a Project of the Mockingbird Foundation

Performances Song History

The Prison Joke

Lyrics: John Fox

Vocals: Fishman

Original Artist: John Fox

Original Album: John Fox (1988)

Debut: 1991-04-11

Historian: Martin Acaster (Doctor_Smarty)

Perhaps one of the strangest Fishman cover “songs” is his version of stand up comedian John Fox’s classic “The Prison Joke” in the midst of the encore at The Cave at Carleton College (4/11/91). Although Fox is not a household name in the comedy world, his career has spanned over 30 years since his first performance at the World Famous Comedy Store (6/14/79). He has appeared on numerous television shows (Norm Crosby's Comedy Shop, Star Search, Make Me Laugh, Showtime's Comedy Network, appeared on Rodney Dangerfield’s HBO special, Opening Night at Rodneys Place, and was featured on the Redneck Comedy Roundup DVD with Jeff Foxworthy. Fox released “The Prison Joke” on his self-titled first album in 1988. Fish in telling the joke clearly demonstrated why he is a drummer rather than a comedian. 

Approximately two years after the original debacle (3/24/93 Santa Rosa, CA), “The Prison Joke” once again reared its ugly head. As Fish stepped to the microphone to perform “Terrapin” he was asked to tell the joke by a member of the audience. Fish declined and instead invited “Sam” on stage to do the dirty deed. He took the bait, told his version, and by Fish’s estimation got about three more laughs than he had. Fish then congratulated his new brother and asked if there was anybody else who wanted to tell a joke. “Nino” then came on stage and told his version of “The Prison Joke.” Which was “I’ve been in prison... and it sucks!”

A variation of “The Prison Joke” most recently appeared during Ricky Gervais’ guest spot (2/22/10) on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show. As evidenced by Jon Stewart’s response, Gervais proved Fishman’s assessment of his own version of the joke true; it is definitely “all in the delivery!”

Submit notes/corrections

You must be logged in to leave a comment!



Register | Forgot Password

greezy_fizeek Reply
greezy_fizeek Fish: Alright, the Prison Joke. This is, this is good... Anyone ever heard of John Fox...Alright, well there was this tape we got you know, you know we're driving miles and miles and miles and we, everytime you stop at one of those, ah, you know, those 24 hour marts and everything and gas. They, everyone, was looking over the tapes and they have this thing like "Truckers Comedy", you know, volume 1 and volume 2, volume 3. They all say, like rated x, adult humor and stuff. But, so there's these just tapes of dirty jokes. So there's this one really, pretty funny one, there just like this 1/2 pint guy and ah, how did it go.....Alright, you know, okay so I've only, only heard this joke like once or twice..but, ah, alright so there's this really small guy, like ?, skinny and everything. He was small and he goes to jail.. and he's in this, this, you know there's all these huge guys, you know, in line to go into prison. Then, ah, there's this, they put him in a cell with this huge guy. He's like 250 lb. guy, you know, huge monster of a guy and all day he's like really, you know he's like really afraid and he's like timid and hanging in the corner and, ah, you know, everything goes okay, you know, no one's, no one gets hurt or anything. So they go to bed, go to sleep. He's sleeping in the top bunk, the little guy and the other guys sleeping in the bottom bunk and, ah...about 3 O'clock in the morning the big guy downstairs, he wakes...pokes at the bottom of the bed he goes(in a deep voice) "Hey, wanna play house? I wanna play house," and he says, the guy goes, "You wanna be the man or the wife?" and the [Fish chuckles] and the [chuckles again] and the little 1/2 pint guy's like(in a wimpy voice), "I wanna be the man" and he goes (deep voice) "then come on down here and suck your wife's dick!" [Laughs] Alright, well alright, alright, third person joke. It's all in the delivery [HYHU begins] that's why I'm not a comedian. That's why I play drums and I, I play the vacuum cleaner. That's about all I know, but, ah, I guess some other time.
Score: 1
elderlyfemale Reply
elderlyfemale can someone transcribe the prison joke?
Score: 0
Login Register