15 Jokes from the 1980s That Make Zero Sense in 2024

Gag us with a spoon
15 Jokes from the 1980s That Make Zero Sense in 2024

A lot of seminal comedy came out of the 1980s, to be sure. But for every solid Back to the Future quip, there are about a hundred of these head-scratchers that wouldn’t stand the test of time.

This Tasteless Joke Requires You to Remember Two Stories That Were Huge At the Time, But Are Now Footnotes in These Deceased Stars’ Biographies

“What’s the difference between Michael Jackson and Richard Pryor? Michael Jackson was burned using Pepsi, and Richard Pryor was burned using Coke.”

A Popular Joke Among Workers in Communist Russia, Whose Bosses At Least Respected Them Enough to Pretend to Pay Them

“So long as the bosses pretend to pay us, we will pretend to work.”

This Telephone Greeting That Was Common Among Goofball Types Relies on the Existence of Pay Phones, and the Value of the Dime

“It’s your dime, start talkin’!”

More Dime Humor! This Common Bathroom Graffiti Has Evolved Over the Years, But by Some Accounts It Started Out as an Anti-ode to Coin-Operated Public Toilets

“Here I sit, brokenhearted, paid a dime and only farted.”

Ronald Reagan Had a Colectomy and Severe Alzheimer’s, You See

“Did you hear about the Ronald Reagan commemorative typewriter? It has no colon, and no memory.”

The Unspoken Joke About the DeLorean in ‘Back to the Future’

The DeLorean wasn’t very popular until after the movie came out, and there’s a misconception that it was incapable of reaching 88 MPH. The truth is that it could, but for much of the 1980s, speedometers didn’t go above 80 MPH.

To Get This Soviet Russian Zinger, You Have to Understand That There Was One State-Controlled Newspaper Called ‘Truth’ and Another Called ‘News’

“In the Truth there is no news, and in the News there is no truth.”

This Joke Relies on George Bush Sr. and Dan Quayle Being in Office

“Why aren’t dogs allowed in the White House? Because they chase all the Quayles and piss on all the Bushes.”

Stephen Wright’s Classic Joke Relies on the Existence of Car Phones, and the Additional Absurdity of Having an Answering Machine on That Phone

“I have an answering machine in my car. It says, ‘I’m home now. But leave a message, and I’ll call when I’m out.”

Okay, So E.T. Famously ‘Goes Home,’ Right? And J.R. Ewing Was a Villain on ‘Dallas,’ and Okay I’ve Already Lost You

“How many letters are in the alphabet? Twenty-two, because E.T. went home and somebody shot J.R.”

These Two Songs Were Never Immaculately Conceived Onto Your iPhone, So It’s Possible You Wouldn’t Get This Lyrical Pun

“How come the members of U2 still haven’t found what they’re looking for? Because the streets have no names!”

Notoriously Dim Soviet Politician Leonid Brezhnev Got Roasted with This Anecdote

“At the 1980 Olympics, Brezhnev begins his speech: ‘O!’ — applause. ‘O!’ — more applause. ‘O!’ — yet more applause. ‘O!’ — an ovation. ‘O!!!’ — the whole audience stands up and applauds. An aide comes running to the podium and whispers, ‘Leonid Ilyich, those are the Olympic logo rings, you don’t need to read them!’”

In 1985, Coca-Cola Changed Its Recipe, and Called It ‘New Coke.’ Everyone Hated It, and They Were Forced to Bring Back Their Original Recipe within Three Months, Rebranded as “Coca-Cola Classic.” Anyway, You Know a Joke Is Gonna Be Good When the Explanation Is Three Times Longer Than the Joke Itself

“What’s wrong with New Jersey? It’s okay, but I wish they would bring back Jersey Classic!”

After Audiences Got Sick of Laugh Tracks in the 1960s and 1970s, 1980s Sitcoms Loved to Announce That They Were ‘Shot Before a Live Audience. Also, Abraham Lincoln Was Assassinated

“What do Abraham Lincoln and an ‘80s sitcom have in common? Both were shot before a live audience.”

To Get This Andy Warhol Joke, You Need to Know That Princess Diana Married Prince Charles in 1981, and They Didn’t Divorce for Over a Decade, So It Seemed Like a Cinderella Story at the Time

“Where did Prince Charles spend his honeymoon? Indiana.”

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