Funny Headlines

The Best of The Onion Magazine Covers

• “I Thought He Was Going to Kill Me”: One Woman’s Harrowing Misunderstanding of How Haircuts Work

• The 100 Worst Senators

• The World’s 10 Most Powerful Women: We Make Them Discuss Fashion and Lindsay Lohan

Source: The Onion Magazine: The Iconic Covers That Transformed an Undeserving World (Little, Brown)


Just because the items in these classified ads are free doesn’t mean they’re worth it:

• Free: Piano with matching bench seat, very good condition, all keys work probably

Source: Gettysburg Area Merchandiser

• Free: 5 kitchen drawers, all matching naughty pine fronts

Source: Topeka Capital-Journal

• Free Vain Screening

Source: Boston Globe

• Free rent in exchange for elderly woman


Submitted by James Hutchinson, Carroll Valley, Pennsylvania; Faith Adams, Topeka, Kansas; Annetta Boisselle, Melrose, Massachusetts

Bad Typos in Real Newspapers

We all make mistakes. Some 
are just more public than others, 
like these real newspaper typos:

“Here the bridal couple stood, 
facing the floral setting, and exchanged cows.”     Modesto News-Herald (California)

“It took many rabbits many years to write the Talmud.” Holland Evening Sentinel (Michigan)

“Mrs. ____ fell down stairs at her home this morning, breaking her myhodudududududududosy, and suffered painful injuries.”    Ohio paper

“A headline in an item in the 
Feb. 15th edition incorrectly stated ‘Stolen Groceries.’ It should have read: ‘Homicide.’”    Enquirer-Bulletin

From Just My Typo, by Drummond Moir 
(Three Rivers Press)

Heading Off Criticism

Think the comments on Internet posts are tough? See what happened when the Washington Post asked its readers to write intentionally angry letters to actual headlines:

Headline: 20,000 Pound Pavement to Help Homeless

Response: “Are you people idiots? What the homeless need are homes, not ten tons of additional pavement!”

Headline: Maryland Agrees to 
Tobacco Settlement

Response: “Well, that’s all we 
need—an entire settlement of people devoted to their cancer sticks. What’s next, a drunk-driving commune?”

Headline: C.C. United Se Une 
Hoy a Campana Solidaria Pro 

Response: “I was disgusted with 
the sloppy spelling for [this] article. There were so many typos, I couldn’t understand a word.”


File These Headlines Under: We Don’t Even Want to Know.

•Firefighters Use Jaws of Life to Free High School Girl from Locker

•FDA Approves Third Silicone-Gel Breast Implant

•Missing Woman Unwittingly Joins Search Party Looking for Herself

•Woman’s “Stomach Bug” Actually Baby

Sources: Ottawa Citizen (Canada),, Associated Press, Toronto Sun

Department of (Ridiculous) Corrections

Journalists and editors on deadline make the occasional error. Some are funnier than others:
• NBC reported that American students rank internationally at: “26th math, 21th science, 17th reading.”
• Britain’s Sky News showed the 
importance of punctuation: “Top 
stories: World leaders at Mandela tribute, Obama–Castro handshake and same-sex marriage date set.”
• A retraction from Wired: “A previous version of this story incorrectly quoted Dropbox cofounder Drew Houston saying ‘anyone with nipples’ instead of ‘anyone with a pulse.’”
Sources:, Washington Times,

Hold the Presses!

Misadventures in headline writing from around the world:

City Unsure Why the Sewer Smells —The Herald-Palladium (St. Joseph, Michigan)

Case of Innocent Man Freed 
After Spending 18 Years in Prison Proves Texas System Works —Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (Texas)

British Left Waffles on Falklands —The Guardian

At Last Singer Etta James Dies —

Headlines around America

• County to Pay $250,000 to Advertise Lack of Funds (Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon)

• 4-H Training Scheduled for Shooting Instructors    (Pine City Pioneer, Minnesota)

• Study Shows Frequent Sex Enhances Pregnancy Chances (Winchester Star, Virginia)

• Police: DUI Charge for Woman Celebrating End of Earlier DUI 
Suspension (Chicago Tribune)

• Federal Agents Raid Gun Shop, Find Weapons (Tulsa World, Oklahoma)

That Reminds Me of a Joke (Counterfeit Edition)

Here’s the news: A Rhode Island man was arrested for passing a counterfeit $100 bill. What gave him away? Lincoln’s face: It’s supposed to be on the $5 bill.
Source: Sun Chronicle (Attleboro, Massachusetts)

Here’s the laugh: A counterfeiter drives to a small town, enters a store, and hands the rube behind the counter an $18 bill. “Mind making change?” he asks.

“Sure,” says the clerk. “Ya want two nines or three sixes?”


Hold the Presses!

