eats! Which means at least one person contributing to this vampire joke book lied on their resume when they checked the box “I know what a vampire is.”
Well, yeah, you dick! What else would he do?
And now you’re telling me that after being bitten by a creature of the night and given the power of bat, snowman, and chemistry set, he’s still a “panhandler?” So he feasts on the blood of the living, but only after begging them for change. What a desperate stretch. You’re humiliating yourself like this, and for what? For two thirds of a joke you already told? People can fucking see you, Vampire Jokes and Cartoons.
“I kind of remember something about wooden stakes through the heart,” thinks the cartoonist accidentally drawing a vampire murdering his wife. Or maybe this was no mistake? In which case, ha ha ha die, wife!
This is… I’m not sure who the Vampires of America are spoofing. The Boy Scouts? A plumber’s union? I think the audience needs more to go on to understand the punchline, which is just a song about night, which is when vampires go outside. As a framework, there is nothing lazier than inventing a vampire organization and calling it “Vampires of America” so you can reference any of the thousands of ones about night time. Nothing will ever top it and I’m not setting up a bit.
It was a bit. I have betrayed you. As the book goes on, American vampires register different corporations and LLCs to allow for some barely Dracula creed or theme song. The author thought they’d found the cheat code for infinite vampire jokes the same way a pumpkin owner thought they’d found the cheat code for infinite sex.
This is something you should only say if a doctor is telling you, “Most of your brain was destroyed by what we’re currently calling bat AIDS.” Anyway, I think you get the idea. Let’s get back to the other kinds of botched vampire jokes.
Forget that there’s no punchline because as a premise, this one is incredible. A child is keeping a vampire in the attic and has brought him so many bloody marys his mother is getting suspicious. How many did it take? From the word choice it has to be at least three, right? I think it’s fair to ask why this woman made her child even a single cocktail much less many. “Another bloody mary!? Hmmm… you’re almost suspiciously tying one on for a 4-year-old. Either you have a vampire upstairs and you’re both confused by simple concepts, or you’re a very functional alcoholic. Celery or no?”
If I could speak directly to the author for a moment, bitch, did you mix up vampires, the one thing you’re supposed to be writing about, with mummies? What kind of stupid asshole types “OF HUMAN BANDAGE” during a list of BEST-SELLING VAMPIRE BOOKS? Are you telling me your desperate mind fluttered around and landed on the wrong monster before it landed on The Novelization of Cleobatra Jones? Fuck. You.
Sure, it’s a witch humorlessly reading a list of dead nursery rhyme characters to a goblin. I don’t think it’s going to get a laugh, but the author had a clear vision. He pictured a world where the undead ruled the night and tried to imagine what their children’s books might look like. He never got past the dumbest idea, “all the popular characters are dead, dead, drained of their blood,” but at least there aren’t any mistakes here. Nobody forgot what vampires eat or whether or not they’re mummies. And why just look at the detail in this… torn asunder baby?
My point is, it’s an improvement from earlier, where a miserable dumbass was working backwards from “Fangs for the Memory.” Let’s see if they can keep it up!
I have betrayed you again. It was a bit.
“Maybe Batman is a bat man? Oof. That’s pretty bad. Hopefully I can top it before tomorrow when I’m to be executed by the state.”
So the vampire is looking for a job as a “body snatcher.” And the punchline is, “yes, it’s confusing here in this fictional world as well, reader.” I don’t even know what to do with it. It’s all lampshade. It might as well say, “Unusual situation being pointed out, but poorly. I think vampires are mummies but the only thing eternal is parade.”
I sort of love this one because it wouldn’t be much of anything elsewhere. However, in this vampire joke book it’s a startling subversion of expectations. It somehow jumped right past vampires and hit baseball? It’s like watching The Sixth Sense and Bruce Willis turning to camera and saying, “Nobody’s dead or anything weird. I just always seem to know what my cat wants.”
This family is watching their son walk into the darkness with an eel-handed ghoul and they say, “I think it’s time for Junior to have a little brother or sister.” What could it mean? Do they know he’s never coming back? This is something that would make a clown’s wife say, “You know, you don’t need to tell me about every dumb little fucking dream you have.”
This cartoon requires you to know a doggie bag is for bringing uneaten food home, yet somehow be mistaken that you have to bring your own empty one to the restaurant. But if you ignore this tiny flaw in the punchline, the idea of sneaking into a woman’s bedroom and tearing her into leftovers is a solid joke.
As crazy as this sounds, a lot of the jokes in this book suffer from overthinking. The author knows vampires do blood stuff, and so do doctors, and knew there could be something there. So he pictured a hospital. The doctor is talking to a patient… he’s mostly nude, getting massaged by a busty nurse. Normal stuff, but also a vampire…
… who is great, no notes. However, instead of a “joke,” the author dedicated all eight words of his caption to establishing this conceptual link he found between doctors and vampires. They both take blood, you see. But no doctor would use a vampire for several obvious reasons. One, monsters. The list goes on. You can skip past this fundamental understanding and make a real joke. The caption could be “If you have payment questions see our new financial administrator,” or “We found the maniac who took your hair,” or “this is our new thoracic motorcycle surgeon, Hepatitis Mike.” It doesn’t matter. What I’m trying to say is, you’re overthinking it. Try a vampire joke where you go from your gut.
Yes! Perfect! It’s stupid as fuck, but the right kind of stupid as fuck.
No! God damn it, no! I warned you about this. See, you took the term “blood money” and rolled it around in your brain until it had lost all meaning. And instead of abandoning it, you sent a vampire to the IRS offices to talk about his blood money deduction, a thing no one does at a place you wouldn’t do it. This is a failed adaptation of the riddle “How does a vampire buy his bow ties?” If this is a world where vampires pay taxes and can’t deduct blood money from their taxes, why is he doing it? How confused is he? How confused are you? You’re telling me this guy turned into a bat and flew to Washington, D.C. during vampire-exploding business hours to get lectured on tax evasion by his food? The only joke here is you. Wretched.
What. You’re telling me this vampire doctor keeps up his medical certification so he can go to his patients’ homes, leave a clear paper trail, and eat them? Are sick people that much more delicious? You know what? Let’s say we ignore how this is a terrible idea and you’d be outed as The Fucking Vampire Doctor immediately. What’s the joke? That a vampire doctor would make house calls? To whom would that be funny? That sounds like a test to see what part of your brain is impaled on a fence. If you whispered that into a child’s grave, their parents would forget they ever existed.
Oh, great. The old business man with a bat gnawing on his neck asking the operator to connect him with God gag. If you’re not going to try, Vampire Jokes and Cartoons, I’m not going to either.
“Hey, Nancy, you live in a world where children, possibly dwarves, set you up on blind dates with vampires, but you’re the only person who can recognize them. Here’s one now drawn with a really different pen than me. Oh, did you drop dead rather than exist in such a world, Nancy? Because we haven’t gotten to the punchline, Nancy. I was going to say he wants to borrow a cup of blood, Nancy.”
This article was brought to you by our fine sponsor and Hot Dog Supreme: Rachel, the old bat from Great Neck, New York who sucks. Blood.