A Monkey Riding A Dog Has Always Been Funny

There are a few sure things in the world –

  • The Sun’s path from east to, over there somewhere.
  • Gravity.
  • An old woman being in the fast lane when you’re late for work.
  • A monkey riding a dog will always be funny.

The first three are easily explained. The Sun’s trip, gravity and the old woman are all forces of nature. Physics, string theory and several other things that I don’t have time to sit here and explain to you people all dictate that those things will occur forever.

A monkey riding a dog, that is more complex. Science has not been able to explain why it is funny. But historians and others have documented that the combination has always drawn laughs. Today, I’ve brought four examples to show you that monkeys and dogs have milked this gag since way before YouTube.

Ancient Cave Wall Scenes

Image of a horse from the Lascaux caves.

Not what I’m talking about (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The famous paleolithic cave paintings in Lascaux, France contain the first evidence of simians and canines teaming up to entertain humans. Deep in the Lascaux cave is a crude depiction of a monkey wearing a loin cloth, straddling a dog who is running for all he’s worth. In the foreground of that painting are two human figures, on their backs. These are our ancestors, enjoying a belly laugh courtesy of a monkey riding a dog.

The loin cloth in this cave painting is especially significant. It shows that the monkey being clothed has somehow been a factor that magnifies the humor of dog riding since before written history.

Yeah, You Can Spell It Huang, But We Know You’re Saying Wang

English: qin shi huang terracotta army xian ch...

That’s a ton of play-doh. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In China, archeologists have been painstakingly unearthing the Terracotta Army that was buried along with Emperor Qin Shi Huang.

I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures. The army is amazing isn’t it?

But there are two recent discoveries about the emperor’s army that are becoming more widely known. The first is that there are several hundred terracotta warrior figures that have plant matter on them. Archeologists believe these are the predecessors of today’s Chia Pets.

More to the point, in the area just outside of Qin Shi Huang’s burial chamber, are two clay animal figures. The monkey figure was discovered lying beside a dog. There is a theory that a careless grave robber knocked the monkey off its terracotta dog.

Shakespeare Gets In On The Action


“The monk astride the cur turneth my frown upside down” – Shakespeare (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Globe Theater, where Shakespeare’s plays were first put on, burned down in 1613. That was the year that The Globe produced two Shakespeare plays that were strongly influenced by dogs.

The first, The Show Of Mr. Dogg And Mr. Poneigh, did not have an actual dog in the cast. The second, Villainous Monkey, was a slapstick work centered on the battle between a bumbling sheriff and a spider monkey who robbed travelers and escaped the sheriff by riding off on the back of a sheep dog.

Villainous Monkey, like Dogg and Poneigh, was only performed once. Unfortunately, in the second act of Monkey, on the play’s first night, the dog slid while running on stage and knocked over a footlight.

A fire ensued. Many in the audience perished in that 1613 fire because they were paralyzed with laughter and did not realize that the dog’s slip was not part of the play until it was too late.

Ben Franklin, More Than Just A Discount Store

Great Seal of the United States

Ben Franklin, not looking at a dog and monkey.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ben Franklin. What a guy. Inventor, brewer, scientist, brewer and a huge figure in United States history.

Franklin was known to have a sense of humor, perhaps fueled by beer. He displayed his humor  during the Continental Congress of 1774. When he felt tensions were getting too high amongst the delegates, Ben hired a monkey and a dog to run through the halls to lighten the mood. It seemed to work for everyone except Patrick Henry.

Henry was a little high-strung and took offense that Franklin brought the monkey/dog team in without putting it to all the delegates for a vote. To appease Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington arranged Franklin’s appointment to the post of Ambassador to France to keep his hijinks away from the temperamental Henry.

Ben Franklin won over Paris with his wit and charm. He reintroduced singe montant un chien to a French culture who had lost the joy of a monkey riding a dog back in the paleolithic era and had not yet discovered the caves at Lascaux.

It Can’t Be Explained

No one knows why a dog saddled up with a monkey is funny, it just is. But we can see that throughout history the combination has drawn laughs. Monkeys and dogs have teamed up and done very well for themselves performing the same act their ancestors did eons ago.

I waste too much time trying to figure out why things are the way they are. I’m learning to just enjoy what’s put before me. I’ll start by not over thinking monkeys and dogs, beginning now…

An entry in the Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge.


23 Comments on “A Monkey Riding A Dog Has Always Been Funny”

  1. No. Monkeys on dogs are not funny. They are still shifty-eyed poo-flingers who haunt my nightmare. I fear I have said too much…

    • omawarisan says:

      Ha ha ha….differing opinions are always welcome, especially if they include the phrase shifty-eyed poo-flingers. But you can’t argue with Ben Franklin. He is Ben F-ing Franklin for God’s sake!

    • Snoring Dog Studio says:

      I agree with becomingcliche. Monkeys are evil, ugly and menacing. Dogs deserve so much better. I like the idea of a squirrel riding a dog, while the dog is chasing after a monkey, who is frightened to death. And then the monkey falls over a cliff.

  2. Are you, by any chance, studying for a Jeopardy audition?

  3. Daile says:

    I was scrolling down the whole time in anticipation of the final photo being a monkey riding a dog. I feel empty. I want to laugh dammit!

  4. Do you think it’s a coincidence that both Benjamin and Beer start with the same letter?

    • omawarisan says:

      And barley too.
      Just had two Goose Island beers. It was almost like being at Murphy’s at Wrigley without the joy of the cathedral across the street.

  5. Dear Dad (aka Santa), For Christmas, I would like a monkey. (I already have the dog.) Thanks in advance!

  6. The monkeys and dogs need to step it up. I suggest a monkey riding a dog riding a hippo. Brilliant!

  7. That monkey in the video is kind of creepy. It would be funnier if the dog was riding the monkey piggy back. Of course if a pig were to be walking alongside training the monkey to do that … Oh, I see how it goes about the “too much thought” thing.

  8. Man. This is thorough.

    Squirrel waterskiing is right up there, too. Although I guess if it really rivaled the monkey/dog combo, the squirrel would be standing astride two fish or something.

    Hmmmmm… Off to find a squirrel.

  9. QG says:

    Im looking for the name of a movie in which a monkey is riding a dog in a scene. Its been driving me and my dad insane, we cant seem to remember. Mind helping out?

  10. […] some monkeys found work with organ grinders or by riding dogs for pay instead of recreation, most found themselves destitute. Lost generations piled up. Waves of caffeine addicted offspring […]

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