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Guy Balks After He’s Kicked Out For Telling ‘Knock-Knock’ Joke About Adopted Nephew’s Bio-Parents

Guy laughing at his own joke
Denis_Vermenko/Getty Images

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying telling jokes and trying to make other people laugh amidst a conversation.

But if the people who hear the joke aren’t laughing, it likely went too far, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor ThrowRAhusband2 enjoyed her husband’s jokester behavior and felt his intention to make people laugh was the most important thing.

But when her own mother called her delusional for supporting his behavior, the Original Poster (OP) questioned what she was talking about.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for telling my parents that they ruined the New Year’s Eve celebration after they kicked my husband out over a joke?”

The OP liked her husband’s joking personality, though some thought he took it too far.

“I’ve been married to my second husband ‘Mike’ for four years now. He’s a jokester and loves to crack jokes all the time.”

“He especially likes to joke with my brother ‘Ethan’ and his wife. Ethan used to be okay with it until he started complaining about Mike taking it too far with his jokes.”

Mike especially enjoyed making jokes about his adopted nephew.

“Some context about Ethan: He and his wife couldn’t have kids, so they adopted a boy named ‘Joey’ two years ago.”

“Mike has been making silly, lighthearted jokes that involve Joey’s biological parents as a way to mess with Ethan and his wife.”

“I already talked to Mike, and I tell you that he 100% means no harm, and he was just trying to get them to react.”

But the jokes weren’t funny to the family anymore on New Year’s Eve.

“Fast-forward to New Year’s Eve when my parents hosted a big celebratory dinner, and Ethan and his wife came.”

“While we were eating dinner, Mike decided to tell a knock-knock joke to Ethan. He said, ‘Knock knock.'”

“Ethan laughed and said, ‘Who’s there?'”

“Mike replied, ‘Joey’s bio parents,’ and then he burst out laughing.”

“Silence took over, and Ethan’s facial expression changed. His wife called Mike an ‘idiot.'”

“Mike replied with, ‘Hey… Relax it was just a joke.'”

“An argument ensued and dinner was paused. My parents suddenly told Mike to leave, which I thought was too harsh.”

“I tried to speak to them and get them to calm down, but Mom insisted that Mike needed to leave.”

“We left and Mike complained the whole drive home about how they overreacted.”

The OP didn’t agree that she and Mike had done anything wrong.

“I called Mom later, and she told me Mike was out of line with his hurtful jokes about this touchy topic, and she told me I was wrong for defending him and saying he was just joking.”

“She said he ruined New Year’s Eve for the family, but I told her it was her and Dad who ruined the celebration by escalating the situation and kicking him out.”

“I told her he could talk to them but again they were the ones who ruined the NY celebration.”

“She called me delusional for this statement and hung up.”

“We haven’t talked to them for days. I tried contacting Ethan but no response.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some pointed out that the OP’s husband was a bully, not a jokester. 

“YTA. Your husband likes to hurt people. It’s nothing to do with jokes.” – CertainCertainties

“‘Hey it’s just a joke’ is not a get-out from everything. No one is obliged to find something funny just because you do and to insist that they should is bullying, no more, no less.”

“Mike’s ‘jokes’ are unpleasant and not remotely funny, and I speak as someone with a very sick sense of humor indeed. He’s an AH and OP is another one for enabling him.” – HerefsAndrew

“They teach boundaries at school and work regarding harassment, bullying, sexual harassment, and the like. The husband knows this and doesn’t care.”

“He is mean, he is a bully, and he is not funny. Without all of those things, he has been asked to stop and still bulldozes over their requests and does what he wants.” – PhillyMila215

“He’s been asked, over and over, to stop, and he’s been told that his jokes make BIL uncomfortable. But does he stop? No. He keeps up with the s**tty jokes. It’s just not funny.”

“OP is AH and her husband. She shouldn’t be defending that bulls**t.” – Practical-Big7550

“The first time he told a bio-parent joke he might have thought it was light-hearted fun. After being told over and over to stop, he’s an AH, and his wife is one too for supporting her husband’s a**holery.” – HunterZelousideal30

“Two years! He’s been making the same stupid remarks for two years.” – sreno77

“His whole schtick seems to be, ‘Hurr hurr, your kid’s adopted!’ Why would anyone think that was funny or a joke?” – Foreign_Astronaut

“This might be a closer case if Mike hadn’t been told that his jokes were unwelcome. Sometimes you don’t realize that something you say is going to hurt someone, and of course, you feel terrible about it and never do it again.”

