Call it the black humour of black Mondays, but thousands of jokes about the City of London have found themselves zipping round offices and has thus proved a boon to tried and tested joke formats. As well as the recession coming with a title that comics can get their teeth into, it has been an opportunity to put the boot into those suited and booted high earners that everyone loves to hate – the merchant bankers – and highlight their unfortunate cockney rhyming slang couplet.
The equation e2 = :) or "economic gloom squared equals need for joke relief" is tangibly illustrated this week with the publication of Does Anything Eat Bankers? And 53 Other Indispensable Questions For The Credit Crunched, by Andy Zaltzman, one of Britain's leading satirists. Says its author: "The credit crunch is a genuinely baffling issue that affects most people to some degree, and an attempted comic explanation is probably as likely to shed light on the whole unhappy porridge as a serious one, and probably be much less depressing than a proper analysis of the sordid, embarrassing truth."
It's pretty difficult now to find a comedy night anywhere in the country without a joke about the economy. Here's what the average Joe is laughing at in the comedy clubs of Credit Crunch Britain...
The credit crunch means over 150 estate agents a month are losing their jobs. That could make for some heavily scented dole queues in the future.
What happens if you go bust, your bank goes bust and the United States goes bust? Nothing, except you still go bust.
When your local car dealership goes bust it means no one wants to buy cars. When General Motors goes bust it means there are no cars.
What happens when the stock market plunges, property prices collapse, inflation rises and then spins into a deflationary spiral, interest rates rise and then fall, the pound devalues. Who knows?
What's the difference between a no-claims bonus and a banker's bonus? You lose your no-claims bonus after a crash.
They used to say there are only two sure things in life – death and taxes. Now there are three – death, taxes, and borrowing money from the Chinese.
Things are bad. The poor are being ignored, the country is at war, rising unemployed. In fact, Margaret Thatcher picked up the newspaper and thought, "Hey, I must still be Prime Minister."
The term credit crunch was actually the first name given to Dorset Cereal Muesli. And if you can afford to buy the stuff, then I think the the real credit crunch does not affect you.
The Dow Jones is looking so ugly and battered they are considering changing it to the Vinnie Jones.
How much do you think bankers make? Some now make as much as £150,000 a year. But they say it stimulates the economy because eventually that money will trickle down to pubs, clubs and brothels ... and so it will eventually get back in the community.
The Government has always warned us that al-Qa'ida has planned an attack to damage our economy. Well, I've a feeling someone is sitting in a cave right now going "Wasn't me".
So let me get this right, it started with Bush creating sub-prime lending, a way for the poor of America to afford their own housing. It crashes, causing worldwide financialdisaster, plummeting our banks and mortgages, but now giving a chance for first-time buyers to get on the property ladder here. Define irony...
Mervyn King today said, "There is light at the end of the tunnel." Unfortunately it is a candle.
The biggest worry in the US is gas prices getting higher, and if that happens we might see something totally unprecedented in America. People actually walking.
Yesterday, we sat down our son and told him that it wasn't going to be a good Christmas. He said, "Is it because of the credit crunch?" and we told him, "No, it's because we don't like you."
People are too willing to put their non-existent money on credit cards. The only people who only accept cash are drug dealers. And they've all kept their jobs and still drive around in BMWs.
Miles Jupp (in upper crust character mode)
There seems to be a recession on. Must be terrible for the people involved.
What's the difference between a banker and a pigeon? A pigeon can still make a deposit on a Ferrari.
No wonder Northern Rock and Bradford and Bingley failed with the FSA in charge. What do the Food Standards Agency know about mortgages? They can't even get the fat content of a latte right.
We can't really complain about capitalism backfiring on us like this. As my grandmother used to say, "There's no point whingeing about being eaten by a horse if you've decided to play polo dressed as a sugar lump." Ian Stone
I knew the banks were in trouble when I turned on to watch Deal Or No Deal and the banker had disappeared. There was just Noel Edmonds, 22 boxes and a recorded message. Michael McIntyre
I've found a good efficient way to keep money in my account – overdraft excluders.
I remember the good old days, when "credit crunch" was just the sound your kneecaps made when the loan shark caught up with you. They were simpler times. Neil Cole
Adrian Green aka Dj minicab
A man walks in to a sweet shop and says, "Have you heard about the credit crunch?" The man behind the counter replies, "Is that made by Cadbury's or Nestlé?" Stephen Grant
Did you see they've had to change some cockney rhyming slang? Now merchant banker doesn't mean wanker, it just means "unemployed".
Dan Atkinson's Edinburgh 2008 show title: "The Credit Crunch and other biscuits"
Andy Zaltzman's 'Does Anything Eat Bankers? And 53 Other Indispensable Questions For The Credit Crunched' is out now, published by Old Street
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies