FUNNIES - page 1

Here's your chance of spreading a good musician's joke, or a joke that would appeal to musicians  (keep it clean-ish!)  . Or let us know about a funny incident that happened in relation to music   .

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Problem with Girlfriend

Letter from a professional guitar player to the "Dear Abby" help column in a newspaper

Dear Abby

I think my wife is cheating on me. I am a working musician and, as you would expect, travel a lot. I have been noticing strange things happening when I get home. Her mobile phone rings and she steps outside to answer it, or she says "I'll call you back later." When I ask her who called, she gets evasive. Sometimes she goes out with friends but comes home late, getting dropped off around the corner and walking the rest of the way.

I once picked up the extension while she was on the phone and she got very angry. A buddy of mine plays guitar in a band. He told me that a wife and some guy have been to his gigs. He wanted to borrow my guitar amp. That's when I got the idea to find out for myself what was really happening. I said "Sure you can use my amp but I want to hide behind it at the gig and see if she comes into the venue and who she comes in with."

He agreed. Saturday night came and I slipped behind my Marshall JCM800 half-stack to get a good view. I could feel the heat coming out of the back of the amp. It was at that moment, crouching down behind the amp, that I noticed that one of the tubes was not glowing as bright as the other 3. Is this something I can fix myself or do I need to take it to a technician?

Thanks. Very concerned.

Thanks to George Hamer


Worried About My Reputation

Dear Abby

I'm an Airman stationed at Lackland AFB. My parents live in the suburb of Philadelphia and one of my sisters, who lives in Bensonhurst, is married to a transvestite. My father and mother have recently been arrested for growing and selling marijuana and are currently dependent on my other two sisters, who are prostitutes in Jersey City. I have two brothers, one who is currently serving a non-parole life sentence in Attica, for the rape and murder of a teenage boy in 1994, the other currently being held in the Wellington Remand Center on charges of incest with his three children. I have recently become engaged to marry a former Thai prostitute who lives in the Bronx and indeed is still a part-time "working girl" in a brothel; however, her time there is limited as she has recently been infected with an STD. We intend to marry as soon as possible and are currently looking into the possibility of opening our own brothel, with my fiancÚ utilizing her knowledge of the industry working as the manager. I am hoping my two sisters would be interested in joining our team. Although I would prefer them not to prostitute themselves, at least it would get them off the streets and, hopefully, the heroin. I love my fiance and look forward to bringing her into the family. Of course, I want to be totally honest with her, so, my problem is this: should I tell her about my cousin who is a jazz musician?


Worried About My Reputation

Thanks to George Hamer


What is jazz now?

(Yoga Berra explains jazz via Rex Allen)

Interviewer: "Can you explain jazz?"

Yogi: "I can't, but I will. 90 percent of all jazz is half-improvisation. The other half is the part people play while others are playing something they never played with anyone who played that part, it's right. If you play the right part, it might be right if your play it wrong enough. But if you play it too right, it's wrong."

Interviewer: "I don't understand."

Yogi: "Anyone who understands jazz knows that you can't understand it. It's too complicated. That's what's so simple about it."

Interviewer: "Do you understand it?"

Yogi: "No. That's why I can explain it. If I understood it, I wouldn't know anything about it."

Interviewer: "Are there any great jazz players alive today?"

Yogi: "No. All the great jazz players alive today are dead. Except for the ones that are still alive. But so many of them are dead, that the ones that are still alive are dying to be like the ones that are dead. Some would kill for it."

Interviewer: "What is syncopation?"

Yogi: "That's when the note that you should hear now happens either before or after you hear it. In jazz, you don't hear notes when they happen because that would be some other type of music. Other types of music can be jazz, but only if they're the same as something different from those other kinds."

Interviewer: "Now I really don't understand."

Yogi: "I haven't taught you enough for you to not understand jazz that well."

(thanks to Les Hurdle, via Ian Hamer)




What do you get when you drop a piano down a mine shaft?
A flat minor.

Why is an 11-foot concert grand better than a studio upright?
Because it makes a much bigger kaboom when dropped over a cliff.


How do concert band players change a lightbulb?
They ask their boyfriends to do it for them.

How do you get two piccolos to play in unison?
Shoot one.


Why is a bassoon better than an oboe?
The bassoon burns longer.

What is a burning oboe good for?
Setting a bassoon on fire.


How many clarinetists does it take to change a lightbulb?
Only one, but it takes him forever to find the right bulb.

What do you call a bass clarinetist with half a brain?

What is the difference between a clarinet and an onion?
People cry when you chop an onion into pieces.