“It’s like if you’re walking down the hall too fast and bump into someone and hurt them. You didn’t mean to, but sometimes it happens.”

“But he knows. The hurt isn’t unintentional; it’s intentional. This isn’t bumping into someone; it’s taking a very intentional swing at them. And if someone is taking a swing at someone else in your house, you’ve got to show them the door. Simple as that.” – SafetyDanceInMyPants

“You said, ‘He 100% means no harm and he was just trying to get them to react.'”

“But the reaction is hurt. That’s the reaction he’s trying to get: hurt. If it’s not hurt, it’s frustration or annoyance.”

“It’s s**tty to purposefully make people feel hurt, frustrated, or annoyed for your own amusement. Toying with people’s emotions is harmful. THINK, OP. YTA.” – newlypeaceful

Others were grateful for the parents protecting their grandson, Joey.

“He’s not really targeting Ethan, he’s targeting Joey, a child who has presumably not had an easy start in life. He is a bully, OP. Your parents are fabulous.” – HRHArgyll

“They’re probably setting firmer boundaries now *because* Joey’s getting to the age where he understands that he’s being made fun of.”

“There were definitely running ‘jokes’ in my family that I ‘loved’ as a kid but as an adult I realize were just cruel and mocking. Kids eventually pick up on these things.” – Wynfleue

“Even if it’s not your intention to be hurtful or mean or creepy, if that’s how it made your victim feel, it’s harassment. Basics of any workplace harassment course.”

“OP’s family has repeatedly said his ‘jokes’ are not welcome but he continues to make them, even after knowing they are hurtful. So it would be fair to say that he cracks them fully intending to hurt. This is not a case of ‘Oops, sorry I didn’t realize this joke would hurt you.'”

“OP’s mom is right, she is delusional if she thinks anyone other than her husband ruined NY. And she is definitely an AH for enabling and supporting a bully.” – nutwit9211

“Maybe being kicked out ruined NY for OP and her husband, but their absence isn’t what ruined NY for the rest of the family.”

“It was already ruined by the time her parents kicked him out.” – JournalisticDisaster

“Thank you to the parents for standing up to the bully. The only way to stop the bully is to make him feel some repercussions for his actions.”

“Thank God the parents acted and didn’t allow the social convention of ‘it was a joke’ to allow the bullying to continue.” – MtlAngloYid

“You said, ‘He especially likes to joke with my brother ‘Ethan’ and his wife. Ethan used to be okay with it.'”

“Nah, fam. He’s not joking with Ethan, he’s being a deliberately cruel bully. He either doesn’t care or is enjoying the fact that he’s hurting your family.”


“Honestly, I think your family should ban Mike from any further family gatherings until he apologizes profusely and gets therapy. You sound like you need it too. Cruelty ain’t a good look.” – meyliassa

“OP isn’t blind; she’s willingly closed her eyes so she doesn’t have to acknowledge her husband is an AH. If you acknowledge a problem, it exists. If a problem exists, you need to address it.”

“She’s worried she’ll have to choose between her husband and her family. She doesn’t realize that her inaction has already made that choice for her.”

“YTA.” – InvisiblePlants

“MIKE ruined the celebration.”

“Wow, I don’t know if I’ve read such an out-of-touch post on AITA… ever.”

“YTA. And so is your husband. ‘Mike has been making silly, lighthearted jokes that involve Joey’s biological parents as a way to mess with Ethan and his wife.’ WHAT THE ACTUAL FUDGE?”

“That is TERRIBLE. Teasing an infertile couple about their adopted child’s bio parents? I am mortified.”

“Also, I am super freaking proud of your parents!!” – QutieLuvsQuails

The subReddit was appalled by Mike’s behavior as well as the OP’s repeated attempts to defend him.

Whether they didn’t understand how a joke actually works, or they had something against family options outside of natural birth, they were hurting their family, and they were okay with it for the sake of the joke.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.