Offended by husband’s dirty jokes

Published 10:59 am Monday, May 13, 2024

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Dear Aunty Pam,


I sure hope you can help me.

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My husband and I have downsized and moved to a lovely new area. I’m enjoying volunteering and meeting new friends. My husband also has an outgoing personality, but each day, I live in fear he is going to alienate our new friends and neighbors with the jokes he tells. They are dirty—really dirty, and one of the reasons I wanted to move away from where we used to live is because his jokes made people uncomfortable to the point that very few socialized with us.

Mike thinks I’m being a prude, and his jokes are funny, but they’re not. They’re just gross. What can I do to get him to knock it off?



Frustrated wife


Dear Wife,


It’s a funny thing…(pun intended): as a comedian, I can tell you jokes are extremely subjective—what some people find hilarious, others shrug and say, ‘Meh…’ 

But what all comedians know how to do is to ‘read a room.’ I, for example, am going to perform a completely different set of material for a white-collar corporate event than I am for a third show on Saturday night in Vegas, when half the audience is drunk or just lost their kids’ college funds at the craps table.

It appears that Mike has no idea how to read a room, or simply a face, when he launches into a dirty joke. And listen—it’s not just Mike! I can’t tell you how many corporate gigs I’ve done in which my agent forewarned, ‘Make sure you do a squeaky clean set; this is a super conservative crowd and the CEO will be in the audience.’ Only to have that very CEO introduce himself to me after the show, shake my hand and compliment my performance, then proceed to tell me a joke so filthy even Redd Foxx wouldn’t have used it in his act.

I do think that firmly telling Mike how offensive you find his jokes, not to mention how inappropriate they are, is in order. You might even consider couples counseling to help get to the root of this issue and why Mike belittles your embarrassment. And if I were you, I would also warn him that you intend to speak up against him if he does it again. If you’re invited to dinner at a new neighbor’s and he launches into his X-rated act, speak up firmly. Interrupt him and say something to the effect of, ‘Folks, I have asked Mike to stop telling dirty jokes—especially to new friends like you. If you’d like him to stop, please say so now, or forever hold your peace.’ That’s both funny and rids you of any responsibility for his boorish behavior.

It’s either that or fit him with a choke chain.


Cheers, dears!!

Aunty Pam