65

There is a joke:

Q: What is grey and comes in quarts?
A: An elephant.

Why? Why does it come in quarts? What is funny here?

closed as off-topic by curiousdannii, JJJ, Chappo, user067531, Cascabel Aug 12 at 20:30

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 2
    @GuntramBlohm, it could be, but it's not. The given answer is correct. – JPhi1618 May 10 '16 at 15:37
  • 21
    Why is it funny? Meh, it's not. – Lightness Races in Orbit May 10 '16 at 16:42
  • 12
    I totally don't get the "The ocean is deep... bones!" joke... should I ask about that too? I feel it's not a rabbit hole I want to go down. – Nelson May 11 '16 at 1:51
  • 4
    The joke is incomprehensible without explanation, and with an explanation it comes stupid. – Farside May 11 '16 at 9:59
  • 5
    I didn't get it at all, but now that I read the answer explaining it to me...I'm gonna go ahead and give this joke an A, high-brow haters be damned – coburne May 11 '16 at 14:49
139

I feel like I'm walking into some kind of trolling here, but I believe the joke is based around the definition of "comes" which is synomymous with "ejaculates".

In other words, the joke is implying that volume of the elephant's ejaculate is rather large: a "quart" of course being another word for a quarter of a gallon, aka two pints.

The first-glance reading of "comes in quarts" would be "is available in quarts" (like milk), and the reversal of the understood meaning of "comes" is where the humour arises (if it does arise).

10

It seems it's some kind of "penis joke", as explained above, and it seems it doesn't have much sense anyways, as outlined by @march-ho:

According to this paper (SFW), elephants ejaculate 5-75 ml depending on the type of ejaculate, or less than 10% of a quart.

Based on other opinions, those elephant jokes had a lot of symbolism.

Based on Wikipedia:

Elephant jokes are seen by many commentators as symbolic of the culture of the United States and the United Kingdom in the 1960s ... Abrahams and Dundes, in their paper On elephantasy and elephanticide, consider elephant jokes to be convenient disguises for racism, and symbolised the nervousness of white people about the civil rights movement. Whilst blatantly racialist jokes became less acceptable, elephant jokes were a useful proxy. Abrahams and Dundes take the joke

Q: What is big and grey and comes in quarts?
A: An elephant.

and state that the "big and grey and comes in quarts" is in fact a reference "to the supposed mammoth nature of black sexuality." Similarly, the joke about an elephant in the bathtub is argued to be a reference to the increased intrusion of black people into "the most intimate areas of white life."

  • 3
    what the hell is the "the joke about an elephant in the bathtub" ... !?!!? – Fattie May 11 '16 at 19:26
  • 3
    The elephant asks the penguin to pass the soap. And the penguin says not soap, radio. – Aaron McMillin May 11 '16 at 19:51
  • 1
    This is a very interesting theory, that elephant jokes are disguised racism. I wonder if there's any truth in it. There's something inherently funny about elephants, possibly just because they are so large and exotic, but perhaps it's our subconscious anxieties acting out. Paging Dr Freud! Perhaps we could look at jokes made up by people of african heritage and see what the incidence of elephants is - if they tend to use some other animal then there might be something in the theory. – Max Williams May 12 '16 at 10:41
  • 1
    @AaronMcMillin care to explain this joke? – marsh May 12 '16 at 17:36
  • 4
    @marsh: probably, no: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_soap_radio – sumelic May 15 '16 at 21:45

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.