Sam Clam and Larry Lobster


There’s this joke I love that I heard recently on a public radio podcast, and I love to tell it, but no one ever thinks it’s nearly as funny as I do.

I’m not a great teller of jokes. I tend to improvise too much, I take too long, I mess up the punchline. OK, not funny. But is my new favorite joke itself a stinker, or is it just my lousy telling that clears the room? You decide.

Larry Lobster and Sam Clam are best friends. They do everything together. And they love to dance. So one day they decide to go into business together. They are going to open an underwater disco.

They find the perfect location in a coral reef. They secure their funding, gather their supplies, hire a staff. They begin to advertise. All the fish and mollusks and crustaceans are thrilled that they’ll finally have a place to dance. And Sam Clam and Larry Lobster begin to sense that they’re going to make a killing.

Everything is going perfectly the day of their grand opening. And then Larry Lobster gets caught in a trap and killed.

So Larry Lobster goes to heaven. Saint Peter meets him at the gate.

“Welcome to heaven,” says Saint Peter, gripping a clipboard. “Please step forward. Ok, here’s your wings.”

Wings appear on Larry’s back. Saint Peter checks something off his list.

“Here’s your halo,” he continues.

Saint Peter fixes a halo to Larry’s head and checks it off his list.

“And finally, here’s your harp,” he says.

He hands Larry Lobster a beautiful golden harp and checks it off.

“All standard issue,” Saint Peter says, “but not bad, I think. You should find everything in working order. You now have all you need to enter heaven. Please come through. And welcome to eternity.”

But Larry Lobster just sort of stands there with his shoulders slumped.

“Go ahead,” says Saint Peter. “Come on in. You have made it. Eternal bliss. Your celestial reward for a virtuous life and all that. Heaven. Are you not pleased to be here?”

But Larry Lobster is heartbroken.

“To tell you the truth, sir,” says Larry, “no. Please, sir. I was just about to open an underwater disco with by best friend Sam Clam. It was our dream. Everyone was so excited. We were just moments away from opening our doors, and then I go and die. What rotten luck! Please let me go back for just one night, so I can see this through, say good-bye to my friend, and know that he’ll live on in success. And then … I promise … I’ll come right back.”

Saint Peter thinks about this for a moment and says, “I can see your heart is true. And you have not yet technically entered heaven. So I will allow it just this once. You may go back to the sea for one night only. But you must come back immediately when I call you. And — this is important, so pay attention — you must bring your wings, your halo and your harp back with you. Without these things you will not be allowed to enter heaven.”

“Oh, that’s great!” says Larry Lobster. “Yeah. Sure. Of course. Whatever you say. Oh, thank you so much!”

So Larry goes back to the sea. Sam Clam is amazed, and the two friends have a tearful reunion. They open the disco together, and Sam dedicates the night to Larry. It becomes a sort of send-off party, and everyone has a wonderful time. But before long, Larry gets his call from Saint Peter, and it’s time for him to go.

So he goes back up to heaven and Saint Peter greets him again at the gate.

“Saint Peter, thank you so much!” exclaims Larry. “It was such a wonderful time. I am so grateful to you. And I’m ready to come back to heaven. I’ve got my wings right here.”

Larry wiggles his wings.

“I’ve got my halo.”

His halo shows a glint of light from the other side of the gate.

“And —” but then Larry gasps, and his heart sinks. “Oh no!”

“What is the trouble?” asks Saint Peter.

“I don’t believe this,” says Larry Lobster…


Yeah, OK. So, is it the teller? Or is it the joke?


1 Response to “Sam Clam and Larry Lobster”

  1. March 28, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    is that a shaggy dog story?
    or a very drawn out pun?

    either way, i loved it.

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the untallied hours

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