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What is the origin and/or original meaning of the joke when somebody gives an out-of-place "Yes" answer to a specific question?

Examples:

Engineer: "How large should the rims be on the new model?"
Audi: "Yes"

Buddy: "How much weed are you taking with you?"
Snoop Dogg: "Yes"

and so on.

And while these are often funny, the exact meaning of the joke escapes me. Where did it come from, and what is the exact meaning or implication, if any?

P.S. Please do not reply "Yes" to my question.

UPDATE

After some digging elsewhere, I do believe it came from an old TV show or something. I recall it even in an episode of The Benny Hill Show, which went something like this: "Which of the girls would you take on a date?". Benny - "Yes!".

I'm beginning to think that the joke is meant to imply that the person who answers is so ecstatic and preoccupied about the subject of the question that he ignores the question itself. At least this would seem consistent across all the situations that I encountered.

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    None of those are responses that I can see anybody making, even as a joke. They don't make any sense, and they aren't a play on words. (So, I simply find them puzzling rather than funny.) The closest version I can think of as a joke—which is different from what you have—is something like "What would you like for dessert, ice cream or cake?" "Yes." – Jason Bassford Jul 7 '19 at 23:51
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    @JasonBassford How often do watch YouTube? :) I see this type of joke there almost on the daily. And not only there. I'm guessing the implication of either being high or stupid, or not speaking the language well, I'm not sure which one, because I do not know the origin of the joke. That's why I asked it here. – vitaly-t Jul 7 '19 at 23:54
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    All I can say is I have never heard of yes being used in this way to tell a joke. If anybody thinks it's funny, then it's simply beyond me. Perhaps it's considered funny in the same scatological way that farting is considered funny to schoolkids. In other words, it's a completely random response that stands on its own and has no contextual reference to anything. Yes would make as much sense (to me, none) as no, maybe, or banana. – Jason Bassford Jul 8 '19 at 0:08
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    It's all subjective. Maybe somebody with ears closer to the ground will come along, or just younger :) I often feel too old to understand what the youth is talking about these days. – vitaly-t Jul 8 '19 at 0:12
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    @vitaly-t I’m someone who spends much more time than I care to admit on YouTube, Twitter, etc. (including a fair few pleasures that could only be considered non-guilty in someone half my age), and I’ve never heard or seen this type of ‘joke’ either. Can you give some examples? – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 8 '19 at 14:01
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I'm 67 years old and use "yes" in this context somewhat frequently. It's not a joke, but a humorous response, and it's not restricted to young people or internet use at all. It means that the question itself is somewhat humorous, given the specific person being asked. It also means that the answer is larger or more of the characteristic being questioned than you would expect. The responder is going to be smiling when saying, "Yes!"

Example: Person 1: How much ice cream do you want? Person 2: Yes! (Start scooping and keep going until you fill up the bowl or I tell you to stop.)

Another Example: Person 1: Do you want a Jaguar or a Lamborghini for your free prize car? Person 2: Yes! (My desire for either is so great that I'll take either one.)

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    In the second example, couldn't the "yes" also mean that the respondent wants both cars? – August Karlstrom Sep 30 at 13:24
  • OP also asks about the origin of the comic response. Benny Hill may indeed be the culprit. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 7 at 14:21
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I agree with Jason's comments, that these responses sound (if humorous) are supposed to be interpreted similar to a question where one option is supposed to be chosen from many (usu. with implied mutual exclusivity):

What would you like for dessert, ice cream or cake?

Yes. (Implying that I don't want one option, but rather all options)

By answering with purposefully incorrect English, the speaker is trying to give a humorous response.


It seems like an extension of that, for example in the first one:

Engineer: "How large should the rims be on the new model?"

Audi: "Yes"

I take it to mean "Yes, they should be very large, so large that they are almost indescribably/ridiculous for the context". This does not have the implication that the speaker is "high/stupid/not able to speak the language well" in this case, but rather that the speaker is trying to describe an "indescribable" aspect. So instead of giving a proper answer, they give a "joke" answer.

This kind of joke would be strange in this case, since the rims of a car can only be so big. It might apply better to someone designing a Monster Truck, and asking how big they should make the wheels. For example if the engineer is used to designing regular cars that are much smaller, then the person saying this would be implying "way, way bigger than you expect". It is still not the best use of the joke however.


In the second one:

Buddy: "How much weed are you taking with you?"

Snoop Dogg: "Yes"

I would say that this is supposed to imply that the speaker is "high" (mostly because being Snoop Dogg already has that implication). But there is also the implication, since the Buddy asks "how large of an amount", that the answer has an implied "So much weed that it's ridiculous".


