I was at a restaurant this past weekend and there was a family of four next to me that were devouring their meals like a hobo who had been taken in by someone and given their first hot meal in months. After they had cleaned their plates, the waiter arrived to clear the dishes. As he reached for the first plate, the dad in the family said this:
“We hated it.”
Then he and his family began laughing hysterically, as if they were in the audience of a Def Comedy Jam in the mid 90s. Then of course the waiter was forced to fake laugh, for basically the same reason why I’m sure prisoners fake laugh if someone on the parole board makes a joke during their hearing.
I waited tables for almost seven years, and during that time, I heard customers tell me the same jokes over and over. So in an effort to help retire them, here are the four jokes we need to stop telling to waiters.
1. Telling The Waiter You “Hated It,” After You’ve Eaten Your Entire Meal.
What is the thought process before someone makes this joke? “I really enjoyed the meal, but everyone in my office says I’m the funniest guy there and that I should totally do stand up. If I just tell the waiter I liked it, or even worse, say nothing and let him clear my plate and go about his work, I WILL TOTALLY LOSE THE HILARIOUSNESS CAPITAL I HAVE SPENT HUNDREDS OF HOURS AMASSING.”
2. Telling The Waiter “I Ordered The Large” When Being Presented With A Clearly Giant Portion.
I’m always shocked when people make this joke because it’s essentially drawing attention to the fact that they’re a gluttonous fucking pig who’s about to down an unearthly amount of food. This joke is almost always followed later by the “I hated it,” joke.
2. Telling The Waiter “They’ll Take The Check” Then Pointing To One Of Your Small Children.
First of all, small children are just mini Kardashian family members; all they do is eat, cry, and demand things. So if you’ve brought one of them to the restaurant, chances are they’ve made the waiter’s life significantly shittier for the forty minutes you’re there. So even if you were to be the Louis C.K. of child-related jokes to waiters, the waiter wouldn’t laugh because he or she wants to physically hurl your baby across the room like a sack of flour. Secondly, everyone tells this joke and thinks they’re the first person to tell it. At least with the “I hated it” joke, the people telling it know on some level the hackery involved. The people who tell this joke think they’ve just stumbled on Eddie Murphy “Raw” style material and expect more than just the courteous fake waiter laugh.
4. Asking The Waiter “You’re Not Going To Check My I.D.?” Even Though You Are Clearly Well Above The Drinking Age.
You see the pattern that’s forming here? There all they SAME JOKE. This joke is almost always told by 35-45 year olds who are dealing with the fact that less and less people find them sexually attractive with every second that passes as they creep towards death. Old people don’t make this joke because they’ve made their peace with the fact that they look disgusting naked. So middle-agers make this joke to show everyone else at the table how cool they are with getting older. Meanwhile, the waiter is forced to respond with something other than a laugh, because if he or she laughs, then it creates an awkward moment where people aren’t sure if the waiter is thinking “That’s funny because you’re so fucking old and gross.”