Q. How many kerrymen does it take to change a light bulb?

A. 100! 1 to hold the light bulb… 99 to rotate the house.


I’m sad to report that these tired old light bulb jokes may well be rendered obsolete with the introduction of Peg. (Nothing to do with Peig, the evil wench who ruined Leaving Cert Irish for 40 years.)

Peg is a prototype light-fixture designed by Steffi Min. She is based in Brooklyn and created the fixture as part of her Industrial Design thesis. The system uses a simple clamp mechanism found in a clothes peg rather than the traditional twist socket utilized in most North American household lights.

And I think it is pretty neat.

Of course having an incandescent bulb in a wooden fixture probably isn’t the smartest thing in the world (hi there mr. house fire, how have you been?), but throw up 6 or 7 of these pegs in series along a nice thick “clothes-line” patterned cable, add some low wattage bulbs, 35w would do, and you’d have a pretty awesome lighting setup for your hipster bedroom or deck. If any Urban Outfitters buyers are reading this, I don’t need any money for providing ideas to help you do your job, a gift voucher would suffice.

And lets not bother getting into the pros and cons of the Edison Screw E-26 base against its European counterpart, the bayonet cap. I know which one is better – hint.

Who needs a ladder?

See, I may have been relegated to only being a cool red-shirted hardware guy on Saturdays, but I still like to stay *current* with electrical safety and developments. Groan.

Anyway, all this got me reading up on the old light bulb joke. I would wager it may fall just behind Knock, Knock and How did the chicken cross the road in terms of international notoriety and ability to illicit a forced toothy smile or awkward giggle.

“The Light Bulb Joke” is believed to have its origins in the late 1960s with a Polish variation on the Kerryman joke featured in this posts title. [see: An Unreliable History of the Lightbulb Joke – and yes this is an angelfire webpage, #oldschool]

Q. How many Poles does it take to change a light bulb?
A. Eleven, one to hold the bulb, and ten to turn the ladder.

This was deemed to be ethnically offensive and didn’t really catch on – those damn Polacks really need to grow thicker skin. It was only when the joke was tweaked to poke fun at groups less likely to take offense, think Californians, Mancunians and Kerrymen, that it became a true phenomenon.

Now some would argue the confusion with CFL, LED and fluorescent lighting means there is no longer any shame in being confused by the act of changing a bulb, [see: Goodbye Light Bulb Jokes], but we’ll see where we are in ten years time before declaring the trend dead. To be honest, it’s been a while since I saw any poultry standing at a set of traffic lights waiting for a break in the traffic, so haven’t been able to enquire about the impact of industrial development on a joke’s popularity.

To finish off, here are my ten favourite light bulb jokes. They will not make you laugh. I hope.

Q. How many Marxists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A. None. The light bulb contains the seeds of its own revolution.

Q. How many existentialists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A. Two. One to screw it in and one to observe how the light bulb itself symbolizes a single incandescent beacon of subjective reality in a netherworld of endless absurdity reaching out toward a maudlin cosmos of nothingness.

Q. How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb?
A. None. The light bulb must want to change.

Q. How many fashion designers does it take to change a light bulb?
A. None – they just mount a huge advertising campaign proclaiming that this year “BLACK” is in.

Q. How many jugglers does it take to change a light bulb?
A. One. But it takes at least four light bulbs.

Q. How many people from Limerick does it take to change a light bulb?
A. Three. One to change the light bulb, one to be a witness, and the third to shoot the witness.

Q. One.
A. How many mind-readers does it take to change a light bulb? – think about it!

Q. How many “pro-lifers” does it take to change a light bulb?
A. Six. Two to screw in the bulb and four to testify that it was lit from the moment they began screwing.

Q. How many members of the Bush administration does it take to change a light bulb?
A. Six. One to deny that a light bulb needs to be changed; One to attack the patriotism of anyone who says the light bulb needs to be changed; One to blame Clinton for burning out the light bulb; One to arrange the invasion of a country rumored to have a secret stockpile of light bulbs; One to arrange a photograph of Bush, dressed as a janitor, standing on a step ladder under the banner: Light Bulb Change Accomplished; And finally one to confuse Americans about the difference between screwing a light bulb and screwing the country.

Q. How many boring people does it take to change a light bulb?
A. Just one.

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