First, Aidan Yetman-Michaelson ’14 was told to order crumbly bread. Then, he was instructed to ask for oil. Next, he had to demand that the sandwich not be cut. While oil was smeared on the bread, shout that there’s not enough oil, and call the employee by name. Lastly, stuff the purchased sandwich down the trash.
With this simple procedure, Yetman-Michaelson learned how best to annoy the employees of Subway Restaurant. He gathered these instructions, along with numerous knock-knock jokes and short anecdotes, as examples of humor from students.
When Yetman-Michaelson noticed that his math teacher, Christopher Gragg, was throwing out 500 cassette tapes, he took them and began recording jokes on them, approaching both people he knew and people he didn’t.
“I had a bunch of tapes and a lot of free time,” he said.
The most common joke Yetman-Michaelson heard was, “What did one lawyer say to the other lawyer?” the answer being, “We are both lawyers.” After hearing this joke repeatedly throughout the day, he came across a classmate who changed the response of the joke to be, “Don’t be silly, lawyers can’t talk.”
“That’s not a funny joke,” Yetman-Michaelson said. “After listening to it about 50 times, [this version] started to be funny.”
Yetman-Michaelson used only one full tape for his recordings and interviewed about 100 people. He intends to use one or two more of the hundreds of cassette tapes to recreate a similar project with strangers at The Grove. A few more of the tapes will be used for him and his friend to record “avant-garde, cutting-edge, experimental” music.
Yetman-Michaelson and his father, English teacher Jeremy Michaelson, listened to the tape in the car ride home. He is also considering playing the jokes on his KHWS radio show.