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A joke in a student comic:

There are two owls playing pool. One accidentally nudges the white.

Owl 1: That's two hits.

Owl 2: Two hits? Two hits to who?

What does this joke mean?

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  • 1
    Isn't this a pun? two hits = tweets? (or am I just imagining it)
    – shin
    Jan 25 '16 at 9:05
  • 5
    The joke is based on the pronunciation of the question, which is similar to how owls sound, something along the lines of "toohit, toohoo".
    – Vilmar
    Jan 25 '16 at 9:08
  • 10
    Note to people answering this: how animals' cries are represented is a very language-dependent matter. In English, owls say "To-wit-to-woo". In Chinese they probably say something very different.
    – Colin Fine
    Jan 25 '16 at 12:45
  • 11
    Huh? I've never heard of "To-wit-to-woo". Is this a British English thing? I've always seen it referred to as just "who" or "hoo" in American English.
    – Beska
    Jan 25 '16 at 13:44
  • 2
    In the U.S., the call of the barred owl is described as "Who cooks for you?"
    – bonh
    Jan 25 '16 at 17:28
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Per Vilmar's comment, this is a pun, re: how owls produce the hooting sound:

hoot

verb

1. (of an owl) utter a hoot. "owls hooted, the new moon rose"

synonyms: cry, call, utter a hoot, screech, tu-whit tu-whoo

"in the stillness of the night an owl hooted"

tu-whit tu-whoo

tʊˌwɪt tʊˈwuː/

noun

used to represent the cry of the tawny owl.

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  • 9
    Specifically, the "tu-whit" is the call of the female and the "tu-whoo" is the reply of the male, so it's technically the cries of a pair of tawny owls.
    – ClickRick
    Jan 25 '16 at 11:21
  • 1
    +1 to @ClickRick. In the factoid spirit: the name given to this double-touch of the cueball is a "scratch". Jan 25 '16 at 12:23
  • 11
    Sorry but a "scratch" is when the cue ball goes in the pocket (see wpa-pool.com/web/index.asp?id=123&pagetype=rules). This joke, however, relates to 8-ball pool as played in the UK, where the penalty for a foul is that the fouling player misses a turn, which is usually expressed as the incoming player getting two visits (or hits) in a row. I speak as a former chairman and captain of the London pool team.
    – Rupe
    Jan 25 '16 at 16:41
  • 2
    @Rupe In American English, any kind of foul might be called a "scratch" but usually any foul that is not the white ball going into the pocket is called a "table scratch" to be clear. Sometimes the penalty for a cue ball in pocket scratch is different from the penalty for a table scratch, hence the distinction. Jan 26 '16 at 2:36
  • @ToddWilcox That's interesting. I guess in practice the idiomatic use of the word is at odds with the World Pool Association's definition of the term (point 8.6 in the link I gave). It's also at odds with what my American pool-playing friends tell me, so I wonder if there are regional differences (there certainly are with pool terms here in the UK). In hindsight, I probably should have stressed the more important second part of my comment, which adds information about how the joke works that hadn't been given previously. I've heard forms of this joke many times over the last 30 years.
    – Rupe
    Jan 26 '16 at 9:14

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