Posted in English

Let Us Now Learn From Absolute Bellends

So according to my socials this morning, this comedian guy has been thrown off Instagram for making a Barbie joke. Let’s pick it apart and extract the juicy vocabulary goodness within.

“A Mattel lançou uma Barbie com Trissomia 21, uma edição especial. Não é uma ideia original, toda a gente sabe que os chineses já vendem bonecas com defeito”

The what now?

Trissomia rang a bell but I couldn’t quite place it so I looked it up, but of course I should have just read the text below, because it’s explained there: Downs Syndrome. Oof. OK, well if you’re going to go there, you’d better make it a good joke, because people don’t tend to be very sympathetic if you’re just going to be pointlessly spiteful and cruel.

The joke hinges on the word “Defeito”. I looked it up in some Brazilian and portuguese dictionaries to see if there was a meaning of defeito that would make it gel into a joke. For example, is “defeito” a standard, non-insulting way to describe a learning disability? If so, it would still be a shitehawk joke, but at least we’d be able to see that he was going for an actual double-meaning and the the joke would just about work as a critique of Chinese manufacturing. It doesn’t seem to be though. Learning disability in portuguese is “deficiência mental”, which, if you translate it to its english cognates still sounds pretty off but obviously words have slightly different weights in different cultures, so I can only assume it doesn’t sound insulting to native speakers. When I look up “pessoas com defeitos”, all the listings relate to people who are arrogant or lazy or have some other character defect. So it doesn’t really work. I get that he’s having a pop at Chinese manufacturing but in the process I think he’s just saying people with Down’s are defective. Which just seems cruel to me.

So yeah, it’s just a shitehawk joke. I don’t think he should have been thrown off Instagram for it though. People like Jimmy Carr and Frankie Boyle have been making shittier jokes than that for years and they never seem to be short of work. Of course their jokes are also quite well crafted, so there’s that.

Instagram could have just left it there and let the lack of laughs and the virtual heckles act as their own negative reinforcement mechanism, but that’s not how it played out.

Posted in English

As Someone…

…who likes to prance about pretending to be a scientist, even though my degrees are in barely, tangentially scientific subjects, I enjoy reading this twitter account. It’s Brazilian, so I have to keep my wits about me, but the memes are actually pretty funny, even if about one in ten go completely over my head. And as a bonus, I get familiar with sciencey words without having to torture myself by working through a memrise deck of chemistry terminology or whatever.

Posted in English

Ana Galvão

Someone told me that, given my proclivity for puns, I should check out Ana Galvão.

There are some videos online of her in a room and they are very dad-jokish, so if you like that, you might like this, but if you don’t, look away now, because this is just raw punnage from start to finish. I’ve put explanations below, partly to make myself understand them and partly for anyone who shares my love of crap jokes but maybe can’t follow what’s being said. I struggled a bit with some of them. If anyone thinks I’ve got any wrong, let me know in the comments!

She’s one of the co-hosts on this show, As Três de Manhã, so she’s not the person in the main frame of the video (That’s Joana Marques – even I know that) but she’s in the bottom-right corner, on the left.


Q. What do you call an epic shop that sells persianas (blinds or shutters on a house)?

A. Adamaestores – what? OK, Adamastor is like a giant sea monster who appears in Camões’s epic Os Lusíadas. It’s big, so I guess that explains the “epic” bit. Store explains the shop but but what does adamae have to do with shutters? A da Mãe? Do only mothers like blinds? I don’t get it. Nah, I was really “a bater na porta errada” with this one. Estores are shutters. So it’s just a pun on Adamastor and estores.


(Talking about someone called Lady Betty) In this case, I’m an analfabetty. Analfabeta means illiterate.


Q. What would the São Silvestre (a running race in Brazil) be called if all the participants were big strong men?

A. São Silvestre Stallone. Easy one.


So when you say I drink crazy teas… A crazy tea is a chálupa

Chá is tea of course, and I’ve talked about the word chalupa in a previous post.


Q. Do you know what you call someone who writes hate on the Internet and eats minty chocolate?

A. An After-Hater. Probably easy although I didn’t know they sold after eights in Portugal!


I want to introduce you to the father of João Paulo Sousa. It’s João “Pai-lo” Sousa, just a splice of Pai with Paulo.


“No melhor pano cai a Sancha” As Joana says, this doesn’t make sense but it’s based in an expression: no melhor pano cai a nódoa” Which means The stain lands on the best cloth. It’s a sort of pessimistic phrase like “the toast always lands butter side down”


Q. If I had a tea shop that was mine, what would it be called?

A. TisAna Galvão. Tisana is an infusion like a tea or herbal… Concoction.


Q. (Talking about the decline in coaching as coaches lose their clients) And do you know where the coaches will go when they no longer have clients?

