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I've heard of this joke in the TV show "Friends" several times, and I don't understand why it's funny.

Could someone give me a hint?

It's hard to get Chandler's joke for non-English speakers.

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closed as off topic by kiamlaluno, simchona, waiwai933 Aug 17 '11 at 4:18

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I thought we were not supposed to post "explain the joke" questions here... –  GEdgar Aug 16 '11 at 17:40
    
@GEdgar - it's hard to lookup pull my finger in the OED! –  mgb Aug 16 '11 at 18:17
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Even if this question was not off-topic, it would be closed as General Reference. Just writing "pull my finger" in Google, you'll get the answer in your first result. –  Alenanno Aug 16 '11 at 19:47
    
@Alenanno - ...as well as some websites that will demonstrate using Flash or Javascript –  T.E.D. Aug 16 '11 at 22:47

1 Answer 1

up vote 7 down vote accepted

It's a childish joke.
Kid1 asks kid2 to pull their finger. When they do kid1 farts - as if pulling the finger, like pulling a lever, had caused the fart to be released.

It's an Americanism, or at least I never heard it in BE growing up.

Earliest reference I can find is "The Street" (1969) by Canadian author Mordecai Richler:

“ He settled in sullenly at the kitchen table, his smile morose, and suddenly he would call out, "Pull my finger!" If you did he let out a tremendous burp. ”

But you have to assume that it's older than that, my guess would be dating back to steam engines where you had lots of levers which blew off clouds of steam when you pulled them.

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