THE BLOG
07/10/2013 05:50 pm ET Updated Sep 09, 2013

Nation Mourns Murder of Much Loved Source of Laughter

It's been two weeks but we"re not over it. We probably never will be. George Zimmerman's defense attorney Don West has slain one of our most cherished forms of humor. Worse, he's done it with what our justice system refers to as "depraved indifference".

How many the times I entertained friends and family alike with clever variations of the "knock knock" joke? Whenever there was a lull in the conversation, an awkward meeting between strangers, a boring business meeting that seemed to have no point. Whether it was breaking the ice at a tax audit, or lightening the mood on a hot crowded subway the 'knock knock' joke always served me well.

I won't go into a list of my all-time favorites. It makes me too sad. I will tell you that the popular switcheroo on the usual "knock knock" format gave me hours and hours of pleasure. This is when you tell the other person to begin the joke.

Other person: Knock knock. Me: Who's there?

The look of confusion on their face was better, in my opinion, than all the punch lines Jimmy Kimmel could ever dream up.

The following is courtesy of Wikipedia who by the way is doing a little fundraising right now. They are asking for three dollars per entry read. In my munificence I gave 20 dollars, which puts me near the top of their heavy donor list. Since I am using so much of their information for today's blog I figured it was the least I could do.

In Shakespeare's Macbeth a porter intended for comic relief delivers a twenty-line monologue and satire that references events of the time. While following the "knock knock, who's there?" pattern, it is performed entirely by one character with knocks from off-stage. The porter (drunk in most performances but hungover in the original) pretends he is the porter to the gates of hell and welcomes sinners of different professions:

(Macbeth ActII, sciii)

Knock, knock, knock! Who's there, i' th' name of Beelzebub? Here's a farmer that hanged himself on the expectation of plenty. Come in time, have napkins enough about you, here you'll sweat for 't.

(This is a joke referring to a price drop in crops, as well as a joke about the heat in hell)
Knock, knock! Who's there, in th' other devil's name? Faith, here's an equivocator that could swear in both the scales against either scale, who committed treason enough for God's sake, yet could not equivocate to heaven. O, come in, equivocator.

(This passage is believed to be a reference to a trial of the Jesuits who were charged with equivocation speaking unclearly or speaking with double meaning)
Knock, knock, knock! Who's there? Faith, here's an English tailor come hither for stealing out of a French hose. Come in, tailor. Here you may roast your goose.

(The tailor is accused of stealing cloth while making breeches, this is a joke about a fashion trend in Shakespearian times, also a pun for roasting the tailor's iron with the heat of hell)" Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Believe me, Shakespeare would be rolling in his grave if he had witnessed, as we all had, the savage slaying of "knock knock" on national TV.

Me: Knock knock. Other person: Who's there? Me: Don West. Other person: Don West who? Me: Don West, you should be ashamed of yourself!

To help defray the costs of my donation to Wikipedia, my latest book, Expecting Miracles, is now available on Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/kv5o4o4