Here’s an expanded version of my Sept. 28 column with extra jokes from the Kiwanis Club of San Bernardino’s 31st annual Lyman Rich Joke Telling Contest:

Jokes are good. They lighten the mood. They ease tension. They offer a measure of much-needed relief in troubled times.

Obviously, we need jokes more than ever.

Thank goodness the Kiwanis Club of San Bernardino is doing its part to keep the supply strong.

Last week the club hosted its 31st annual Lyman Rich Joke Telling Contest at the San Bernardino Golf Club.

Almost two dozen Kiwanians tried to outdo one another in earning laughter, applause and groans from their colleagues.

They earned plenty of groans, that’s for sure.

After all, it’s a contest named after Lyman Rich, the local civic figure, pioneer Kiwanian and legendary corny joke teller who died in 1981.

This year’s contestants competed in three categories: “Best Joke,” “Worst Groaner” and “Most Like Lyman Rich.” Only a fine line separated best from worst in this competition, which made judging a challenge.

I know, because I was the judge.

Yes, for the seventh straight year, I was asked to serve as arbiter in this distinguished and time-honored event.

I have no idea why the Kiwanians think I’m such an expert on bad jokes, but I don’t want to screw up a good thing. It’s a free meal, after all.

Without further ado, here are the three winners:

Laura Gonzales triumphed, if that is the correct word, in the “Most Like Lyman Rich” category.

She told a joke about two cannibals who are sitting around the fire, eating and talking. One guy says to the other guy, “You know what? I can’t stand my mother-in-law.” The other guy says, “Well, just eat the potatoes, then.”

Carrie Schmidt was victorious in the “Worst Groaner” category with her joke about the convalescent hospital patient who was a bit of a playboy.

The old gent scandalized the whole institution when when he started up a relationship with Lorraine, but then started cheating on her with another woman named Claire Lee.

When Lorraine suddenly passed away, everyone went to the funeral in the hospital chapel, and the old geezer was asked if he wanted to say a few words. He shocked everyone when he stood up and broke into song:

“I can see Claire Lee now, Lorraine is gone!”

Jay Zercher won in the “Best Joke” category. He told a yarn about the late comedian Bob Hope and his wife of many years, Dolores Hope, who recently passed away at the age of 102:

About 20 years ago, Zercher said, when both Bob and Dolores were still alive, they were sitting outside one evening, enjoying their lovely home in Palm Springs.

Bob said, “Dolores, we’ve been married a very long time. Sometimes I wonder how you’ve put up with me all these years.”

Dolores replied, “Oh, I have a system, dear.”

Bob said, “A system? What is it?”

Dolores answered, “Whenever I get angry at you, I work it off by going around the house and cleaning all the toilets.”

Bob laughed and said, “Cleaning the toilets! How does that help?”

Dolores replied, “I use your toothbrush.”

Here are selected additional jokes told during the competition:

Steve Weber: This short, dumpy balding guy was at the gym one day and he saw a beautiful woman. He was smitten. He went to the trainer and said, “I really want to impress that new girl. She is so beautiful. Which of the machines here should I use?” The trainer said, without hesitation, “The ATM machine out in the lobby.”

Rex Ramsey: A woman holding a baby was walking on the sidewalk. A drunk stumbled toward her from the opposite direction. As they passed, the drunk said, “Madam, that’s the ugliest baby I’ve ever seen!” The woman burst into tears. A mailman saw her and asked what was wrong. “That man just insulted me,” she cried. The mailman said, “Now, now, don’t cry. Everything’s going to be fine. Here’s a tissue.” The woman stopped crying and said, “Thank you. You’re very kind.” The mailman reached into his bag and said, “You’re very welcome. Oh, and here’s a banana for the chimp.”

Christney Barilla: A guy had a curse put on him. He could speak only two words per year. He figured out that if he said nothing for a year he could save those two words and combine them with the next year’s words. In fact, he could keep doing this year after year, building up his supply of words. One day he met a princess and fell in love. He spent five years in silence, thinking of the perfect words to say. At last he met the princess and spent all his words at once: “How I adore you, my Princess! Will you marry me?” The princess said, “Pardon?”

Verlene Riddle: How do you catch a unique rabbit? Unique up on it! How do you catch a tame rabbit? Tame way!

George Gorian: The beautiful blonde boards the jetliner for a nonstop
flight between LAX and New York. She sits down in first-class. Shortly
before takeoff, an attendant approaches her, points out that her ticket
is for coach, and offers to take her to the correct seat. She refuses.
Next, the co-pilot tries to reason with her. Same result. Finally, the
pilot says, “I can handle this.” He approaches the woman, leans down and
whispers something. She immediately stands up and walks back to coach.
The co-pilot and attendant are amazed. “What did you say to her?” they
ask. The pilot said, “It was easy. I told her this section isn’t going
to New York.”

Dick Bueermann: Jose was visiting America. He wanted to go to a baseball
game. His friends took him, but the seats were bad. They were way out under the
flagpole in center field. Afterward, his friends were apologetic but
Jose said, “No, no, I’ve never had a better time. The game was
wonderful, and the fans were fantastic. I loved the way they all stood
up at the beginning, looked toward me, and sang that song that starts
‘Jose, can you see?'”

Gwendolyn Nelson: A man enters the health care center and announces, “I have shingles.” The receptionist takes his name, address and insurance information and tells him to have a seat. Fifteen minutes later, a nurse’s aide takes him in back, records his weight and height and asks him to take a seat in the examination room. A half hour later, a nurse checks his blood pressure, asks him if he has any allergies, tells him to disrobe and leaves. An hour later the doctor steps in, finds the man sitting naked on the exam table, and asks, “How can we help you today?” The man says, “I have shingles.” The doctor asks, “Where?” The man says, “Out in the truck. Where do you want me to unload them?”

As anyone can see, the Kiwanis Club of San Bernardino is a fun bunch, if ever there was one. They meet at noon every Wednesday at the San Bernardino Golf Club, 1494 S. Waterman Ave. For information on joining the club (and the fun), visit online at