I came across this website with a selection of (somewhat dark) jokes with this format:

Alle Kinder ..., nur nicht [Name], [rhyming couplet]

Is this format of joke common and comparable to knock knock jokes? Are there any other jokes with this format?


Alle Kinder schauen auf das brennende Haus, nur nicht Klaus, der schaut heraus.

Alle Kinder laufen ums Lagerfeuer, nur nicht Gitte, die sitzt in der Mitte!

Alle Kinder fahren mit dem Rad, nur nicht Nette, die hängt an der Kette!

Alle Kinder schauen auf den großen Felsen, nur nicht Gunter, der liegt drunter.

  • 1
    It's common and there are other jokes with this format. There's at least one book with those jokes
    – Arsak
    May 17, 2020 at 19:05
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    What do you mean by comparable to knock-knock jokes? Simply the circumstance that there is a pattern to be filled with variable content? There are lots of such things in German (or German regional) culture. May 18, 2020 at 14:47
  • Jokes like that would suffice, yeah. I'm asking this question both out of curiosity and desire to learn German better so any answers will be greatly appreciated :)
    – Krish
    May 18, 2020 at 15:30
  • Gstanzln? But they're rather unlike knock-knock-jokes, and usually sung. May 18, 2020 at 16:06
  • 1
    @Arsak, that's a dialog, but usually narated by a monologer.
    – vectory
    May 20, 2020 at 6:12

2 Answers 2


I know two common German joke templates:
The first and I think most common is the "alle Kinder" templates, there are probably hundreds of them and I could tell at least 20 right away.

The second one are puns which are build in this pattern:
Was ist [color/property] und [does this]? - [pun].

Was ist orange und läuft durch die Berge? - Eine Wanderine (Wandern/Mandarine)
Was ist braun und schwimmt im Wasser? - Ein U-Brot (U-Boot/Brot)
Was ist gelb und knallt? - Eine Banone (Banane/Kanone)
Was ist grün und schwebt durchs Weltall? - Ein Salatellit (Salat/Satellit)
Was liegt am Strand und spricht undeutlich? - Eine Nuschel (nuscheln/Muschel)

  • Nice! - I did not know the word contamination pun. But obviously using a colour as one of the elements is not obligatory. May 19, 2020 at 8:42
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    @ChristianGeiselmann Yes, there are even versions of the joke where the punchline is that it's not such a joke like "Was ist gelb und kann nicht schwimmen? - Ein Bagger. - Und warum nicht? - Weil er nur ein Arm hat."
    – miep
    May 19, 2020 at 8:59
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    Actually these are called Sparwitze.
    – mtwde
    May 19, 2020 at 10:54

Two well-known "fill-the-pattern" traditions are the children songs

1) Meine Oma fährt im Hühnerstall Motorrad where there is something like a "standard" set of stanzas, but enthused singers may spontaneously create new ones describing various other strange activities of the grandmother. (A recent variation I met was Meine Oma hat im Rachenraum Coroooona, Corooona...)

2) The Scheiße song with stanzas like Scheiße auf dem Autoreifen macht beim Bremsen braune Streifen, and endless variations what effects Scheiße might have when put in other places. (Scheiße auf dem Weiberbusen hält die Männer ab vom Schmusen would be another well-known one. A third one is Scheiße auf dem Autodach wird bei 180 flach. You see the pattern.)

These songs are popular with eight to twelve years olds, approximately.

3) You correctly mentioned the ... außer [name]... verses such as Alle Kinder sind im Bett. Außer Rainer, den mag keiner.

For obvious reasons the better of these verses are rarely put down in writing, and the really spontaneously created anyway aren't.

4) There is some pattern gag featuring a bunny with a speech defect uttering sentences by the meaning "Do you have..." (Haddu...). These are known as Häschenwitze, but I cannot comment on them because I have never understood the joke. There are, however, many examples published on websites. Just use Häschenwitze as a search term. From my perspective, these are popular with 8 year olds.

5) A commenter above mentioned Gstanzl, a form of traditional music in the Alpine region where singers (often people gathered in the local pub) take turns in spontaneously adding stanzas, typically ironically commenting semi-public events relevant for the auditory (traditionally from life in the village, but nowadays it might shift to general politics). For the original meaning of the name Gstanzl, take as a hint stanza.

6) There is a tradition of Was ist der Unterschied zwischen... jokes (What's the difference of...) which then are to be answered with - ideally - rather unexpected solutions. Example: Was ist der Unterschied zwischen Hunden und Zwiebeln? - Es gibt keinen. Die Hunde bell'n und die Zwiebeln. (I admit that this is a particularly absurd one. But it is documented since at least 1977. I think I read it in the satirical monthly Pardon, and I somehow associate it with either Robert Gernhard or Friedrich Karl Waechter.)

  • Ich verstehe den Zwiebelwitz überhaupt nicht. Ist das ausschließlich absurd? Oder wird zwiebeln als mir unbekanntes Verb gebraucht? May 19, 2020 at 12:58
  • @phipsgablerx Hunde bell'n, Zwie-bell'n. May 19, 2020 at 18:56
  • While the two songs you picked are good examples, I'd say there are many more (think Rittersleut, Hab' 'ne Tante aus Marokko, Die Affen rasen durch den Wald, Die Vogelhochzeit ...), and arguably, extending/modifying any song is something frequently done in German (and presumably also in other languages). My little one could barely speak coherent sentences and already started picking up "alternate versions" of common songs at child nursery, such as "Oh Tannenbaum, oh Tannenbaum, die Oma hängt im Gartenzaun". May 19, 2020 at 19:07
  • Ohhhh... so scheitert man an der Umgangssprache. Bei mir ist einfach kein E in Zwiebl :) May 21, 2020 at 9:34

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