Author : Patricia Stewart, Staff Writer

The Martian comedian had the audience at the Olympus Mons Laugh Factory rolling in the isles. They roared approvingly at his popular “green-neck” humor. Well, everybody in the audience was laughing but Martin. Martin was an astrophysics professor at Valles Marineris University, and his idea of humor was reading the answers on freshman astronomy finals. For entertainment purposes, he usually included a question about what happened to living matter as it crosses the event horizon of a black hole. The student’s imaginative attempts at feigning knowledge always drew out a few chuckles. But now, he felt like he was the one who needed to feign knowledge. “I don’t get it, Eridania. Of course we have green necks. Our entire bodies are green. Why does everybody consider that so funny?”

His primary wife was drying the tears from her antenna as she waved a sucker at him in an attempt to shut him up. Undaunted, Martin turned to Iapygia, “What’s so funny about going to family reunions to get dates? Where else are you going to find eligible mothers and daughters? It would be perverted if your primary wife wasn’t the offspring of your secondary wife. And really, who puts a shuttle up on blocks? That would damage the reentry tiles.”

“Martin, will you be quite!” snapped Iapygia in a controlled whisper.

“Well I don’t get it, Iapygia. Besides, what’s an opossum, or Bondo, or a Bubba? Why can’t he just talk Martian?”

“Were you born before the Great Tharsis Dust Storm?” Iapygia asked sardonically. “This is a classic parody of an ancient Earth comedian. Dogworthy, or something like that. They’re called theme jokes. He’s sort of making fun of all of us, but mostly the Martians living below the Hellas Planitia. The jokes are particularly funny when he tells them because: One, he was hatched down there, and two, the jokes are pretty much true. But Martin,” she said in a stern whisper, “don’t you ever try to repeat any of these jokes to anybody. You’d probably end up with a fat snout.”

“Don’t worry, Iapygia. I don’t even know why you’d want to take a flashlight with you when you go to the bathroom.” A few minutes later, the comedian thanked the audience and left the stage to a standing ovation. He was replaced with a heavyset comedian wearing a plaid poncho. “Oh good,” remarked Martin with relief, “somebody new is coming on. Maybe I’ll be able to understand his jokes.” A minute later the audience erupted in laughter. Well, except for Martin. “Aaaggghhh, not again,” he said with clear frustration in his voice. “What does ‘Git-R-Done’ mean?”

“Honestly, Martin,” said Eridania as she made a threatening gesture of her right pincer, “if you say one more word, the next comedian to come on stage is going to hang an ‘I’m Stupid’ sign around your big, fat, green neck.”

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