From the earliest of human scripts, to the bard himself, to your 13-year-old brother, the “your mom” joke is the ultimate way to tickle your friends’ funny bones. 

However, what you may not know about these storied jokes is that they have an extensive history. What follows here is both a complete academic history of “your mom” jokes and a guide to how to incorporate more of them into your daily dialogue. 

As a history major, I see my purpose in life as educating the public about the past, perhaps particularly about our preposterous practical jokes. 

In a 2011 journal article, historians and linguists Wasserman and Streck discovered an ancient Babylonian school text where the author had written a joke ending with “and your mother.”

While the first part  of the joke was wildly inappropriate for this setting, it was clearly an early version of the classic “your mother” format. 

They also mentioned the student displayed “very careless writing” (Wasserman and Streck, 2011). Absolutely tough to get destroyed 3,000 years in the future. 

This early Babylonian example must have had quite the impact, as William Shakespeare himself also engaged with your mother (and her jokes). 

Widely considered one of the greatest writers of all time, it is in our best interest to follow in his footsteps. 

For inspiration I will include his finest joke below, which comes from his play “Titus Andronicus.” The following quote is a work of true literary genius: 


Demetrius: “Villain, what hast thou done?

Aaron: That which thou canst not undo.

Chiron: Thou hast undone our mother.

Aaron: Villain, I have done thy mother.” 

(Shakespeare, 1593)


Now that we’ve covered the “your mom” jokes of the past, let’s talk about how to integrate them into the present. 

I personally like to put a little spin on the classic “your mom” joke. To do that, try incorporating other family members. 


For example: 

Hungry child: “Who cooked that pasta?”

Sarcastic parent: “Your Great-Uncle Terry.” 


This is a classic line that is sure to get a laugh every time — though it does require some advanced knowledge of your peer’s family. 

For a more universal twist, try “your dad,” “your grandpa,” or my personal favorite: “your third cousin once removed who is no longer allowed at family gatherings.” 

These are sure to work on anyone’s family and apply to nearly everyone’s situation. 

Now, there is one thing that I will caution you with. Unfortunately, “your mom” jokes are NOT appropriate in every situation. It’s important to be cognizant of your surroundings. 

I learned this the hard way when I turned in a final exam and put “your mom” in the name line by accident. This also explains why I am here for this ninth semester. 

With that, now you are prepared to enter a world of “your mom” jokes. Go forth and live your best middle school lives.