Q: What do you call it when Batman skips church?
A: Christian Bale

Does the word 'Bale' have a special meaning in this joke?

  • 4
    – Mick
    Commented Dec 29, 2016 at 15:10
  • 11
    It's punning on a slang use of bail to mean to depart or fail to arrive at a place where you are expected. Commented Dec 29, 2016 at 15:10
  • 1
    What do you call it when Batman promises to pay to get a group of Catholic priests out of jail pending their court hearing, and then fails to show up?
    – xdhmoore
    Commented Dec 29, 2016 at 22:34

1 Answer 1


Yes: To "bail out" is to abandon a crashing aircraft by jumping out and using your parachute to descend to the ground. Hence the colloquialism "to bail" is to leave a situation urgently. So in the joke, Batman is "bailing" from church. We presume the church is a Christian one.

The other meaning that makes it a pun is that the actor Christian Bale played Batman in The Dark Knight (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Bale).

  • 5
    To bail in slang nowadays means to not participate in some activity. Did John go out with you guys last night? No, he bailed on us. But basically, your answer is great.
    – Lambie
    Commented Dec 29, 2016 at 15:15
  • Yes, just to stress that "to bail" on something is not only slang, it's also fairly old slang that was in common use perhaps 30 years ago. So be careful if you plan to use it with young people, because it might not be the slang they prefer to use.
    – Andrew
    Commented Dec 29, 2016 at 16:53
  • @Lambie It means more that the person said they would participate then didn't, or left partway through, especially unexpectedly.
    – Kat
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 0:42
  • Isn't "Christian" included in the definition of "church?" Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 9:36
  • @Angew Not necessarily (in everyday usage). I heard people refer to religious houses as churches if they did either not remember the correct term or didn't knew that it belong to a religion different from Christianity. Though technically correct, as far as I know, only christian places are called churches.
    – JFBM
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 11:13

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