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So, Why *Did* the Chicken Cross the Road?

picture of chicken crossing the road sign

There are some classic types of jokes that people either love or hate — puns, knock-knock jokes, elephant jokes, blonde jokes, light bulb jokes, Polack (or substitute the group of your choice) jokes, riddles, etc. Frankly there are some of those that I don't prefer personally. In today's blog post, I'm featuring why did the chicken cross the road? jokes.

Do you ever wonder how certain kinds of jokes ever got started? Here is some history of "why did the chicken cross the road?" jokes from Wikipedia:

The exact origin of the riddle is obscure. Its first known appearance in print occurred in 1847 in The Knickerbocker, a New York monthly magazine: ...There are 'quips and quillets' which seem actual conundrums, but yet are none. Of such is this: 'Why does a chicken cross the street?' Are you 'out of town?' Do you 'give it up?' Well, then: 'Because it wants to get on the other side!'

Here are some of my favorite replies to the question Why did the chicken cross the road?

Any kindergarten teacher: To get to the other side.

Sir Edmund Hilary: Because it is there.

Confucius: Chicken who cross road at 5pm get very flat.

Barack H. Obama: The chicken crossed the road because it was time for change! The chicken wanted change.

Richard M. Nixon: The chicken did not cross the road. I repeat, the chicken did not cross the road.

Dick Cheney: Did you say chicken? Where’s my gun?

Bill Clinton: I did not cross the road with that chick.

Al Gore: I invented the road and the chicken, but I regret inventing the chicken. It emits too many greenhouse gases.

Martin Luther King : It had a dream.

L.A. Police Department: Give us ten minutes with the chicken and we'll find out.

Grandparents: In our day, we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Someone told us that the chicken had crossed the road, and that was good enough for us. And besides that, it had to cross it barefoot, while walking 10 miles to school in the snow before breakfast.

picture of a chicken dancing

Plato: For the greater good.

Aristotle: To actualize its potential.

Karl Marx: It was a historical inevitability.

Salvador Dali: The Fish.

John Locke: Because he was exercising his natural right to liberty.

Albert Camus: It doesn't matter; the chicken's actions have no meaning except to him.

Albert Einstein: Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?

Charles Darwin: Chickens, over great periods of time, have been naturally selected in such a way that they are now genetically predisposed to crossing roads. Besides, it was the logical next step after coming down from the trees.

Hippocrates: Because of an excess of phlegm in its pancreas.

Machiavelli: The point is that the chicken crossed the road. Who cares why? The ends of crossing the road justify whatever motive there was.

Emily Dickinson: Because it could not stop for death.

Ralph Waldo Emerson: It didn't cross the road; it transcended it.

Ernest Hemingway: To die. In the rain.

George Orwell: Because the government had fooled him into thinking that he was crossing the road of his own free will, when he was really only serving their interests.

Mark Twain: The news of its crossing has been greatly exaggerated.

Robert Frost: To cross the road less traveled by.

Hamlet: That is not the question.

O.J. Simpson: It didn't. I was playing golf with the chicken at the time.

Gilligan: The traffic started getting rough; the chicken had to cross. If not for the plumage of its peerless tail, the chicken would be lost ... the chicken would be lost!

Captain James T. Kirk: To boldly go where no chicken has gone before.

Forrest Gump: My mama always says, "Stupid is what stupid does."

Queen of Hearts: It doesn't matter. Off with its head.

Sherlock Holmes: Elementary, my dear Watson. She was chased across by a nine-month old white Persian cat with a broken tail and a rose thorn in its right forepaw.

Martha Stewart: No one called me to warn me which way that chicken was going. I had a standing order at the Farmer's Market to sell my eggs when the price dropped to a certain level. No little bird gave me any insider information.

Dr. Seuss:
Did the chicken cross the road?
Did he cross it with a toad?
Yes! The chicken crossed the road,
But why it crossed it, I've not been told!

Colonel Sanders: Did I miss one?!


All this talk about chickens makes me hungry. Recently several readers sent me a picture of a clipping from what is reported to be a newspaper in San Francisco.

picture of whatever

This person apparently does not realize that beef = cow; pork = pig; and chicken = well ... chicken. Maybe a reader of whatever newspaper that is in could counter with "Shame on you animals for crossing the road and thereby damaging our vehicles and hurting or even killing some of us humans!

As we Americans prepare for Thanksgiving, I want to tap into a huge news item — the gearing up for the 40th anniversary of Sesame Street by combining that thought with Thanksgiving.

picture of whatever

The 40th anniversary of Sesame Street was apparently SO HUGE that on Google it preempted the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. If you missed it, Google had a different Sesame Street picture each day that week. In my way of thinking, the folks at Google have a warped value system, as I mentioned in a post on Abe Lincoln earlier this year when Google highlighted the 200th birthday of Darwin instead of the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln. Maybe Google took their lead this time from Mr. Obama who chose not to join all the other world leaders for the celebration. There are so many truly sad, unspoken communications out there....

Back to lighter things.... If not Big Bird, what is/are your traditional meat/s on Thanksgiving Day? If you're having something different this year, what will you be eating instead? Do you have a favorite why did the chicken cross the road? joke that you would like to add to the comments?


