The modern mother-in-law doesn’t recognize herself in the old-fashioned stereotype which inspired British comedian Les Dawson’s jokes

Comic Les Dawson made a career out of cracking them – yet mother-in-law jokes have faded from Britain’s stand-up comic scene, it has been revealed.  Modern comedians are shunning the tried-and-tested pop at the wive’s mothers for more relevant material in a bid to keep their audiences rolling in the aisles.


They claim audiences are bored with mother-in-law jokes and believe they have become outdated – even though Dawson once famously said: ”The wife’s Mother said, “When you’re dead, I’ll dance in your grave.” I said: “Good, I’m being buried at sea.”

Now a men’s wedding website dedicated to helping grooms, best men and fathers-of-the-bride cope with the pressures of the big day, have comissioned a new horde of rib-tickling jokes to keep us entertained.

Andrew Shannahan editor of, said, “The demise of mother-in-law jokes are just purely the fact that they were so characteristic of a particular time of comedy, so from 70s to 80s with Les Dawson and Bob Monkhouse.

“Now alternative comedians react against it.

“The mother-in-law jokes became the figurehead joke of that genre and the alternative comedians were saying we don’t want to be the same as our forebears, we want to be something new and something fresh so that’s what swept the jokes away from that topic.

“Some jokes are considered to be old-hat or over-done, like differences between the sexes etc. We run a men’s wedding website so al lof our readers are men getting married or best men, father of the bride etc.

“Specifically in the run up to the wedding the mother-in-law is kind of taking over a little bit so you instantly go for jokes to try to amuse yourself about the situation and really the feeling was that it was a shame that more comedians hadn’t actually touched this as a topic.

“We wanted to see what modern comedians made of mother-in-law jokes – was it just no longer funny to take the mick out of your mother-in-law?

“But everything is like it was in the 70s where the mother-in-law is a figure of fun. We found in the region of 150 jokes sent into us about mother-in-laws so people still understand what it is as a joke.

“There’s still a lot of comedic gold there.

“We laugh and joke about things because that’s the way we cope as British, but there’s still a lot of tension there especially in the run-up to the wedding.

“It’s a topic that’s ever actually gone away. It’s just fallen from the headlines, there’s no figurehead like Les Dawson making jokes on TV on a daily basis, but people certainly still laugh about it because if we don’t laugh you cry.”

In an online poll conducted by 47% of men admitted to loathing their mother in law, while 53% said they loved her.

According to staggered’s relationship expert Brenda Della Casa, the top causes of friction with the future MILs are her spending too much time at the house, interfering in relationships or taking over the wedding planning and rejecting any of the groom’s ideas.

Andrew said, “One thing that’s very clear about the mother-in-law relationship is that it’s one that provokes very strong feelings – either positive or negative. It’s good to see that the majority of blokes get on with their mother-in-law, but many of the emails we’ve had on the subject show that many do still struggle and when it goes wrong, it really goes wrong.”

Phoenix Nights star Dave Spikey’s new gag came top of the board with: “We were having tea with my mother-in-law the other day and out of the blue she said, ‘I’ve decided I want to be cremated.’ I said, ‘Alright, get your coat.'”


1) “We were having tea with my mother-in-law the other day and out of the blue she said, “I’ve decided I want to be cremated.” I said, “Alright, get your coat.” Dave Spikey.

2) “We got a new car for the mother-in-law – that Government scrappage scheme is great!” Marc Whiteley.

3) “Getting my mother-in-law to accept a free foreign holiday was easy. The hard part was convincing her Dignitas was Swiss for spa.” Sean Lindsay.

4) “My mother-in-law was so mean she blinded herself just to get a free dog.” Gary Delaney.

5) “STEVE: My Mother-in-law went to the Caribbean. FRED: Jamaica? STEVE: Well I hope so, it’s hurricane season and she’s a horrible person.” Stephen Holford.


1) Les Dawson: “I can always tell when the mother-in-law’s coming to stay… the mice throw themselves on the traps.”

2) Ken Dodd: “I haven’t spoken to my mother-in-law for eighteen months. I don’t like to interrupt her.”

3) Bob Monkhouse: “My wife said: ‘Can my mother come down for the weekend?’ So I said: ‘Why?’ and she said: ‘Well, she’s been up on the roof two weeks already’.”

4) Les Dawson: “I took my mother-in-law to Madame Tussaud’s Chamber of Horrors and one of the attendants said: ‘Keep her moving sir, we’re stock-taking.'”

5) Henry Youngman: “I just got back from a pleasure trip. I took my mother-in-law to the airport.”

Via Telegraph