Thanksgiving is a time for good things: Good food, good company, good laughs.
And so, let’s take a look at some of the best turkey-centric goofs and gags for 2023. They’re so good, you’ll gobble them up! They’re sure to elicit a Pil-grin! They’ll have you laughing whether you’re sober as a priest, or cranberry sauced!
Additionally, with the understanding that comedy is subjective and doesn’t always age gracefully, we’ve included historical discussion points underneath each joke in the hopes of starting a thoughtful dialogue. Gobble gobble!
If the Mayflower brought the Pilgrims, what brought their dogs? The Collie-flower!
What makes this joke so fun is that it tiptoes right up to the edge, then pulls back right before it goes too far. It’s like a Lily Tomlin special, or the first half of Bill Maher saying something.
What do you call the ghost of a turkey? A poultry-geist!
First introduced in the since-banned liner notes from Sam Kinison’s 1988 album Have You Seen Me Lately?, this classic slice of shock comedy was banned in 46 out of 48 states in the continental U.S. for being too explicit.
Why are turkeys always grumbling? They’re in a fowl mood!
Originally written as a tag for George Carlin’s “Seven Words You Can’t Say on Television,” this joke was cut from the final draft for fear that the provocateur would be arrested for lude and lascivious conduct.
What kind of dessert sticks to the wall? Pie-der Man!
This line got Lenny Bruce arrested at the Gate of Horn folk club in Chicago on December 5, 1962.
What do you call roasted vegetables that run from the kitchen to the table? Hustle Sprouts!
In 1942, at the height of his stardom, Jack Benny financed and starred in a fully-produced motion picture adaptation of this joke. His father, concerned with the subject matter and how it might affect the public’s perception of the war in Europe, at first refused to attend the picture, calling it “senseless” and “damaging.” After some gentle cajoling, he was convinced to attend a \screening, and soon became Hustle Sprouts’ biggest fan, seeing it over a dozen times and calling it one of the most effective pieces of wartime satire he’d ever witnessed.
Has this meat juice been listening to Joe Rogan? It’s so baste!
For anyone that thinks Gen Z has killed comedy by being “too sensitive,” check and mate.
How did the turkey get to Thanksgiving? He rode the gravy train!
Louis Alfred Székely is remembered for a lot of things these days, but perhaps nothing more than his “Turkeys ride a gravy train” routine, which won him two of his three Peabody awards.
Why did the turkey’s dad make him eat nothing but stale bread? To stuffin’ him up!
It is a common misconception that Oscar Wilde’s incarceration on charges of gross indecency were tied to his romantic trysts. In truth, the accusations stemmed from Wilde’s use of the joke “Why did the turkey’s dad make him eat nothing but stale bread? To stuffin’ him up!” as the first-draft dramatic climax of The Importance of Being Earnest. The joke, left for Wilde on a calling card by the Marquess of Queensbury, was deemed “damaging to the public interest,” and Wilde was sentenced to an existence of “hard labor, hard fare and a hard bed.” His time in prison had a profound effect on the writer, but he never stopped weaving golden strands of Thanksgiving comedy into his observations on everyday life. On November 30 of 1900, he is said to have stated “Take the wallpaper or leave it, it’s all gravy to me” before dying of meningitis.
Why did the turkey cross the road? He was trying to convince people he was a chicken!
Pressured via threats of legal action by Decca Records to release one more single before terminating their contract, the Rolling Stones begrudgingly wrote “Schoolboy Blues,” a purposely puerile, borderline-atonal symphony of the offensive. The original recording was made up almost entirely of the above joke, until Keith Richards pointed out that they had gone too far this time. Prints of the first cut, published exclusively in West Germany, remain a highly sought-after collector’s item to this day.
These used to be plain old cranberries. Now, they’re a flying sauce-er! (throw cranberry sauce across the room)
This one’s good because it gets you out of having to go to Thanksgiving with your new boyfriend’s family ever again.