Dumb Joke in Shanghainese

After hearing lately about how YouTube is now the undisputed king of online video, I did a search for 上海话 (Shanghai dialect) to see what it would turn up. A measly two videos! Here’s the only one kinda worth watching:

Here’s a translation of the joke, in Mandarin and in English:

> 冰箱里有两只蛋在聊天
Two eggs were chatting in the refrigerator

> 一只蛋对另外一只蛋说
One egg said to the other:

> 你看 这只蛋傻吧
“Look at that egg. Doesn’t he look dumb?

> 身上长毛了
He’s covered in hair!”

> 然后那只蛋就发火了
The third egg was furious

> 就敲了它一下
and hit the first egg.

> 说 傻瓜 猕猴桃也不认识
He said, “You idiot! Don’t you know a kiwi fruit when you see one?”

Har har.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. Man, I really thought the punchline was going to involve the eggs shouting “Hello! Laowai!” at their kiwi neighbor.

  2. Er, it is the king of online video. Only thing is, people don’t always tag or label everything so that it can be most easily found.

    Here is another example of Shanghainese, about 2:35 into the clip:

    Too bad the drunk guy doesn’t talk in it. That might be funny. I think a clip featuring drunken Shanghainese (being spoken) should now be found by someone.

    Also, someone actually uploaded that whole movie online, which I realized after searching for and finding that example.

  3. Spooky. I just did a thing about Dongbei hua on my site. No jokes though.

    Though there is a good Chinese joke floatin’ around up here. Goes like this:

    A boy comes home from school one day, only to find his mom (who’s divorced) standing in front of her bedroom mirror, rubbing herself all over, moaning and groaning, repeating “mmm, I want a man…. oooohhh, I WANT A MAN!”

    The boy was understandably confused, but went on about his business.

    The next day he comes home from school, passes by his mom’s bedroom door again. This time there’s a man with her, and they’re doin’ the China-Mc-nasty on the bed. Goin’ right to town, so they are…

    The boy immediately runs into his bedroom, stands in front of his mirror and starts rubbing himself all over:
    “mmm I want a bicycle! OOOHHH I WANT A BICYCLE!!!!!”

  4. haha····such a cold joke~~funny

  5. Shanghai dialect sounds nice.

  6. i was always curious that why they are called shanghaiNESE… where did the ‘N’ come from?? people in Taiwan are called Taiwanese, that is ok, coz there is a N at the end… but Shanghai is end with an I…
    cant understand why the Shanghai people prefer to have a ‘nese’? dont they know it used to be a kind of discrimination….

  7. Da Xiangchang Says: July 28, 2006 at 12:58 am

    “A kind of discrimination”? How’s that?

  8. trevelyan Says: July 28, 2006 at 9:37 am

    @eway — it isn’t technically spelled Shanghainese, it just sounds that way when they say it.

  9. trevelyan, thanks. i know that… thats why i asked, where did the N come from?

    Da Xiangchang (is it a big sausage? ^^), hmmm, thats a long story… once upon a time…… haha~~ it s just from the original meaning of -ese. you can google out many that kind of articles. not a big deal now actually. i was just kidding. 😛

  10. Ese, as in Sureno? Along with the popularity of Mi Vida Loca tats, I’m noticing a lot of cultural connections between Shanghai and LA. Seriously, if a taco truck opens here I’m going every day of the week.

  11. I’ve immensely enjoyed your little snippest of Shanghainese.

    Shanghainese is often characterised as being harse, loud, and annoying. Yet Suzhouhua (a close relative from what I understand) and only a short distance away is often characterized as being soft and graceful. With my short samplings of Shanghaihua every once in a while on the net and my short 2 day stay in Shanghai… I definitely don’t see it!

    Or is this “harsh” and “loud” merely a stereotype!?

    interesting…. 長毛 = covered in hair. another tidbit picked up.

  12. Andy,

    Glad you enjoy it. It definitely can be harsh, but it doesn’t have to be.

    Note that 长毛 is “zhǎng máo” (lit. “grow hair”), and not “cháng máo” (“long hair”). I took a few minor liberties with my translation.

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