Can you please explain this joke: "I'm going bananas is what I tell my bananas before I leave the house"?

And another one: "I hate it when my friends ask me to do them a solid especially when I've been eating grapes all day"

Can you please give enough meanings and background without explaining how they are funny so that I can figure them out myself?

  • 5
    Do you have a source for this? Where did you read/ hear this?
    – Varun Nair
    Commented May 29, 2019 at 15:28
  • Can "bananas" mean "children" or "folks"? This works in my native language (Czech), and it really gave meaning to the sentence, so I just wonder whether it can work in English as well.
    – yo'
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 22:21
  • 2
    @yo' no, sadly not.
    – Muzer
    Commented May 31, 2019 at 9:29

4 Answers 4


The first one is a play on the phrase 'I'm going bananas' to mean going a bit crazy. (Sounds a bit like a Tim Vine one-liner this). It is meant to make you think they are going crazy when you read the first three words, but then when you read the rest, you realise you misunderstood (due to the lack of punctuation) and that the person is actually saying to their bananas, that they are going.

I'm going bananas
"I'm going, bananas" is what I tell my bananas before I leave the house

This is a joke best delivered verbally. If done with the right timing, (pausing after the first bananas) it's makes the audience think they are saying that they are going crazy, then when you finish the sentence it's clear that you're not - you fooled them into thinking you were saying one thing, but said another.

In the second one, a solid refers to both a 'favour' and 'poo'.

When you eat a lot of grapes, you tend to have softer poos, hence why it is difficult to do a 'solid' and would be annoying (and more difficult) if a friend asked you to do them a solid.

Here the person telling this is purposefully misconstruing what their friend is asking them to do.

  • 78
    But then again, if you're talking to your bananas, perhaps you really are going bananas.
    – LShaver
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 3:37
  • 14
    @LShaver I actually think that part needs to be in one of the answers. That was actually the part I got first. And it adds another layer to the joke.
    – trlkly
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 9:16
  • 3
    I would suggest expanding the explanation that the whole phrase "doing a solid" is an idiom for "doing a favor" meaning doing some act of kindness. You normally don't see it used with the other meaning of favor (e.g. you would not see "The knight had the king's solid." Commented May 30, 2019 at 11:35
  • 8
    FYI - I believe this joke is an example of a Garden-path sentence.
    – BruceWayne
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 15:53
  • 2
    @unutbu "Bananas" is not a proper noun here, the same way that "guys" is not a proper noun in "How's it going, guys?"
    – wjandrea
    Commented May 31, 2019 at 14:15

"I'm going bananas" is what I tell my bananas before I leave the house.

is a "garden-path sentence" . The Wikipedia article defines this as:

a grammatically correct sentence that starts in such a way that a reader's most likely interpretation will be incorrect; the reader is lured into a parse that turns out to be a dead end or yields a clearly unintended meaning. "Garden path" refers to the saying "to be led down [or up] the garden path", meaning to be deceived, tricked, or seduced. In A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, Fowler describes such sentences as unwittingly laying a "false scent".

Perhaps the most famous example of a garden-path sentence is:

Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.

which plays on two different meanings of "like" (in a way similar to; enjoy) and two meanings of "fly" (to travel through the air or move swiftly; an insect)

Another much cited example is:

The complex houses married and single soldiers and their families.

Here "houses" is initially interpreted as a noun, but in fact the sentence only makes sense if it is being used as a verb, meaning "to provide housing for", and "complex" is initially interpreted as an adjective ("complicated" or "made of many parts") but is in fact a noun (a group of buildings on the same site)

  • 2
    And that "complex" is a noun instead of an adjective.
    – Sled
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 0:12
  • 6
    "two different meanings of fly" Huh. My first interpretation was that it was a joke about thrown fruit.
    – nick012000
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 3:15
  • 2
    "Flys" was at one time in the past a valid plural of "fly" (as in insect). And that is an old joke, but I suspect that "flys" as a plural these days would cause confusion to some. In any case always check your flies before you leave the house. :)
    – Wossname
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 9:31
  • 3
    @nick012000 - you're not alone. I thought that for about 15 years, before I first read on stack exchange what the phrase was actually intended to mean.
    – AndyT
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 9:53
  • 2
    This sounds more like a Paraprosdokian to me than a garden-path sentence.
    – A N
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 14:43
  1. "I'm going (= becoming) bananas!" (= crazy).
  2. "I'm going (= go out somewhere), bananas" (the fruit) is what I tell my bananas (the fruit) before I leave the house

I am speaking to the fruit as if they were sentient and could understand me, which in turn makes me look and sound quite bananas (crazy, loony etc.).

to go bananas (slang)
1. To become irrational or crazy.
I'll end up going bananas if I have to work in this cubicle for one more day!
1. to go mildly crazy.
Sorry, I just went bananas for a minute.
I thought he was going to go bananas.
2. To express great excitement about something in an exuberant manner.
The kids are going to go bananas when we tell them about the trip.


  • 2
    Mari-Lou is the only respondent so far who actually understood the banana joke. The other answers all miss the point - that the speaker is using the fact that they talk to fruit to demonstrate that they're not actually crazy. Commented Jun 1, 2019 at 3:30

I tell the bananas:

I'm going, bananas.

I'm going, Lucy. [leaving]

idiom: to go bananas,to go nuts, to go crazy

  • 3
    While this is correct, it doesn't really explain the sentence as a whole as well as some of the other answers do.
    – V2Blast
    Commented May 31, 2019 at 6:09

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