Is anyone able to explain the punchline in this anecdote for me please?

Ein Bassist war einmal gemeinsam mit M. in Ostende, und beide benutzten zum Baden eine gemeinsame Kabine. In dieser Kabine begann der Bassist plötzlich laut zu singen. Darauf erhob M. beschwörend die Hände und sagte: "Um Gottes willen, hören Sie auf, ich habe es ja immer gewußt, daß Sie Ka-binen(ka-Bühnen-)Sänger sind.

This is exactly how it's written in the text - I'm not really clear if the portion in brackets is part of what was said or some attempt to clarify the joke?

  • ka is kein in southern accents, and long ü and long i sound similar.
    – Janka
    Jul 3, 2023 at 5:47

2 Answers 2


In some southern dialects the pronounciation of

Kabinensänger (= singer in a cabin/cubicle/here in the sense of shower)

Is very similar to

kein Bühnensänger (= no stage singer)

(Phonetically the 'kein' is in these dialects simplified to 'ka' and the 'ü' in 'Bühnensänger' sounds rather similar to an 'i': ka binensänger)

The joke obviously is in the latter contrasting with what they do for a living.

  • Warum darf man eine Biene nicht baden? Naja, es heißt ja: Bade ka Biene (Badekabine).
    – wonderbear
    Jul 3, 2023 at 8:45
  • Thanks, so you think the bit in brackets is just a rather awkward explanation of the joke? (For reference, nowhere else in the text does the author do this...) I wasn't sure if I was missing some reference in the ka-binen-ka-bühnen sequence.
    – ajor
    Jul 3, 2023 at 9:27
  • @ajor basically yes, that is it
    – wonderbear
    Jul 3, 2023 at 9:36
  • I like how you added this answer despite mine containing the exact same information. Love it. Jul 3, 2023 at 12:04
  • @ErithreusHoffing, so you are unable to see the difference in quality of the answers? That’s interesting.
    – Carsten S
    Jul 3, 2023 at 12:27

Maybe ka = kein binen = Bühnen, "I knew you were not a stage singer". In some dialect.

The joke being one meaning being negated, the other not.

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