How many sax players does it take to change a lightbulb?
Five. One to change the bulb and four to contemplate how David Sanborn would have done it.

What is the difference between a saxophone and a lawnmower?
1. Lawn mowers sound better in small ensembles.
2. You can tune a lawnmower.
3. The neighbours are upset if you borrow a lawnmower and don't return it.

What's the difference between an alto and a bedpan?
Don't know? That's the last time you play in the sax section.


What's the difference between a trumpet player and the rear end of a horse?
I don't know either.

What's the difference between a trumpet player and government bonds?
Government bonds eventually mature and earn money.

What's the difference between a free jazz trumpeter and a terrorist?
A terrorist has sympathisers.


What is the difference between a bass trombone and a chain saw?
It's easier to improvise on a chainsaw.

How do you know when a trombone player is at your door?
The doorbell drags.

What is a gentleman?
Somebody who knows how to play a trombone, but doesn't.

What is the difference between a dead trombone player lying in the road, and a dead squirrel lying in the road?
The squirrel was on his way to a gig.


What did the drummer get on his IQ test?

How do you know when a drummer is knocking at your door?
The knock always slows down.

How do you get a drummer to play an accelerando?
Ask him to play in 4/4 at a steady 120 bpm.

Why do bands have bass players?
To translate for the drummer.


What is the difference between a vocalist and a terrorist?
You can negotiate with a terrorist.

What do you say to a vocalist at the door?
It doesn't matter what you say, she still won't know when to come in.

What's the difference between a vocalist and a piranha
The lipstick.

A jazz musician dies and goes to heaven. He is told "Hey, man, welcome! You have been elected to the Jazz All-Stars of Heaven - right up there with Satchmo, Miles, Django, all the greats. We have a gig tonight. Only one problem -
God's girlfriend gets to sing.


What's the difference between a banjo and a cattle grid?
People slow down before they drive over a cattle grid.

There's nothing I like better than the sound of a banjo, unless of course it's the sound of a chicken caught in a vacume cleaner.


How do you get a guitar player to play softer?
Give him some sheet music.

How do you make him stop?
Put notes on it!


What happens if you play blues music backwards?
Your wife returns to you, your dog comes back to life, and you get out of prison.

What does it say on a blues singer's tombstone?
"I didn't wake up this morning..."



Two musicians are driving down a road. All of a sudden they notice the Grim Reaper in the back seat. Death informs them they had an accident and they both died. But before he must take them into eternity, he grants each musician with one last request to remind them of their past life on earth.

The first musician says he was a Country and Western musician and would like to hear eight choruses of Achy-Breaky Heart as a last hoorah!

The second musician says:"I was a jazz musician...kill me now!"

(Thanks to Keith Goddard for all these.)



Dear Bandleader,

We look forward to your performance at our daughter's wedding. If you don't mind, we would like to request a few of our favorite songs. Please play these during the reception:

A Keith Jarrett composition from his solo series. Please arrrange if for full ensemble in the key of B but nothing in 4/4 please.

Mahavishu Orchestra, "Dance of the Maya" and please have the guitarist play John McLaughlin's solo from the live performance Nov 16, 1972 at Chrysler Arena. My wife and I were at that show and we liked his use of polyrhythms.

One of John Coltrane's duets with Pharaoh Sanders. Out guests love high register tenor saxes.

We thought a little Stravinsky right after the toast would be nice. So please play "The Rite of Spring". We like a tempo of about 1/4 note = 93 and transpose it down 3 half-steps - it will be much more appropriate for this occasion in the slightly lower register.

Then for the candle-lighting ceremony, please play Frank Zappa's "The Grand Wazoo". The original key of B flat would be fine but my cousin would like to sing the baritone sax solo in the key of D - she has kind of a high voice. When my son - in - law takes off the garter, please just a little of Varese's "Ionization". It's such a funny piece, we think it would go over real well. Much better than "The Stripper".

And for the bride and groom's first dance, please slow things down a bit by doing Barber's "Adagio For Strings". It's so much better than "We've Only Just Begun" or "The Anniversary Waltz".

When my wife and I join in the first dance, could you segue to Thelonius Monk's "Ruby,My Dear" - it's in honor of my wife's grandmother whose name was Ruby. It would mean so much to the family.

Thanks for all your help. Depending on the outcome we'll certainly be happy to recommend your band to our friends.

We'll have your cheque for the fee of $250 (minus our expenses in contacting you of $12.50 by the end of next month: we're a little short as the young lady doing the balloon arch wanted her $1,850 in advance and the DJ had to be paid up front his $2,500 as normal. Our daughter assured us that your love of music was greater than your need of money, and that you would welcome the exposure you would get from playing this wedding.

