Make Me Laugh and Win a Prize

Rachelle Gardner

Blogger: Rachelle Gardner


How many agents does it take to screw in a lightbulb?


Give me the best answer… or simply tell me the best joke… and you’ll win a critique of your query or your first 5 pages, courtesy of moi. (If you don’t want a critique, I’ll send you a $20 Amazon gift card.)

lightbulbGo ahead, make me laugh.

*Contest closes Saturday night, 11:59 pm Eastern time. I’ll choose a winner and announce it next week.

*Standard restrictions apply, i.e. play nice, please.





89 Responses

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  1. I don’t know about agents, but how many Southern Baptists does it take to change a lightbulb?

    Change?!? What do you mean ‘change’?!?!?

    (Disclaimer: I’m a southern baptist so I’m allowed to tell that joke LOL)

  2. – How did Jesus keep track of His followers’ names?
    – He had an evangelist.

  3. This is my diabetic husband’s favorite:
    A husband dies and goes to heaven. A few years later, his wife dies. He meets her at the pearly gate with a sucker punch. “What was that for?” she gasps, stunned.
    “This is a great place,” he replied, “and you worked so hard for so many years just to keep me out of it.”

  4. OK, I thought up one for the original question. It’s pretty bad.
    – How many agents does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
    – Just one, but only if it’s a guy, because Chick Lit is out of style.

  5. Dave says:

    2 will insist the old lightbulb can still work
    3 will argue that the new lightbulb is too similar to the old one
    15 will say that the new bulb isn’t quite the right fit
    3 will say there are already too many lightbulbs out there
    1 will ask that the filament be changed, the glass to be clearer and the contrast more distinct


    1 will grab that lightbulb with both hands and find it in the best damn lamp in the world!

  6. David Todd says:

    – one to own the house where the light bulb is needed, and direct the efforts of the other five;
    – one to attend a meeting where different light bulbs are presented;
    – one to review proposals about the different light bulbs to create a short list;
    – one to read full information about the light bulbs on the short list;
    – one to negotiate a contract with the seller of light bulbs; and
    – one to guide the light bulb from the package into the socket.

  7. None. They’re all reading by Kindle-light. 🙂

  8. Sebastian Krys says:

    .. Just one but it takes 8 to 12 weeks for him to reply if he could do it.

  9. Micky Wolf says:

    My responsibility as a writer is to have a good bulb (book) in the socket in the first place. It’s the agent’s job to connect it to the juice (publisher). Then we can all savor and appreciate the light.

  10. Katie Powner says:

    What do you do with an elephant who has three balls?

    Walk him and pitch to the rhino.

  11. Lori says:

    How about a true story?

    Everyone has probably seen the picture of a woman driving with gas nozzle dragging along. Well that woman can be me. Years ago, I went to a gas station and put the nozzle into my gas tank which is on the passenger side of my car. Then I went to prepay for my gas. The guy behind the counter said t that the gas pumps were down for the time being. I leave and decide to get gas at another place. I get into my car and start it up. I heard a thud when I pulled away and thought nothing of it. Before I turned on to the road and then the highway, a guy came up to my car and said do you know you have a gas nozzle hanging from your car. I thanked him and proceeded to turn. As I was driving down the highway I realized what he said to me.

  12. I’m sure you’ve heard about the millionaire and philanthropist, Andrew Mellon. The story goes that Mr. Mellon discovered his daughter was having an affair with the chauffeur and planned to marry him secretly. So he called his daughter into his office, told her he was against the marriage, and asked the very fruitful question: “Sweetheart, what will your honey do if you can’t elope?” (Must be read aloud for full groan-factor.)

  13. Deanna says:

    One. But it will take him 6-8 weeks to get to it.

  14. Leanna says:

    Only one, but first you’ll have 57 of them tell you that it’s just not the right project for them to take on at this time.

  15. Wendy Cross says:

    That’s classified.

