Ba-da Boom! Better Seattle Jokes


Did you hear about the shepherd who retired to Seattle? He’s sheepless in Seattle.

Well no. That’s not very funny. But, hey, we’re in Seattle, the city that GQ magazine once labeled “America’s Least Funny City.” The magazine’s verdict inspired Seattle humorist Steve Clifford to write a piece for Crosscut. In his 2008 article, he shared ten of his favorite “archetypical Seattle jokes.” None of the ten had readers exactly howling.

GQ magazine may have been right, claiming Seattleites are (beware: ethnic slur) “too Norwegian” to get the joke. When Clifford recently wrote an ironic piece about Marjorie Taylor Greene, half of the 35 commentors took his article seriously. They didn’t realize it was a satiric take down of the conspiracy-minded congresswoman. (The other half are still laughing over Clifford’s saying that MTG accused Clifford of belonging to an evil conspiracy “trying to poisonize and pervertize young minds by teaching Critical Racing Theory.”)

This misunderstanding over what’s funny underscores our need for more (and better) Seattle jokes. Certainly not the pathetic batch Seattle Mariners’ fans dredged up during this year’s Fathers’ Day. You know: stupid dad jokes like “What’s the difference between a Mariner and a mosquito?” Answer: “A mosquito stops sucking.” Or even, “Why doesn’t Portland have a professional baseball team?” Answer: “Because then Seattle would want one too.”  Worse still: Did you hear that T-Mobile Field has to be resodded? Answer: “Really sad when you can’t get your own grass to root for you.”

No, we don’t need any more lame sports humor. Not like the unfunny quip that Seattle could have been playing in the Super Bowl only until Coach Pete Carroll said, “I’ll pass.” Or even the question over “Why did the Seahawks trade Russell Wilson?” “To get a quarterback who could throw in the rain.”

What we especially don’t need is more weather jokes. Yes it’s true Seattle has lots of drizzily overcast days and some of us wetheads even like it that way. What we don’t need is warn-out reminders.

Years ago, then-Mayor Charley Royer tried to wow us with his favorite Seattle joke (what you’d expect from an Oregon transplant). His Honor liked telling about the tourist couple who wanted to sightsee in Seattle but encountered a week of rainy days. The exasperated wife finally approached a youngster on the street and asked, “Does it ever stop raining?” The kid replies, “Don’t ask me; I’m only six.”

The only redeeming thing about weather jokes is the number and variety of them.

Did you hear about the new Gore-Tex tanktop? It’s called Sleeveless in Seattle.

Why did Santa think about moving to Seattle? Because of the rain, dear.

What do you call a week without rain in Seattle? Summer.

What we could use is more jokes about Puget Sound wildlife. Take these three:

 What do you call three Orcas in Elliott Bay? A tripod.

What did the geoduck say to the clam? Can you dig it?

What do you call the birds that hang around the original Starbucks? The Swallows of Cappuccino.

Or maybe we need more only-in-Seattle jokes like: How many Microsoft employees does it take to screw in a light bulb? None. That’s a hardware problem.

How do you make a Seafair Pirate mad? Take away the ‘P.’

What do you get when you cross Bill Gates with a Vampire? The Byte of Seattle.

How do you explain the four dead Seattle motorists? Discovered at a four-way-stop in Ballard.

Finally if you want a taste for Seattle’s shaggy-dog jokes, there’s the one about the Texan, the Californian, and the Seattleite who walked into a bar in Pioneer Square. The Texan snatched a bottle of whiskey, took a swig, launched the bottle into the air and shot it. The Californian grabbed a bottle of wine, took a sip, tossed the bottle and shattered it.

When his turn came, the Seattleite lifted a microbrew, swigged a mouthful and shot the Californian, explaining, “We’ve got plenty of Californians in Seattle and I need to recycle the bottle.”

Jean Godden
Jean Godden
Jean Godden wrote columns first for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and late for the Seattle Times. In 2002, she quit to run for City Council where she served for 12 years. Since then she published a book of city stories titled “Citizen Jean.” She is now co-host of The Bridge aired on community station KMGP at 101.1 FM. You can email tips and comments to Jean at


  1. Topical but darker humor. Less Dad, more mad.

    A socialist, a communist, and a progressive walk into a city council meeting. The joke finishes itself.

    Why did the couple steal catalytic converters? To pay their seattle combined utility bill.

    What do you call a Seattlite who’s never seen a homeless tent in their neighborhood? A Magnolian (west side).

    Where do junkies hang out in Seattle? Quality Fentanyl Corner (QFC).

    What has flowers, art, and smells like urine? Pioneer Square.

  2. I see three indicators that Seattle is approaching its golden age of humor:

    1. As Ms. Godden noted, nearly half the readers of my recent parody got the joke. Not only is this a personal best for me, it may be Greatest Of All Time for a Seattle humor column.

    2. Seattle is no longer America’s least funny city. A survey of the largest 500 cities in America, published in the highly respected ACADEMIC JOURNAL of TENURE, revealed that both Dothan AL and Rapid City SD exhibited lower Irony Quotient (IQ) than Seattle.

    3. I heard a hilarious Seattle joke last week:

    Question: How many Seattleites does it take to change a lightbulb.

    Answer: One

  3. The joke is on us when the Seattle Dept. of Transportation dubs its latest levy “Move Seattle,” and then closes streets, disrupts streets with months-long repair projects, erects confusing
    turn signs on center lanes, and decorates arterials with “Fix This Street” signs to get levy passed, but then does not repair them.

    • Impressive as the Great Northern Tunnel is (particularly considering when it was built), at a mile long it’s not anywhere close to being the longest in the world and isn’t even the longest in the USA – that honor goes to the Cascade Tunnel at 7.8 miles long.

  4. Forgot the best Seattle inside joke: What did Rolf Neslund say when the Greek freighter hit the West seattle Bridge?
    “Oh, god, my wife’s gonna kill me.”


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