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In Batman Begins, on his birthday, when Bruce Wayne, leaves just about his party is about to start, to save Rachel, he asks Alfred to engage the guests with a joke "Tell them that joke you know". What is the joke?

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@MeatTrademark Could you tell the whole of it –  Firee Mar 21 at 9:15
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What do you call it when Batman skips church? Christian Bail. –  Andrew Martin Mar 21 at 9:20
    
@AndrewMartin Lol, that was a nice one... I think we see more of Alfred's story telling abilities in the second movie, where he narrates the story about the rubies in Burma, or some mountain climbing expedition –  Firee Mar 21 at 9:22
    
Definitely. He's played brilliantly by Caine. –  Andrew Martin Mar 21 at 9:23
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How did Bruce's mum call him for tea? "Dinner dinner dinner dinner BATMAN!" –  Andrew Martin Mar 21 at 12:04

3 Answers 3

Andrew Martin's answer

It's not a reference to a specific joke, but rather a witty line by Bruce Wayne to effectively ask his butler to entertain all the guests in his absence.

is not entirely correct. It was actually a light ribbing of Alfred to indicate he needs a better sense of humor. "Tell them all that joke you know" is meant to indicate that Alfred know a joke. A single joke. It is actually unknown whether he knows any jokes at all, and even if he did I believe that information would be irrelevant to the point Bruce Wayne was making, and the laugh it was supposed to elicit from the audience.

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"It was actually a light ribbing of Alfred to indicate he needs a better sense of humor". I don't agree with this. This is a subjective reading of a single line being presented as fact. It could mean that Alfred lacked humour. Or it could have simply been a throwaway comment by Bruce that we're all crazily over analyzing. Ultimately, without a comment from Nolan himself, we'll never know. –  Andrew Martin Mar 21 at 12:37
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The same could be said about every single answer on this site that isn't supported by a direct quote from the screenwriter/director. I feel that if you take the body of work of the 2 characters over the span of the 3 films, my assessment makes more sense than yours. –  Johnny Bones Mar 21 at 13:46
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I agree with everything you're saying. I just was commenting on the fact you presented your answer as if it were fact and thus the only "correct" interpretation, rather than being just an opinion. It was just a comment though. It's definitely a fair and plausible explanation. –  Andrew Martin Mar 21 at 14:01
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@DustinDavis: This is a great answer, I certainly never meant to imply otherwise! I originally commented on its tone, but its content makes perfect sense and the more answers and viewpoints the OP gets, the better! –  Andrew Martin Mar 21 at 19:17
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@Wayne: Goodness me I find myself explaining a lot on this thread! The answer is fine, and I am a natural English speaker. My complaint was that it is most certainly not the only or definitive answer and thus it's completely wrong to post it as it if were. It should be made obvious that this is an interpretation, possibly the most logical one - but certainly not the only one. Alfred shows plenty of comedic relief in the first film, so I certainly don't feel it can be argued he has no humor. –  Andrew Martin Mar 22 at 15:43

The scene in question proceeds like this (from the script):

Wayne hurries through the hall. Alfred in pursuit. Tables of food and decoration fill the hall.

ALFRED: But Master Wayne, the guests will be arriving.

Wayne turns.

WAYNE: Keep them happy until I arrive. Tell them that joke you know.

Wayne hurries off. Alfred watches him go, exasperated.

It's not a reference to a specific joke, but rather a witty line by Bruce Wayne to effectively ask his butler to entertain all the guests in his absence. There's no interviews I've come across which suggest Christopher Nolan intended it to have any greater meaning than this.

Nevertheless, this question has been asked over at the Nolan Fans website and, although coming to the same conclusion, the fans came up with a few possible jokes of their own. They're fairly terrible, which makes them quite funny. Since I'm sorry to answer this question in the negative, I'll include one to brighten your day! Here goes:

Why didn't Batman go fishing today? Because Robin ate the worms!

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LoL, that was a lame joke... Well just yesterday only I saw a re-run of Batman Begins, and that it when it stuck me. Though you say its not a specific joke, but the line hints at some joke of Alfred's which is quite popular.. –  Firee Mar 21 at 9:20
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What does Batgirl wear to bed? Her Dark Knight gown :) I wouldn't say it hints at a specific joke. I think it's just a line showing how easy, calm and collect Bruce is compared to Alfred's more worrying nature. You COULD argue it's a cheeky dig, suggesting the joke is so long it will take an age to tell and thus keep everyone busy for quite a while - but I really think that's reading too much into it. –  Andrew Martin Mar 21 at 9:23
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@Firee I rather think the actual point of the dialogue is not to hint at a specific joke, but to emphasize the fact that it's only one single joke he knows and the funny part is that it isn't quite likely for Alfred to be able to entertain the whole party for a long time with just a single little joke he knows, a joke that's probably as old (or older) as Bruce is. That's what the "that joke" means, I guess, it's the same joke he probably told the people at Thomas's birthday party 40 years ago. –  Napoleon Wilson Mar 21 at 9:23
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The joke is ultimately irrelevant, other than for a fun piece of trivia. A great example of this would be the Three Seashells in Demolition Man, which were never explained yet provided a comic backdrop so often in the story. –  Andrew Martin Mar 21 at 9:30
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@AndrewMartin Sandra Bullock has given us the answer. Exiting a bathroom Stallone asks why there's no toilet paper, and only 3 seashells on a shelf. "He doesn't know how to use the three seashells!" says Rob Schneider. And they all laugh. We never found out how the 3 seashells are used. Josh Horowitz asked Bullock to settle the mystery. "Well, think of a bidet, right?" said Bullock. "There's several processes. You have number one, you have number two, and then the cleanup." (The link is more thorough.) –  Meat Trademark Mar 21 at 9:46

The Aristocrats! (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Aristocrats)

It’s a joke that’s:

  1. Long enough to tell (as long as the teller can make it…, some mythical tellings have been hours-long).
  2. Famous enough among comedians that Bruce does not need to name it, and obscure enough among everyone else (including the movie audience). A sort-of in-joke.
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If you have a new question, please ask it by clicking the Ask Question button. Include a link to this question if it helps provide context. –  System Down Mar 21 at 22:20
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This ain't a new question, but it's a lame answer. Google "The Aristocrats joke", you'll see it's not something Alfred would know or ever tell. –  Johnny Bones Mar 21 at 22:55

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