Following the death of Quasimodo, the bishop of the Church of Notre Dame put out the word that they needed a new bellringer. No one applied except a man with no arms. The Bishop declared, “But my Son, you have no arms! How can you ring the bells?” “No matter” replied the man. He then proceeded to strike the bells with his face, producing the most beautiful melody. The Bishop was astonished, believing he had found a suitable replacement for Quasimodo. But in rushing forward to strike a bell, the armless man tripped, and plunged out of the belfry to his death in the street below. The Bishop, was stunned, and rushed to his side. When he reached the street, a crowd had gathered around the fallen figure. As they parted in silence to allow the Bishop through, one person asked “Bishop, who was this man?” “I don’t know his name, “BUT HIS FACE RINGS A BELL.”
The following day, the Bishop continued his interviews for a bell ringer. The first man to approach said, “Your Grace, I am the brother of the poor armless man who fell to his death yesterday. I pray that you will allow me to replace my brother.” The Bishop agreed to an audition, but as the man reached to strike the first bell, he groaned, clutched at his chest, collapsed, and died on the spot. Two monks, hearing the cries of grief from the Bishop at the tragedy, rushed up the stairs. “What happened? Who is this man? ” they cried. “I don’t know his name” exclaimed the Bishop, but HE’S A DEAD RINGER FOR HIS BROTHER.”
What’s so funny about this? With these long jokes, I don’t have time to explain everything. But you do need to know three things. First of all, Quasimodo is the main character in the famous French novel by Victor Hugo, entitled, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He was not a football player. This is a very large church, or cathedral in Paris. Quasimodo’s job was to ring the bells to alert people to come to pray. The next thing you need to know is that the expression “rings a bell” means that something is familiar. In this case, of course, the joke is that his face did literally ring a bell. Finally the expression, “dead ringer” means an exact duplicate. In this joke the second guy not only looked just like his armless brother, but he too died, making him a dead ringer. And THAT’s what’s so funny!
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