A. To the museum of coaches.

O Museu Nacional de Coches is a real place, but it displays horse-drawn carriages, not life coaches.

There’s another video here but they’ve disabled embedding so I can’t post the whole thing. Here’s a breakdown:


Joana: It’s all dazzling for Emanuel. Now then, Ana, “Deslumbrante”

Ana: “Lumbrante”. (Deslumbrante means “dazzling” but it works as a dad joke because it sounds like “Diz ‘lumbrante'”)


Joana: Well, there’s chouriço-flavoured tea

Ana: Chá-riço


Caller: It’s a question of character, isn’t it, ending a marriage of 12 years by email

Ana: it’s not about character, it’s about characters.


Some slightly confused stuff about “Mick de Câmara Pereira” (pun on Mico de Câmara Pereira, a fadista who comes from a very aristocratic and well-connected family, as far as I can tell. I’d never heard of the bloke before, but that’s what Zé Google tells me, anyway)


Q. What do you call the automobile stand of a magician?

A. Car Tola.

A Cartola is a top hat. Car is obvious. Tola can mean a few different things. Usually when you see it it’s the feminine version of “tolo” meaning fool or foolish. It can also mean kinds of wood. Stand de automóveis can be a car showroom, but a stand more generally is usually used for a stand at an expo or a fair so I guess we’re thinking wood, wooden table, dais… Something like that. Oof. Hard work, this one!


Joana: He got a hug from Bruce Springsteen

Ana: You’d better believe it! An “Abruce” (just a pun on abraço and Bruce, obviously!)


There’s a tea-house in Alentejo. It’s called the Chá-Parro. Chaparro is a kind of small oak. There are restaurants called Chaparro in Alentejo, but I guess just because a lot grow there, maybe farmed for their bark, to use as corks.

Well, you’ve made it to the end. I admire your fortitude.

Posted in English, Portuguese

Piadas Secas

I tried to make a joke in a discussion about a previous post and it didn’t work so here’s a very laboured discussion of when and whether “In Soviet Russia” jokes can work in portuguese. It was always going to be a challenging text and, sure enough, I made lots of errors. For me, the tricky part if how to emphasise the reversal at the end. I want it to land hard on the “you” at the end. I’m sure I’ve seen this done in portuguese by doubling up in the pronoun – like “Parece-me a mim…” but I don’t think I really stuck the landing on any of these attempts.

Este texto é uma tentativa de recriar uma piada antiga. Tentei copiar o formato duma resposta a um comentário da Dani, mas acho que não funciona.

Em inglês, o modelo é assim (imaginem que o falante é um russo num programa americano). “Here in America, is very good, everyone watch television. In old country, television watch you!”(1)

Muitos destas piadas não funcionam se forem traduzidas literalmente: “Nos Estados Unidos podes sempre encontrar uma festa. Na Rússia, o partido encontra-te sempre a ti” é engraçado em inglês porque “festa” e “partido” traduzem-se ambos* como “party”, mas em português, nem por isso.

O mais difícil, acho eu, é como enfatizar a inversão dos pronomes. Acho que preciso de usar a forma Verbo hífen pronome indireto [a] pronome subjetivo. Vamos experimentar alguns…

“Nos Estados Unidos, toda a gente vê televisão. Na Rússia** Soviética a televisão vê-te a ti”

Ou talvez “…vê-nos a nós”

No Reino Unido, comem-se nabos. Na Rússia, os nabos comem-te comem-vos a você

Ou talvez “…tu comes nabos…” ***

Hum… A forma “você” parece demasiado formal para uma piada…?

Em Portugal não se tem bico-de-obra, bico-de-obra tem-te a ti****.

Em português, conjugam-se os verbos. Na Rússia soviética, os verbos conjugam-te a ti.

O que acham? O Bruno Nogueira anda preocupado que eu roubo-lhe o emprego?

(1) A conjugação do verbo em inglês está errada, mas vou ignorar. Se as minhas flexões todas estão erradas, não é deliberado, é um lapso.

* Ambos (“both”) goes after the verb, unlike in English.

**The corrector suggested changing this to ‘na União Sovietica’ which is technically right, but I think the joke format tends to be “In Soviet Russia”, not “In the Soviet Union”

*** Although você is formal, it can be used in jokes if the formality is relevant to the situation. It would have been better in the tu form though.

**** This was the original joke I tried to make, leading to my deciding to write this post. When I first tried it, in the reddit comments under a previous text, it looked like this:

And in case you’re wondering who João Neves is, well, translate his name…