Before you leave, please feel free to ask the caterer for a snack sandwich and a soda (the bottles are returnable or you can pay the deposit to the butler). Please use the back entrance to avoid disturbing the guests.

(Thanks to David Hardman for giving me this.
If the author would like to contact me I'll include his name in the credits.)



The horn section of a jazz combo was on the way to a gig and were killed in a tragic car accident. When they arrived in heaven, God personally greeted them at the front gate and asked each of them who they were and what they did on earth.
The first person said:
I was a tenor sax player and I made people happy with my wonderful music.
The second person said:
I was a trombone player and I taught people the love of music.
The third person said:
I was a trumpet player and I believe you are sitting in my chair.

(Thanks to Ian Hamer et al for this.)



A C, an E-flat, and a G go into a bar.   The bartender says: "Sorry, but we don't serve minors."   So the E-flat leaves, and the C and the G have an open fifth between them.   After a few drinks, the fifth is diminished and the G is out flat.  An F comes in and tries to augment the situation, but is not sharp enough.

A D comes into the bar and heads straight for the bathroom saying, "Excuse me.  I'll just be a second."   Then an A comes into the bar, but the bartender is not convinced that this relative of C is not a minor.  Then the bartender notices a B-flat hiding at the end of the bar and exclaims, "Get out now.   You're the seventh minor I've found in this bar tonight."

The E-flat, not easily deflated, comes back in the bar the next night in a 3-piece suit with nicely shined shoes.  The bartender (who used to have a nice corporate job until his company downsized) says, "You're looking sharp tonight, come on in!   This could be a major development."  This proves to be the case, as the E-flat takes off the suit and everything else, and stands there au natural.

Eventually, the C sobers up, and realises in horror that he's under a rest.  The C is brought to trial, is found guilty of contributing to the diminution of a minor, and is sentenced to 10 years of DS without Coda at an upscale correctional facility.  On appeal, however, the C is found innocent of any wrongdoing, even accidental, and that all accusations to the contrary are bassless.

(Thanks to Ian Hamer for this.  



St Peter asks the person in front of the pearly gates, "What did you do in life?" The reply:

I was a physician - brought a generous smile from St Peter who said, "Very noble profession, you are welcome in heaven. Of course, there's nothing for you to do here as we have no illness of any kind, but you are most welcome in heaven. The bar on the left goes on forever, the buffet on the right goes on to eternity, and the pink fluffy looking cloud in the middle is where God hangs out, feel free to talk to God, eat and drink as much as you like, you are welcome in heaven."

St Peter asks the next person, "What did you do in life?" The reply:

I was a lawyer - brought a disgruntled look as St Peter rolled his eyes and said, "Well everyone is welcome in heaven. Of course, there's nothing for you to do here as we have no crime or ill-will or accidents of any kind, but you are welcome in heaven. The bar on the left goes on forever, the buffet on the left goes on to eternity, and the pink fluffy looking cloud in the middle is where God hangs out, feel free to talk to God, eat and drink as much as you like, you are welcome in heaven."

St Peter asks the next person, "What did you do in life?" The reply:

I was a jazz bassist - brought an excited response of delight as St Peter excitedly said, "You're going to love it here! The jam sessions go on forever. And you can play with Miles, or Trane, or Bill Evans. Duke Ellington writes a new piece for the band every day. There's plenty of solo space, no weird keys, nothing out of tune, no bad notes, no bad changes, and the time is always rock solid - you're going to love it here! You didn't park out front did you? Stay away from the bar and the buffet table - and don't talk to God - he's busy. Could you come in through the loading dock? And do you have a sound system we could use during breaks?"

(Thanks again to Ian Hamer and before that to George Hamer)



One of the perks of being an unemployed musician is that you get to play much less bad music. - Jack Daney

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music. - Aldous Huxley

Music is, by its very nature, essentially powerless to express anything at all. Music expresses itself. - Igor Stravinsky

Hell is full of musical amateurs. - George Bernard Shaw

The drummer drives. Everybody else rides! - Panama Francisv

Some days you get up and put the horn to your chops and it sounds pretty good and you win. Some days you try and nothing works and the horn wins. This goes on and on and then you die and the horn wins. - Dizzy Gillespie on playing the trumpet

Music is my mistress, and she plays second fiddle to no one. - Duke Ellington

Jazz is the only music in which the same note can be played night after night but differently each time. - Ornette Coleman

We never play anything the same way once. - Shelly Manne's definition of jazz musicians