In general, I would say that it sounds pretty characteristic of young people "Internet Speak", of people trying to apply a format of a joke they see often in other circumstances. In cases where a "degree" question is asked instead of between a few options, the implication is usually too such a high degree that it is indescribable/funny/ridiculous.

However, most of the humor comes from being it being a reference to the original joke format, rather than being funny by itself. It sounds like what my 10 year-old cousin might use when talking with his friends about Minecraft/Fortnite/whatever else they come up with.

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  • So the origin is unknown then? I thought it came like from an old TV show or something. I recall it even in Benny Hill Show, which was something like this - "Which of the girls would you take on a date?". Benny - "Yes!". – vitaly-t Jul 8 '19 at 14:44
  • I've added an update to my question. – vitaly-t Jul 8 '19 at 17:41
  • I've encountered this type of "yes" response a number of times, and occasionally said it myself. It is intended humorously, but I wouldn't describe it as a "joke" in that I don't think it is supposed to be that funny - aimed more at drawing a smile then a full laugh. I would not interpret the weed example as the speaker getting it wrong because they're already high, I would interpret it the same as the a Audi example, that they want the maximum possible rim size and will be taking as much weed as they can get their hands on. – nnnnnn Dec 27 '19 at 6:14
  • There actually is a joke embedded in the Audi case, at Audi’s expense, and what it’s mocking adds context so that this niche/meme use of “yes” works without needing to be about monster trucks. If you do an image search for audi rims, you’ll see that the rims on actual Audis are so wide relative to the tire size that there is almost no tire visible from the side. The non–monster truck limit is the radius of the tire; the joke is that Audi’s real rim to tire ratio is already a ridiculous extreme, as if this use of “yes” is how they were actually design-specced. – Robin Dec 27 '19 at 8:01
  • Answer to a or b question with a yes may also mean the respondent is treating the question as logical proposition, implying they you don't care which one or any of the choices is as correct as any other. This happens usually in engineering circles and is funny because it is subvervise, yet correct. Answer to ho much x? is a meme. I don't know about the interpretation you provide but it also may be just a case of misuse just as 'exception that proves the rule' is misused by ignorance. – Jan Matějka Jul 25 at 2:59
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Is this a flip of the zen use of wu (or mu) meaning "there is no answer to that question"?

A monk asked Zhaozhou Congshen, a Chinese Zen master (known as Jōshū in Japanese), "Has a dog Buddha-nature or not?" Zhaozhou answered, "Wú" (in Japanese, Mu)

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mu_(negative)

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    This seems a little too speculative to serve as an answer here. – KillingTime Jul 1 at 8:51
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    It seems to me that in both examples, there is an answer to the question and person responding does know the answer - Snoop Dog certainly knew the answer. – Greybeard Jul 1 at 10:05
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The essence of humour is incongruity followed by the realisation of the reason for the incongruity.

A: "How large should the rims be on the new model?" B: "Yes"

A: "How much weed are you taking with you?" B: "Yes"

Both of the above are incongruous - the answer appears to be a non-sequitur until the listener/witness/audience to the conversation realises that two lines have been omitted from each conversation because B has anticipated A's next question and answered it directly.

A: "How large should the rims be on the new model?"
B: "Twenty-four inches"
A: "Wow! that's huge, isn't it?
B: "Yes"

A: "How much weed are you taking with you?"
B: "500 grams"
A: "Wow! that's a huge amount, isn't it?
B: "Yes"

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  • It could also be a reply to the (left out) previous question "Should the new model have extra large rims?" and "Will you bring weed?" respectively. – August Karlstrom Sep 30 at 13:32
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I don't really think it necessarily has a specific origin.

My impression is that the whole idea behind this "meme" or "joke" is that you answer a question of quantity or measurement with a binary answer: yes/no (or '1'/'0' in computers) meaning that the person being asked the question wants absolutely a hundred percent of what they are being asked about and nothing less than 100%.

Another way to interpret it would be that since the answer is so useless, the person who receives such an answer has no clue how much to give, so they do everything in their power to satisfy the term. For example: "How many pizzas should we order for the party tomorrow? 'Yes' "....

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It's from the 2018 Freaky Friday music video by Lil-Dicky ft Chris Brown, a Japanese man was asked which one of some two dishes of food were his preference, then he simply answered: "yes" instead of choosing between the two.

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    Welcome! Answering "yes" in this manner predates that music video by many years. – nnnnnn Dec 27 '19 at 6:07

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