  16. How many agents does it take to change a lightbulb? Only one, if it’s a Books & Such Agent. Highly skilled, able to leap tall bookcases with a single ladder, efficient–so they use LED bulbs that only have to be changed once every 25 years, and perfectly comfortable negotiating contracts while changing said lightbulb.

  17. Dear Rachelle, I’m lousy at laughs, but I love puns and alliterations.
    How many agents does it take to propel a proposal into a publishing committee?
    It only takes one match to ignite a bright idea queried to the brilliant.
    (This applies to so many of the agents I’ve gotten to know here and elsewhere.)
    Blessings ~ Wendy Mac

  18. How many agents does it take to change a lightbulb? 9 ¾
    One literary agent who blogs to encourage Eager Author to attend conferences to meet agents in person.
    Three agents at the ACFW conference to reject Eager Agent’s masterpiece, either straight away or after a few months.
    Five agents listed in Writer’s Digest Guide to Literary Agents to reject Eager Author or keep him hanging—some of them for years.
    And ¾ agent (referred to as such by Eager Author either because it’s shorter than “Last and Greatest Hope”—for ¾ agent asked for a full manuscript and hasn’t passed on it yet—or because ¾ agent is a direct descendant of Sam Gamgee and, therefore, greater in heart and courage than in height—Eager Author wouldn’t say), who actually has a burned out bulb, tweeted about hating to change light bulbs, and happens to live within a reasonable distance (that is, the same country) of Eager Author.
    Anyway, ¾ agent, not having had a chance to get to Eager Author’s manuscript yet (being involved in selling the work of her current clients), uses the stepladder Eager Author brought to change the light bulb herself, as she didn’t want to give Eager Author false hope.

  19. I’ll play. This is an old one, but still makes me smile. Three threads want to see a movie, so they go to the ticket counter. The first thread steps up to pay, but the ticket seller refuses to sell him a ticket, because he’s just a thread. The second thread tries to buy a ticket, but again, the ticket seller will not sell him a ticket either, because he’s just a thread. So, the third thread says he’ll try. On his way to the counter, he begins to wiggle and dance about, but when he steps up to buy a ticket, the ticket seller refuses to sell him a ticket, as well. “But why?” He asks. She replies, “Because your just a thread.” He steps back from the counter in plain view of the ticket seller, and says, “I beg your pardon, ma’am, but I’m a frayed knot.”

  20. Who were the first people who didn’t read the Apple Agreement?
    Adam and Eve 🙂

  21. Nita Sweeney says:

    Did you know that medical testing facilities are starting to use lawyers instead of rats in scientific experiments? Three reasons: (1) there are more lawyers than rats, (2) the lab assistants don’t get nearly as attached to the lawyers, and (3) scroll down . . .




    There’s just some things a rat won’t do!

  22. Agents don’t actually change the light bulbs. Writers do. To win the opportunity to be the light bulb changer, first you’ll need to write a personalized letter describing the light bulb and what makes you an expert in the field of light bulb changing. You’ll need to include clips of articles on light bulbs you’ve changed before. If this is your first attempt to change a light bulb you can include instances of changing batteries. Be sure to type the letter in Times New Roman, 12 point type, one-inch margins on all sides. Whatever you do, do not begin the letter with a question: “What if the world ran out of light bulbs?” And if you spell the agent’s name wrong, you’re out of luck.

  23. Jared says:

    Thank you very much for sending me your request to change a lightbulb. As you may know, we receive over a hundred lightbulb changing requests per week, and so we must be very selective. At this time I do not feel that I am the right agent to change your lightbulb. Please remember that this is only one opinion, and another agency may feel differently. After all, it just takes one “yes” to change your lightbulb. Best of luck.

    • Rachelle Gardner says:

      For some reason, this has an odd ring of familiarity to it. Can’t figure it out.

