A Fed Chief, Car Czar and Rabbi Walk Into a Bar...

The recession has provided a lot of fodder for comic relief. From joke sites to chat rooms, everyone it seems has a joke about the economy.


Emily Farrell decided to try her hand at stand-up comedy after she was recently laid off—on her birthday, over the phone, on the way home from her husband’s funeral.

“I was cooking, the knife slipped and I nicked an artery,” Farrell joked. “I'm very angry that I wasn’t fast enough to capture the blood to sell it."

"We should have known the economy was screwed when Deal or No Deal began airing—That's a show about a banker giving away other people's money, then trying to buy it back with more of other people's money,” said Harrison Greenbaum, a stand-up comedian with a degree from Harvard University, who has performed at every major comedy club in New York, including Comix and Caroline's.

“There's a reason you only see the banker in silhouette,” Greenbaum explained. “It's because he's Bernie Madoff."

Here are a few more zingers to try out at the watercooler — and some tips for writing your own!

The Economy Is So Bad…How Bad Is It? You gotta love a "How bad is it?" joke. There was never a more perfect time for Johnny Carson's famous format. Here, one blogger has compiled 55 "The Economy Is So Bad" jokes, including:

“The economy is so bad, I saw the CEO of Wal-Mart shopping at Wal-Mart .”

“The economy is so bad, Obama met with three small businesses to discuss his Stimulus Plan— GM, Pfizer , and Citigroup .”

“The economy is so bad, that I bought a toaster oven and my free gift with purchase was a bank.”

Wow, that’s so bad … it’s good!

Tonight's Top 10: Recession Jokes. And who doesn't love a top 10 list? One lawyer-to-be has compiled a list of the Top 10 Recession Jokes, plus a glossary of terms for this brave new economic world.

"What's the difference between a pigeon and an investment banker? The pigeon can still make a deposit on a BMW.”

“BULL MARKET = A random market movement causing an investor to mistake himself for a financial genius.”

“BEAR MARKET = A 6- to 18-month period when the kids get no allowance, the wife gets no jewelry.”

Funny? Guilty as charged!

What the Pros Say. From David Letterman to the Daily Show, all the pros have done jokes on the economy. "Joke Central," a virtual "joke-opedia," has done us the service of compiling them all in one place.

“Good news, everybody. That house you couldn't pay for? You're paying for it. The House on Friday passed the $700 billion Wall Street bailout package. President Bush then signed the bill into law after consulting with his economic advisers, M.C. Hammer, Ed McMahon and Willie Nelson.” — Seth Meyer, Saturday Night Live

Of course, it takes a little trial and error — telling a recession joke isn't that easy. In “How to Tell a Recession Joke,” New York magazine queried a dozen famous comedians, with mixed results. One of the best pieces of advice from the article came from Sarah Benincasa, who said, “avoid derogatory references to bindles, cans of beans, and riding the rails. ‘You never know whether or not your audience may contain an actual hobo.’”

“It’s important to know your audience,” Greenbaum said. “Jokes making fun of the people responsible for the economic meltdown are usually safe bets—unless you're talking to the people responsible for the economic meltdown.”

Of course, if you do find yourself in the precarious position of telling jokes to the Bernie Madoffs of the world, Greenbaum says, you have to ask yourself: “Why are you telling them jokes and not yelling at them for being responsible for the economic meltdown?!”

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