how many hipsters does it take to change a light bulb?

< Previous | Next >

myratara

Member
Korean
I've read the novel tiltled <The Chain> by Adrian McKinty.
There was a joke told by one of the characters and it was "How many hipsters does it take to change a light bulb?"
And the answer was "it' a pretty obscure number, you've probably never heard of it."

I think that joke is sarcastic about hipsters but I don't know why it is a joke or why I am supposed to laugh about it.
Could anyone explain why it is a funny joke?
Thanks in advance.
Have a nice day.
 
  • Chez

    Senior Member
    English English
    Hi myratara and welcome

    You know that if you have to explain a joke, there's no way it will seem funny don't you?

    There is a whole series of jokes in English that go: 'How many X does it take to change a lightbulb?", where the X represents types of people, professions, nationalities or other categories, so it is a well-known joke format. The answer always involves something that that group of people is (in)famous for.

    Hipsters classically like to think they are ahead of everyone else in knowing about new and obscure trends in food, clothes, drinks, beard styles etc etc.
    Therefore, the answer 'It's a pretty obscure number, you've probably never heard of it' is supposed to be a typical answer if you ask a hipster abut anything (he is so superior that he knows something you won't have heard of yet).

    It particularly pokes fun at hipsters because how can there be a number that others haven't heard of yet? Numbers are numbers – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc – they cannot be 'obscure' or unknown or trendy or hip.

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha!
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Hello, myratara. Welcome to the forum!

    "Hip" is old slang for "cool", which is slang for "special". A "hipster" is a "cool person", in old slang.

    The adjective "hip to" is slang meaning "knowing about". For example: Are you hip to the latest trends? = Do you know what the latest trends are?

    So the joke is "you don't know the number, because you are not hip enough to know".

    (cross-posted, but different information)
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Could anyone explain why it is a funny joke?
    Hmm, I think it is pushing it a bit to say that it is funny.

    "It's a pretty obscure number, you've probably never heard of it" is the sort of thing a hipster is expected to say, perhaps in response to the question "What is your favourite song". I think I would take "number" to mean song, tune or record here. Of course, a hipster wouldn't profess to like anything that was actually popular (or that other people had heard of).

    However, a "number" of a different sort is the answer to the common joke "How many X does it take to change a lightbulb?"
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    I did actually smile at this joke.

    if you want to explore this genre of joke more fully, look here.
    Lightbulbs

    The level of actual “humour” in any of these is slim. No-one falls about in hysterics at lightbulb jokes. The basic « laugh » in all of them is highlighting, or mocking, a characteristic of the bulb-changer, be that a hipster, social worker, zen master or WR forero.

    Q « how many English Only Foreros does it take to change a lightbulb ? »
    Answer: Eight; one to quickly change the bulb, one to check the American vs British wattage and six to take it out and put it back more slowly.
     

    much_rice

    Senior Member
    English - American
    « how many English Only Foreros does it take to change a lightbulb ? »
    Answer: 8; one to quickly change the bulb, one to check the American vs British wattage and 6 to take it out and put it back more slowly.
    :D:D
    Don't forget the one who starts pulling apart lamps on the other side of the house because he didn't read which lightbulb needed changing.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    By the way, to my knowledge, the original answer was "three; one to hold the lightbulb and two to turn their legs." Since then, the joke has evolved and birthed a whole slew of variants with different answers.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top