Little Audrey Jokes

During the 1930s, a genre of cruel jokes became popular known as "Little Audrey" jokes. The short jokes were usually pretty macabre, involving various fatal events happening to people. They also featured the catch phrase that Little Audrey "just laughed and laughed".

In rare cases the bad stuff happened to Little Audrey and then people laughed and laughed at her.

You can find some more info about Little Audrey (and more jokes) in B.A. Botkin's book The American People: Stories, Legends, Tales, Traditions, and Songs.

A few of the jokes:
One day Little Audrey and her mother were driving along when all of a sudden the car door flew open and Little Audrey's mother fell out. Little Audrey just laughed and laughed, 'cause she knew all the time that her mother had on her light fall suit.

Little Audrey and her grandma were standing on their front porch watching the men pave their street. There was a cement mixer, a steam roller, and all kinds of things to watch. All of a sudden grandma saw a quarter out there right in the middle of the street. She dashed right out to get it, but just as she picked it up along came that old steam roller and rolled her out flatter than a sheet of theme paper. Little Audrey just laughed and laughed, 'cause she knew all the time it was only a dime.

Little Audrey was playing with matches. Mama said, "Ummm, you better not do that." But Little Audrey was awful hard-headed; she kept right on playing with matches, and after a while she set the house on fire, and it burned right down to the ground. Mama and Little Audrey were looking at the ashes, and mama said, "Uh huh, I told you so! Now, young lady, just wait until your papa comes home. You certainly will catch it!" Little Audrey just laughed and laughed. She knew all the time that papa had come home an hour early and had gone to bed to take a nap.

Little Audrey was standing on the corner just a-crying and a-crying, when along comes a cop, who said, "Little Audrey, why are you crying?" And Little Audrey said, "Oh, I've lost my papa!" The cop said, "Why Little Audrey, I wouldn't cry about that. There's your papa right across the street leaning against that bank building." Little Audrey was overjoyed; without even looking at the traffic she started across the street. Along came a big two-ton truck that ran over Little Audrey and killed her dead. The cop just laughed and laughed. He knew all the time that that was not Little Audrey's papa leaning against the bank building.
     Posted By: Alex - Mon Feb 10, 2014
     Category: 1930s | Jokes

Doesn't comedy require a bit of cruelty at the center?

Although hard to define, I see comedy as the twist that occurs in normal situations that catches me off guard. It may not be something so mundane as a man slipping on a banana peel, but Curley Howard getting raked across the skull with a crosscut saw can send me into hysterics. Audrey knowing that the "quarter" that is the cause of Grandma's demise is a reflection of the times the jokes were in vogue - the Great Depression when a quarter could buy one a full meal at a diner.

I did like the double entendre about the light fall suit from the first joke. That makes one think about the double meaning of the phrase. I look upon it as very witty use of the language.

Okay, rant over. You may return to your previously scheduled lives.
Posted by KDP on 02/10/14 at 10:20 AM
I've collected thousands of jokes over the years but passed on these as they are, in most cases, just too old to be fully understood even by old geezers like me. Now, 'baby' jokes, elephant jokes, blonde jokes, etc. I get.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 02/10/14 at 10:48 AM
There seems to be an absence of comedy in these. Perhaps this is why they went out of fashion and nobody talks of them these days?
Posted by dumbledoor on 02/10/14 at 12:02 PM
Macabre jokes of different kinds come and go. Back when I was a teen (eons ago) dead baby jokes were popular, such as- What's worse than a truckload of dead babies? A truckload of dead babies with a live one at the bottom eating its way out.- Gross I know but they were big back in the day.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 02/10/14 at 08:35 PM
Jeez, Expat. Now you're making me feel real old; I liked those jokes.
Posted by Harvey on 02/10/14 at 09:27 PM
Love the snark/smart Alec / hipster aspect!
"Clever" more than "funny" but entertaining!
Posted by GirlgeniusNYC on 02/11/14 at 05:28 PM
That joke book I had as a kid was full of Little Audrey jokes. Didn't realize they were quite that old...
Posted by Dave Plechaty on 02/20/14 at 04:31 AM
my Grandmother told me these and others when I was a child. while playing cards and I mis-played a trick, she'd warn me if we were on a riverboat I could get thrown overboard or shot.

good times, I still miss her. but such a different approach with children than today.
Posted by richard on 04/09/14 at 05:12 AM
but I remember the target of Audrey's evil being her little brother. in the versions I heard she told her brother there was a quarter in the street and he got plowed by a streetcar, and she sent her brother into the burning and collapsing house (living room specifically) since Papa was napping, knowing full well Papa was actually in the bedroom.
Posted by richard on 04/09/14 at 05:17 AM
Fix the Dark face complexion of Little Audrey Mother.
Give representation to the Black Community.
Little Audrey Mother is not a mime.
Posted by A. George Dave Prince on 04/14/14 at 04:48 PM
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