      • Jared says:

        The least favorite part of the process for both writers and agents, I’m sure. But at least we can all laugh about it. I’m guessing if you asked agents how many publishers it took to change a lightbulb, you’d get an answer something like this:
        “We’d really like to change your lightbulb, but can we give the lightbulb a love interest? What if the lightbulb was a dog?”
        “The last time we changed a lightbulb like this someone broke it, and we’re not ready to go through that again.”
        “Vampires are really popular on lightbulbs. Why aren’t there any vampires on your lightbulb?”

  24. Nicole Ochoa says:

    I was in the grocery store with my 10yr old son yesterday. The register rings up somewhere close to $100.

    Him: I’m going to give you a hundred bucks someday.

    Me: Oh, ya? How?

    Him: But you’re going to have to let me go hunting first.

    Took me a minute…100 “buck.”

    He had the whole group at the checkstand laughing.

  25. Lisa Fowler says:

    Sunday morning’s sermon title:
    Jesus Walks on Water

    Sunday evening’s sermon title:
    Searching for Jesus

  26. Andrea says:

    Q: How many Psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb?
    A: Only one, but the bulb has got to really WANT to change.

  27. None. All they need to do is offer a free critique (or a $20 Amazon card) and dozens of writers would gladly change that lightbulb for them. 😉

  28. Six: one to screw the bulb in and five agents to review its twists.

  29. Ok, this is the joke that I always told wrong and now whenever I attempt another joke someone inevitably mocks all of my earlier attempts. But I will try one more time, hopefully, I can get it right …

    Why do seagulls fly over the ocean?
    Because if they flew over the bay, they’d be Bagels.

    Ha ha!

    What I’m famous for saying is: “Why aren’t seagulls Bagels?” which doesn’t work nearly as well, but I keep hearing it said back to me, over and over again, and they do laugh…I wonder if that counts as a successful joke, since laughter was eventually involved, years of laughter???

  30. Well, no one seems to have gone here yet, so I will.
    * How many agents does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
    * Depends. If they’re CBA, they’d prefer the word ‘install’.

  31. Jamie Taylor says:

    A: Ten. One to change it; nine to think they could have done it better.

    *not my original work… but amusing just the same!

  32. sarah raymer says:

    Ok….buckle your seatbelt for this one………..
    Three couples want to join the church. Minister says: If you can go without sex for three months then you are welcome in the church. Sooooo… three months all three couples come back. Minister says to the first couple, “Well, how did you do?” Couple says, “Preacher we tried so hard but after 4 weeks we just couldn’t stand it any longer, we had sex.” Minister says….I’m sorry but you are not welcome in the church.
    Second couple comes in…….Minister says……”Well how did ya’ll do”? Second couple says, “Preacher, we almost made it but after 2 months without sex we just couldn’t resist”. Minister says…..I’m sorry but you are not welcome in the church.
    Third couple comes in……..Minister says……”Well how did ya’ll do”? Third couple says, “Preacher, we tried and tried to resist but after 2 1/2 months my wife dropped a soup can and I just couldn’t take it anymore and we went at it hard and heavy for 30 minutes.” Minister says, “I’m sorry but you are not welcome in the church”. Third couple says, “That’s ok, we’re not welcome in Kroger any more either. Baaaaahaaaaa

  33. Jasen Flint says:

    What’s the difference between an alligator and a baby?

    An alligator makes his bed in a river. A baby makes his river in a bed.