Someone who knows how to play the accordion, and doesn't. - Al Cohn's definition of a gentleman

Music is a very hard instrument. - Vido Musso

The only tune they play in 4/4 is 'Take Five!'- (unknown - talking about the Don Ellis band)

If I could play like Wynton (Marsalis), I wouldn't play like Wynton. - Chet Baker

I'm too old to pimp, and too young to die, so I'm just gon' keep playin'. - Clark Terry

A great teacher is one who realizes that he himself is also a student and whose goal is not dictate the answers, but to stimulate his students creativity enough so that they go out and find the answers themselves. - Herbie Hancock

To be a musician is a curse. To NOT be one is even worse. - Jack Daney

Don't bother to look, I've composed all this already. - Gustav Mahler, to Bruno Walter who had stopped to admire mountain scenery in rural Austria.

I would rather play 'Chiquita Banana' and have my swimming pool than play Bach and starve. - Xavier Cugat

[Musicians] talk of nothing but money and jobs. Give me businessmen every time. They really are interested in music and art. - Jean Sibelius, explaining why he rarely invited musicians to his home.

Only become a musician if there is absolutely no other way you can make a living. - Kirke Mecham, on his life as a composer.

I am not handsome, but when women hear me play, they come crawling to my feet. - Nicola Paganini

What is the voice of song, when the world lacks the ear of taste? - Nathaniel Hawthorne

Flint must be an extremely wealthy town: I see that each of you bought two or three seats. - Victor Borge, playing to a half-filled house in Flint, Michigan.

If one hears bad music it is one's duty to drown it by one's conversation. - Oscar Wilde

Critics can't even make music by rubbing their back legs together. - Mel Brooks

Life can't be all bad when for ten dollars you can buy all the Beethoven sonatas and listen to them for ten years. - William F. Buckley, Jr.

You can't possibly hear the last movement of Beethoven's Seventh and go slow - Oscar Levant, explaining his way out of a speeding ticket.

Wagner's music is better than it sounds. - Mark Twain

Berlioz says nothing in his music, but he says it magnificently. - James Gibbons Hunekar

If a young man at the age of twenty-three can write a symphony like that, in five years he will be ready to commit murder. - Walter Damrosch on Aaron Copland

There are still so many beautiful things to be said in C major. - Sergei Prokofiev

I never use a score when conducting my orchestra. Does a lion tamer enter a cage with a book on how to tame a lion? - Dimitri Mitropolous

God tells me how the music should sound, but you stand in the way. - Arturo Toscanini to a trumpet player.

Already too loud! - Bruno Walter at his first rehearsal with an American orchestra, on seeing the players reaching for their instruments.

I really don't know whether any place contains more pianists than Paris, or whether you can find more asses and virtuosos anywhere. - Frederic Chopin

When she started to play, Steinway himself came down personally and rubbed his name off the piano. - Bob Hope, on comedienne Phyllis Diller

Never look at the trombones, it only encourages them. - Richard Strauss

In opera, there is always too much singing. - Claude Debussy

Oh how wonderful, really wonderful opera would be if there were no singers! - Giacchino Rossini

I think popular music in this country is one of the few things in the twentieth century that has made giant strides in reverse. - Bing Crosby

A ponderous orchestral absurdity - Frank Zappa on his rock symphony debuted by the Los Angeles Philharmonic

The bottom line of any country is, what did we contribute to the world? We contributed Louis Armstrong. - Tony Bennett

Opera is, when someone gets stabbed, instead of bleeding, they sing. - Groucho Marx

"If there ain't no music, we'd have no ears. If there ain't no dancing, we'd have no eyes. If there ain't no hip-hop, we'd still have a nose to smell it - Anon -- out-of-work musician

(from Ian/George Hamer, originally from Anthony J (Tony) Agostinelli with thanks)



What happens if you play blues music backwards? Your wife returns to you, your dog comes back to life, and you get out of prison.

What do you get when you play New Age music backwards? New Age music!

A letter, addressed "To the world's greatest drummer", arrives at the home of Louie Bellson. He takes one look at it, and says, "Well, this is obviously not for me", and forwards it to Gene Krupa. Krupa also takes one look at it, and also says, "Well, this is obviously not for me", and he forwards it as well. The letter makes the rounds of famous drummers' homes, until it finally winds up at the home of Buddy Rich. He takes one look at it, and says, "Well, this is obviously for me", rips it open, and reads "Dear Ringo..."

Small wonder we have all this trouble with air pollution in the world when so much of it has passed through saxophones.

Thanks to Kit Packham

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