Sumerian Bar Joke meme example.

Sumerian Bar Joke

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Updated Mar 24, 2022 at 12:16PM EDT by Zach.

Added Mar 23, 2022 at 04:46PM EDT by Philipp.

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Sumerian Bar Joke refers to a bar joke about a dog walking into a tavern composed in Ancient Sumer circa 1800 B.C. In March 2022, the joke was posted on Twitter by the gimmick account Depths of Wikipedia where it became a subject of discussions and memes on the website and started a viral debate as to the meaning of the joke.


On March 9th, 2022, gimmick Twitter[1] and Instagram account Depths of Wikipedia shared a screenshot of the Wikipedia article for "bar joke" in which one of the earliest examples of a bar joke, one created in Sumer circa 1894-1800 B.C., was shared. The post gained over 10,500 retweets and 96,000 likes on Twitter in two weeks (shown below).

One of the earliest examples of bar jokes is Sumerian (c. 4500–1900 BC), and it features a dog: "A dog walked into a tavern and said, 'l can't see a thing. I'll open this one'." The humor of it is probably related to the Sumer way of life and has been lost, but the words remain.[1]

A dog walked into a tavern and said, "I can't see a thing. I'll open this one."

At the time of the post, the Wikipedia article did not offer an explanation for the joke, with the assumption made that it may be related to the Sumer way of life.


That same day on March 9th, 2022, Twitter[2] user @abbyfheld offered a possible explanation for the joke in a reply to Depths of Wikipedia, writing that considering Sumerian taverns were also brothels and the word meaning an "unopened eye" is similar to a word for "widow," a double entendre occurs (shown below, left). The tweet gained over 610 retweets and 4,300 likes. On March 20th, 2022, Twitter[3] @LinManuelRwanda posted a lengthy thread in which he offered an alternative explanation of the joke (shown below, right). The tweet gained over 560 retweets and 3,200 likes.

Abby Held @abbyfheld ... Replying to @depthsofwiki Sumerian taverns are also brothels. A double entendre occurs in line 74. "Igi nu-mu-un-du[8]" refers to an unopened eye; but "nu mu un su" means widow. The dog enters and says both "I don't see anything" and "I don't see anything but widows." He pairs off with one (taka[4]) 73. ur-gir15-re ec2-dam-cez in-kurg-ma 74. nij2 na-me igi nu-mu-un-dug 75. ne-en jal2 taka4-en-e-ce 5.78 (cf. 6.2.3: UET 6/2 264) 6:21 AM · Mar 10, 2022 · Twitter for Android Lin Manuel Rwanda @LinManuelRwanda And now we can finally explain the joke: A friendly dog walks into a bar. His eyes do not see anything. He should open them. 4:53 PM · Mar 20, 2022 · Twitter Web App

The Wikipedia article has since been updated with @abbyfheld's explanation of the joke.

On March 12th and 16th, 2022, Depths of Wikipedia tweeted[4][5] Funniest Shit Ever and What If You Wanted to Go to Heaven meme based on the joke, which gained over 520 retweets and 8,100 likes and 3,800 retweets and 45,800 likes, respectively (shown below, left and center). On March 17th, 2022, Twitter[6] user @DoctorPenisBoob made a tweet comparing the joke with Loss, which gained over 14,200 retweets and 111,500 likes in five days (shown below, right).

AND THEN THE DOG SAYS, I'LL OPEN THIS ONE! FUNNIEST S--- I'VE EVER HEARD walked into a What if a dog tavern and said "I can't see a thing" "I'll open this one", Dr. Economy Stonks @DoctorPenisBoob "the sumerian dog joke doesn't make sense" okay imagine explaining why this is funny to anyone 50 years out in either direction 青 1:11 PM · Mar 17, 2022 · Twitter for Android

In the following days, more users on Twitter posted memes referencing the Sumerian bar joke as it became more widely known online.

Various Examples

DOGS BE LIKE "TLL OPEN THIS ONE" MY BROTHER YOU CAN'T SEE A THING IN CHRIST The Virgin Dog of Sumer The Chad Catholic Space Doggo Rational soul gifted Sees the glory of Creation t to him by God Humor has aged badly; no one understands him and the evil of heresy Can't see anything "Blood of Christ, inebriate me." Degenerate alcoholic Probably bought copper from Ea-Nasir Clad in adamantium armor forged by angels Riddled with disease from Remains faithful to wife too many despite years on crusade "widows" Hot Larry Summers @slavojvibecheck ... Replying to @barry Dogs are short, Sumerian taverns were dark & crowded with men wearing tunics, and this is how they drank beer at the time. That's a d--- joke! 8:49 PM · Mar 9, 2022 · Twitter for Android

Search Interest

External References

[1] Twitter – @depthsofwiki

[2] Twitter – @abbyfheld

[3] Twitter – @LinManuelRwanda

[4] Twitter – @depthsofwiki

[5] Twitter – @depthsofwiki

[6] Twitter – @DoctorPenisBoob

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Recent Images 11 total

Top Comments


Looking through the twitter thread talking about it, it seems to involve wordplay between the word for an unopened eye and a widow. The "tavern" seems to be a brothel.

@DrawingForJesus on twitter came up with a localization of the joke that goes:
"It's so dark in here, let me open a widow."

I don't know how one would localize the dog/saluki part of the joke, though.


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