"Do you love God too much to hurt Him?" - Michael A. Miller

=^..^= =^..^=

Why did the chicken cross the road?
To show the possum that it was actually possible.

picture of whatever

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11 Comments on “So, Why *Did* the Chicken Cross the Road?”

  1. #1 James
    on Nov 19th, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    Not exactly a chicken, but this comic goes hand-in-glove with the Sesame Street Thanksgiving: http://comics.com/off_the_mark/2009-11-19/

    Rob adds: Here’s the cartoon James points to, in case it disappears from the site:

    picture of Timer Going Off

  2. #2 Rob
    on Nov 20th, 2009 at 6:52 am

    @James – Thanks for the link — it does indeed go hand in glove with the Sesame Street comic I posted. As you see, I’ve added it to your comment above, for posterity’s sake. Enjoy that Road Runner dinner! 😀

  3. #3 Michael
    on Nov 20th, 2009 at 9:23 am

    One of these years we’re going to have a fried turkey for Thanksgiving. I’m not ready to fry one myself so we may end up buying a fried one from one of the restaurants that offers that service. I’ve heard a fried turkey is really good.

    I think I’ve shared this before but one of the dishes we look forward to every year is my mother’s macaroni pie. Layers of macaroni and slice cheese in a deep dish and baked until golden brown on top. Thankfully, my wife has learned how to make this dish so I anticipate being able to enjoy that for many years to come, Lord willing.

  4. #4 Tony
    on Nov 20th, 2009 at 9:54 am

    I used to maintain a website with a collection of these. Here are a few of my favorites:

    Douglas Adams: Forty-two.

    Arthur, King of the Britons: Was it an African chicken or a European chicken?

    Howard Cosell: It may very well have been one of the most astonishing events to grace the annals of history. An historic, unprecedented avian biped with the temerity to attempt such an herculean achievement formerly relegated to homo sapiens pedestrians is truly a remarkable occurrence.

    Bob Dylan: How many roads must one chicken cross?

    Lao Tse: Those who cluck do not know; those who know do not cluck.

    Stan Laurel: I’m sorry, Ollie, it escaped when I opened the run.

    Foghorn Leghorn: Why, I’m no chicken! I’m a horse; I say, I’m a horse! Are you payin’ attention, kid?

    Marcel Marceau:

    Groucho Marx: Chicken? What’s all this talk about chicken? Why, I had an uncle who thought he was a chicken. My aunt almost divorced him, but we needed the eggs.

    Michael Palin: Nobody expects the banished inky chicken!

    Mr T: If you saw me coming, you’d cross the road too!

    Bill W: We admitted that we were powerless over our poultry; that our chickens had become unmanageable.

  5. #5 Rob
    on Nov 20th, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    @Michael – We also are intrigued by the deep-fat fried turkey, which is reported to be extremely delicious. I don’t want to do it myself — dealing with all that oil, the potential dangers for people who don’t know what they’re doing, etc. But I’d love to try it. Anyone want to invite us over to try yours? No reasonable offer refused….

    @Tony – I love many of those you posted, but I have admit that there were some I didn’t understand. As a French teacher, my personal favorite was Marcel Marceau. 🙂

  6. #6 Kathleen
    on Nov 20th, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    Obviously, the chicken belonged to the Democratic party, and heard that Sarah Palin was coming to town. 😀

    on Nov 21st, 2009 at 11:53 am


  8. #8 Rob
    on Nov 23rd, 2009 at 5:57 am

    @Kathleen – You may have a point there.

    @The Chicken – We humans probably have as many reasons as you chickens do for crossing the road, with every man doing what is right in his own eyes.

  9. #9 Tony
    on Nov 23rd, 2009 at 8:07 am

    Here are a few more —

    William Blake:

    Little chicken, who set thee free
    To wander here on Highway Three?
    “Oh, sir, your question’s very odd;
    He is called the Lamb of God.”

    Little chicken, crushed and bleeding,
    You did not see that auto speeding.
    “Oh, sir, do not sit and brood:
    God just had a Tygerish mood.”

    George H. W. Bush: To face a kinder, gentler thousand points of headlights.

    Julius Caesar: To come, to see, to conquer.

    Raymond Chandler: She had beady inhuman eyes like strange black jewels and the kind of feathers a bird of paradise might envy. I knew that if they made her a free-range chicken she’d grab the first opportunity and never look back.

    T.S. Eliot:

    To leave the place she knew for another place
    And to stay there for a while
    And then to move onward to a third place.

    John Paul Jones: It has not yet begun to cross!

    Gregor Mendel: To get various strains of roads.

    Oliver Stone: The question is not “Why did the chicken cross the road?” but is rather “Who was crossing the road at the same time whom we overlooked in our haste to observe the chicken crossing?”

    Darth Vader: She was seduced by the dark side of the road.

    Loudon Wainwright III:

    Crossin’ the highway late last night,
    She shoulda looked left, and she shoulda looked right.
    She didn’t see the station wagon car;
    The hen got squashed, and there you are…

    Zeno of Elea: To prove it could never reach the other side.

  10. #10 b.j.
    on Nov 23rd, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    Aww, you posted my favorite one at the end! Of course, around here, you could easily replace ‘possum with skunk or armadillo. 🙂

  11. #11 Janel
    on Nov 23rd, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    Why did the chicken cross the road? To see a man lay bricks!!