Newfie Jokes: Why a plea to visit the Rock might ruin everything
Growing up, any thoughts I had on Newfoundland usually began with it being extremely far-away and ended with the knowledge that whatever TV show I was currently watching would, as a rule, have premiered a half-hour later there. Other than those two nuggets of note, I never really paid the place much mind at all. That is, except for the jokes. Ah yes, the jokes. The Newfie jokes.
Remember those pearls of yesteryear? Back when you could laugh or poke fun at someone’s cultural heritage without being charged with a hate crime? Okay, maybe you were still considered a boor and people talked about you behind your back but it wasn’t the four-alarm faux pas folks make it out to be these days. Anyway, clearly such crass and ill-advised attempts at humor have been left far behind as today’s society reaches higher, striving for an enlightenment that compels us to be more loving and protective of the many, delicate tiles that make up our shared Canadian Mosaic. Who in their right socially-conscious, empowering mind would ever dare to stoop so low as to……ah, what the heck, here’s a few that might not get me canceled.
You know you're from Newfoundland when...
- You only know three spices - salt, pepper and ketchup.
- You design your Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit.
- You have more miles on your snow-blower than your car.
- You've taken your kids trick-or-treating in a blizzard.
- Driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled in with snow.
- • You think sexy lingerie is tube-socks and a flannel nightie with only 8 buttons.
- • You owe more money on your snowmobile than your car.
- The most effective mosquito repellent is a shotgun.
- Your snow-blower gets stuck on the roof.
- You know which leaves make the best toilet paper.
- Your car trunk doubles as a deep freeze
- You know the four seasons as Winter, Still Winter, almost Winter and Construction.
It seems to me that, aside from the jokes insinuating that Newfoundlanders are stupid or drunk most of the time (which is so unlike most other jokes directed at “identifiable groups”) it seems that the other big area of humor is the lack of hospitability “The Rock's” climate offers most folks. And that’s a problem when tourism is held up as one of the only ways to save any province or state from the swinging axe of unemployment and dwindling opportunity.
Yes, we live in a time where puffy tourists with ankle socks, sandals and digital cameras are touted as the saving grace of any challenged economy. This means even the mighty Newfie is obligated to step up to the mound and make a pitch as to why folks ought to visit with him instead of others. And one of the spots they made up was a real winner. To me at least, it was just perfect. Touching, excellent and endearingly sweet.
Titled “Place names” it appears to do little more than offer lovely shots of various Newfoundland scenes, with the added effect of superimposing many of the too-good-to-be-true town names across each image. As perfect music fills the ears, a voice over asks the question “Where is this place exactly?” as we see the names Happy Adventure, Sweet Bay, Comfort Cove, Tickle Cove, Paradise River, Angel’s Cove, Little Paradise, Cupids, L’Anse Amour, Little Hearts Ease and on and on and on. It’s beautiful and stirring as the voice over ends with the charming words “It’s about as far from Disneyland as you can possibly get” reminding all who care to know that Walt’s kingdom is not by any means the happiest place on earth. It looked, and felt, wonderful.
The spot has been described by Newfoundland as demonstrating “our natural and uncomplicated personality in a warm, spontaneous and inventive way, hinting at an effortless wit and engaging sense of humor.” I can certainly agree to that, but I also think that “effortless wit” and “engaging sense of humor” might have found a way to include a few other well-named towns from Newfoundland, like Dildo, Pothead, Blow Me Down, Cow’s Head and Whitless Bay. Not everything is wine and roses, don’t ya know.
More than anything else, what has always struck me as strange was that far and away the best Newfie jokes I ever heard came from Newfoundlanders themselves. Perhaps there’s more to this cultural trope of abuse through humor than first meets the eye? Maybe all these jokes are just some smart-islander way of keeping the rest of us far away, so we don’t stomp in and ruin the place. They better watch out though. Running warm and fuzzy ads like this one might mean the nitwits at Newfoundland/Labroador tourism are going to screw things up for the locals without even realizing it. What a buncha nunny-fudgin’, no-good-for-nothing, sons a…….well, you get the picture.