Writing newspaper copy is an art form unseen in these real headlines:

“Worker Suffers Leg Pain After Crane Drops 800-Pound Ball on His Head”

“City Unsure Why the Sewer Smells”

“Caskets Found as Workers Demolish Mausoleum”

“Statistics Show That Teen Pregnancy Drops Off Significantly After Age 25”

“Homicide Victims Rarely Talk to Police”

“Hospitals Resort to Hiring Doctors”

Painfully Funny Obituaries

You’d die of embarrassment if these phrases appeared in your obituary:

“She leaves behind a brother and 117 cats.”

“Passed away in a failed stunt that has already been viewed more than 40 million times on YouTube.”

“Was always quick to point out others’ grammatical errors.”

“Survived by his parents and his animatronic wife, Elizabot.”

Harry Potter Sequels

After J. K. Rowling announced that she might write a Harry Potter sequel—he was last seen as a married dad—The Week asked its readers to predict the title of the next book. Here’s what they divined:

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fiber
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Ask-Your-Mom
Harry Potter and the Financial Portfolio of Doom
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Kidney Stone
Harry Potter and the Quest to Buy a House in the Hogwarts School District
Harry Potter and the Quidditch Mom

Home Selling Mistakes

It’s tough enough selling a home nowadays. Don’t make the mistakes that turned off these readers on the City Room blog of The New York Times:

• “It was a good house, well-maintained. But the bed with the person in it was off-putting.”

• “The family dog, long departed, was stuffed and standing next to the fireplace. RIP Sparky.”

• “The main distraction was dirt. Although there was the tiny child who proudly showed us the refrigerator full of ‘Daddy’s beer’ just outside an upstairs bedroom.”

Blame Canada

Canada wants us to remember that it, too, is part of North America. So The Week asked its readers to come up with an eye-catching slogan for our neighbor to the north.

Canada: Where Your Cold Front Begins
Canada: It’s Not Just for Draft Dodgers Anymore
Canada: Land of Cheaper Drugs
Canada: Where Winter Spends the Summer

Rockstar Life

The band Kings of Leon cut short a concert after pigeons bombarded them with poop. Bass player Jared Followill couldn’t say how many birds there were. “The last thing I was going to do was look up,” he told CNN.

Adventures in Title Writing

What’s the toughest part about writing a book? It’s deciding what to call it, as these finalists for the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year prove.

Afterthoughts of a Worm Hunter
An Intellectual History of Cannibalism
Father Christmas Needs a Wee!
Collectible Spoons of the 3rd Reich
The Changing World of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

True Stories From Comic History

“Once in Virginia,” said a speaker who had received an introduction that promised more than he felt he could deliver, “I passed a small church displaying a large sign.
It read ‘Annual Strawberry Festival’ and, below in small letters, ‘On account of the Depression, prunes will be served.'”
–Boston Transcript

The best advice I ever received came to me from my ensign when I was a Wave at boot camp. She told me, “To stay out of trouble, say ‘Yes, sir’ all day and ‘No, sir’ all night.”

A friend and I were hitchhiking, but no one would stop. “Maybe it’s our long hair,” I joked. With that, my friend scrawled on a piece of cardboard: “Going to the barber’s.” Within seconds we had our ride.
–Raymond Butkus

A male friend of mine, an engineer at an aircraft company, works for a woman supervisor. An active member of women’s lib groups, she often shows up at work wearing buttons featuring feminist slogans. One day, her latest button, “Adam was a rough draft,” proved too much for my friend. The next day, he showed up at work sporting his own button: “Eve was no prime rib.”
–Phyllis Reely

While I was shopping in a pharmacy, a couple of teenagers came in. They were dressed in leather, chains, and safety pins. The boy had blue and purple spiked hair and the girl’s hair was bright yellow. Suddenly the boy picked up a pair of sunglasses and tried them on. “What do you think?” he asked his girlfriend.
“Take them off!” she howled. “They make you look ridiculous.”
–Audrey Kelly

My brother Jim was hired by a government agency and assigned to a small office cubicle in a large area. At the end of his first day, he realized he had no idea how to get out. He wandered around, lost in the maze of cubicles and corridors. Just as panic began to set in, he came upon another employee in a cubicle. “How do you get out of here?” Jim asked.
The fellow smiled and said, “No cheese for you.”
–Christine Probasco

I am five feet three inches tall and pleasingly plump. After I had a minor accident, my mother accompanied me to the emergency room. The triage nurse asked for my height and weight, and I blurted out, “Five-foot-eight and 125 pounds.”
“Sweetheart,” my mother gently chided, “this is not the Internet.”

Bird Lover

Coincidences were flying when a man was arrested and charged with stealing a bird feeder from Cornell University’s ornithology laboratory. According to the Associated Press, police charged James Buzzard, 44, who lives on Cardinal Drive in Ithaca, N.Y., with stealing the feeder from the lab on Sapsucker Woods Road.

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