Tale of the Tape

KHOU gets defensive about airing a blurry spring break tape

The first time Hoffman told this joke in print was in 1987, with the Oilers as the subject. He did it again in 1991 and 1992; the latter time he noted he "gets to ask it once a year."

He proved that claim wrong by not using it for four years; he made up for it somewhat by telling it two times within two weeks in 1996. In 1999 and last year we all allegedly chuckled over it too.

Seven times in 14 years is not often enough to constitute a tradition, but enough to wonder about recycling lame material.

"Are you asking me about the years I do run that sophisticated bit of humor, or the years I don't?" Hoffman responded by e-mail to our investigation. "That joke is an American classic, like Frosty the Snowman or Gone with the Wind. Those movies are almost as beloved as my Astros joke, but the TV networks still don't show them every year. This way, I keep 4.3 percent of Chronicle subscribers (my readership) wishing and hoping to hear the joke again."

Well, maybe. We're just glad his defense didn't work in a reference to Wrestlemania or Paul McCartney's latest album.

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