  34. Anthony says:

    Not a joke, but a true story. My wife and I were driving from PA to AL. There was a specific gas station along the way that I really liked because they allowed you to pump and pay. So I drove up to the pump, got out and gleefully began trying to fill my vehicle. I squeezed the nozzle handle and would only hear click click. After about 3 minutes I blurted out in frustration “hello”. Through the speaker a woman answers “hello, are you talking to me?” I said “yes ma’am can you turn the pump on?” She said “sir the pump is on.” I replied “no, no it’s not on, the numbers aren’t turning.” She replied “yes they are.” No I am becoming increasingly furious because I feel she is playing a game. Finally after 5 mins the pump finally turns on. I fill my car and storm into the store. I walk up to the counter and look at the lady behind it. “Why didn’t you just turn the pump on? I said. She looked at me funny. I demanded to speak to her manager. She gave me his number. It was only as I was steaming mad and walking back to my car that I overheard the lady on the other side of the pump talking to her husband. She said “honey did you hear that man behind the counter inside yelling at me to turn the pump on? I kept telling him it was on!” It was that moment I realized you had two rare breed of idiots present. Myself and this lady yelling back and forth at each other through the pump and neither of us realized it.

  35. Elissa says:

    How many agents does it take to screw in a light bulb? Only one, but she has to find just the right socket, who loves the bulb every bit as much as she does, and who will champion it through the entire process until the light shines for everyone.
    Not really a joke, but I like to think it’s a good analogy. 🙂

  36. Jenna B says:

    Why were the Stars Wars episodes released in the order 456123?

    Directed by Yoda, they were.

  37. Elaine Faber says:

    Two baby skunks, named In and Out, were running in and out of the house . They drove mama skunk crazy. Whenever In was out, Out was in. Or whenever Out was out, In was in, One day, at suppertime, Out was in, and In was out. Mama skunk said, “Out? It’s dinner time. Run out and bring In in.” So Out went out and before long, he brought In in. Mama skunk said. “Good job, Out. How did you find your brother so quickly and bring In in?”
    Out grinned and said, “It was easy. In stinked…”

  38. Rita Monette says:

    Two…One to screw the bulb in and one to hold the stack of books she’s standing on.

  39. Jenny Snow says:

    How fun! Thanks for the chance!

    Past, Present, and Future got into an argument. It was tense.

  40. Ray Lego says:

    Enough to spot my grammatical and spelling errors, and that I didn’t get the ladder 😉 #Punny

  41. Lani Greyson says:

    *heavy breathing, Darth Vader style*
    Darth Vader: Luuuke…
    Luke: Yes?
    Darth Vader: Luke – I know what you’re getting for Christmas.
    Luke: how?
    Darth Vader: I have felt your presents


  42. Ron says:

    Was highly offended by the set up…because I thought it was “how many ASIANS does take…” Then moderately offended because I thought it said “How many CAJUNS does it take…” Then mildly offended because I thought it said “How many JAYGENS does it take…” And then wondered what the hell a Jaygen is. But in the end, agents work alone. Notice James Bond never has a sidekick. So, one.

  43. Stephanie says:

    Why do French people eat snails?

    …Because they don’t like fast food!!!

    That’s all I got.

  44. Melanie says:

    Knock! Knock!

    Who’s there?

    Control Freak.


    Okay, now you say, “Control Freak who?”

  45. Cort Fernald says:

    Two men are golfing, waiting on the tee for a pair of women golfers on the fairway. One guy says “go down there and ask them is we can play through. One looks like my wife and the other my mistress.”
    The other guy walks down the fairway, then suddenly hides behind a tree and sneaks back to the tee. He looks at his friend and says “Small world, isn’t it?”

  46. These are the best I could make up…
    Why did the book cross the road? Because the chicken on the other side paged him.
    Why did the crime author cross the road? That’s where he was booked.
    Why did the mystery author cross the road? We have no clue.
    Why did the mystery author cross the road? That’s where his proof was.
    Most people have been laughing at the cover of my book: “They Don’t Make Socks for Chicken Toes”, but I can’t post a picture here. 🙂

  47. Gigi Murfitt says:

    How many agents does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

    One. But the author has to write well enough to get the publisher to flip the light switch.

  48. Dean Lampros says:

    Lots of stats about light bulb changers here. Not sure if I believe any of them, since everyone knows 27% of all stats are made up.

