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?

  • @MeatTrademark Could you tell the whole of it
    – Firee
    Mar 21, 2014 at 9:15
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    What do you call it when Batman skips church? Christian Bail. Mar 21, 2014 at 9:20
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    @AndrewMartin Why did Bruce's date go badly? Because he has BAT breath!
    – Firee
    Mar 21, 2014 at 12:03
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    How did Bruce's mum call him for tea? "Dinner dinner dinner dinner BATMAN!" Mar 21, 2014 at 12:04
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    Here's another one to 'brighten your day' :-) > A week after his wife left him, Jim went out to the local watering hole. After a long evening of drinking, Jim was thrown out of the bar as usual. > On his way home he spotted a nun walking down the road. After looking at her twice he ran over and tackled her, then proceeded to beat the living daylights out of her. > Some people passing by spotted this and called the police. As the police were pulling him away in handcuffs he looked back and said, "I thought you'd be tougher than that, Batman."
    – user8021
    Mar 23, 2014 at 9:20

2 Answers 2


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 knows a joke. A single joke. It is actually unknown if he knows any jokes at all, but 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. Mar 21, 2014 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. Mar 21, 2014 at 13:46
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    I'm not saying it doesn't fit, but like you said - you feel it. It's subjective. There's a difference between saying "no one knows, here's my interpretation" and saying "this is obviously what is meant". Mar 21, 2014 at 13:48
  • I don't know, man. I just looked at your answer and all the responses and it looks like Napolean agreed with me, and 3 people agreed with him. To me, it's absolutely obvious, but again every single answer on this site is subjective if it's not backed by a direct quote. Mar 21, 2014 at 13:55
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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. Mar 21, 2014 at 14:01

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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    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. Mar 21, 2014 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, 2014 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. Mar 21, 2014 at 9:30
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    @Firee "But the questions is, what is the joke..." - But unfortunately that question is deliberately unanswerable (except by fan fiction).
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Mar 21, 2014 at 9:45
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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.) Mar 21, 2014 at 9:46

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