  49. Corrine Loyola says:

    When Forest Gump died, he stood in front of St. Peter at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter said, “Welcome, Forest. We’ve heard a lot about you.” He continued, “Unfortunately, it’s getting pretty crowded up here and we find that we now have to give people an entrance examination before we let them in.”

    “Okay,” said Forest. “I hope it’s not too hard. I’ve already been through a test. My momma used to say, ‘Life is like a final exam. It’s hard.’ ”

    “Yes, Forest, I know. But this test is only three questions. Here they are.”

    1) Which two days of the week begin with the letter ‘T’?”

    2) How many seconds are in a year?

    3) What is God’s first name?

    “Well, sir,” said Forest, “The first one is easy. Which two days of the week begin with the letter ‘T’? Today and Tomorrow.”

    St. Peter looked surprised and said, “Well, that wasn’t the answer I was looking for, but you have a point. I give you credit for that answer.”

    “The next question,” said Forest, “How many seconds are in a year? Twelve.”

    “Twelve?” said St. Peter, surprised and confused.

    “Yes, sir. January 2nd, February 2nd, March 2nd …”

    St. Peter interrupted him. “I see what you mean. I’ll have to give you credit for that one, too.”

    “And the last question,” said Forest, “What is God’s first name? It’s Andy.”

    “Andy?” said St. Peter, in shock. “How did you come up with ‘Andy’?”

    “I learned it in church. We used to sing about it.” Forest broke into song, “Andy walks with me, Andy talks with me, Andy tells me I am His own.”

    St. Peter opened the gate to heaven and said, “Run, Forest, Run!”

  50. S. J. Wells says:

    I don’t know much about agents, because I’m not one. I don’t know much about light bulbs either, because I’m blind and ask my sighted husband to change them. If he forgets, it makes no never mind to me. I can read in the dark as well as the light. As far as jokes and puns go, here’s one my daughter just told to me. The wisemen came to see the young Jesus and said, “We’ve brought you gold and frankincense, but wait there’s myrrh.” 🙂

  51. Saying “no” to a query,
    Must sometimes make you weary.

    I’m sure when trying to find the next great book,
    sometimes all your energy gets cooked.

    A frustrating publisher call,
    must make you want to bawl.

    I imagine editing for hours,
    sometimes turns days from sweet to sour.

    But even with all the stresses,
    an agent always blesses.

    Smart as a tack,
    Brilliance she does not lack.

    When it comes to changing the bulb of a light,
    she doesn’t even use all of her might.

    Only one agent can change a light bulb with ease,
    and anyone who doesn’t think she can, surly has fleas!

  52. Jade Garrison says:

    So, Descartes and I walk into a bar. I order a beer and ask Descartes if he wants one. He replies “I don’t think so”. I turn around and he disappears!

  53. In a library, you never know what the next question or comment will be. See below a few that have made me suppress smile.
    “Where are your real vampire stories?”
    “Is the Hulk stronger than Superman?”
    “Do you know where my mommy pee pee’s?” (I actually knew the answer to this question and found the mom in the ladies’ restroom.)
    “Can I read your head?” (No. You can read books, newspapers, or magazines, but not my head.)
    “Do you want to take my sister home with you?”
    “My mom said to tell you I didn’t check out the book I lost.”

  54. Annemarie DeClark says:

    How many agents does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
    Send the $200 reading fee and I’ll tell you the answer.

  55. One. The agent holds up her hand and the world revolves around her. (Or him)


    A woman is getting married and she goes to help her mother find a dress. They have success and her mother is very pleased. Her parents are divorced and later, at her father’s house, his new wife shows her the dress she has chosen. It is the same dress. The young woman has no luck talking the “Jennifer” out of wearing the dress to the wedding.
    So the young woman takes her mom out again and after a long search, they find a dress her mother likes better. The daughter suggests there is still time to take the first dress back.
    Her mother smiles. “Oh, no, I am going to wear it to the rehearsal dinner.”

  56. Jenny Snow says:

    Can I share a second? I just remembered one from Joyce Meyer that went something like this:

    A woman confessed to her husband that she had once again ruined the budget by buying a new dress. “Why did you even go in the store?” He asked. “Well, it looked so pretty in the window, and it was on sale. Before I knew it, I had it on in front of the mirror, and it was like the devil just came and whispered in my ear how good I looked and that I should buy it.” The husband frowned. “You should’ve said, ‘Get behind me Satan!'” “I did,” she answered. “But then he just said it looked even better from behind!”

  57. How many agents does it take to change a light bulb? Just one, but then she has to blog, post, tweet, pin, and Instagram it. That takes the rest of the day.

  58. I hope it’s not against the rules to have two responses, but this answer came to me last night at 3 am while I was trying to sleep:
    How many agents does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Only one, if it’s a good agent making changes and the light bulb will shine brighter than ever with only a 30% charge, but if the agents are bad, then the bulb just keeps getting screwed over and over again but never works. 🙂

  59. I already sent a joke, but couldn’t resist replying to the light bulb question.

    You mean you’ve gotta change light bulbs too??!


  60. Arthur Smith says:

    One. The agent is only accepting non-fiction works at this time.

  61. Ann says:

    How many literary agents does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
    One. They’re not stupid. They’re just subjective.

  62. Ree says:

    How many agents does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
    What kind of answer are you currently seeking?

  63. NYT Bestseller says:

    Dear Agent:
    My answer is an absolute masterpiece. It incorporates a little bit of romance, a lot of mystery, some historical facts and even some satire! How’s that for being creative? Harry Potter would love my answer. I don’t have any experience answering jokes on other blogs, but my BFF said my response is the best thing she ever read. It’s comparable to The Da Vinci Code. My answer is top secret, so please call me ASAP so we can discuss it.

  64. In a Catholic school cafeteria, a nun places a note in front of a pile of apples,”Only take one. God is watching.” Further down the line is a pile of cookies. A little boy makes his own note, Take all you want. God is watching the apples!”

  65. Chris Masterson says:

    None. The struggling author could not find and agent that would change the bulb. Although many promised to do so if his query was good enough, had a web site and was a blogger. He,hadn’t sold a book yet and wrote queries by candle light and sold his book on Amazon. He hired an editor, filled his house with lights and continued to write.

  66. Terry Palmer says:

    Easy answer is three. One to hold the light bulb and two to turn the ladder. The second answer is none – for writers who don’t use your service and stay in the dark.

    Preferred_ If you have ever visited northwestern Wisconsin, you’ve probably heard of Joe my bass fishing friend. Other fishermen used to groan and shake their heads when Joe entered a tournament with them. You see… Joe had the ability to find a bass where no others could and that ability paid off time and again, until…
    Joe had a car accident by showing off a trophy when he should have been driving. He lost most of his left arm and the trophy.
    Now, you have to understand how his mind works. After two surgeries and intensive rehab, Joe wanted to get back to bass fishing. But the ‘how to’, frustrated him to no end. He tried countless methods to go it alone, even paid a few others to cast for him, but it just didn’t work.
    Finally, after weeks of depression, Joe came to me for advice. His long look and puffy eyes told his story more than his words.
    After two long walks along the shore, I pointed to the water and shook my head. “Joe, ya gotta find the answer and I think I know where to go.”
    Joe perked up at this. “What? Where?”
    You see, I had inside information from a friend of a friend who also had an accident. “Here Joe, call this number. What do you have to loose?”
    Well, I’m happy to report that Joe did make the call, got the answers and showed up at my door two weeks later, ready for the lake.
    Once past the second weed bed, Joe showed me his new rig. A violin maker had custom made a shoulder mounted frame upon which Joe could first cast with his good arm, attached the pole and reel to the devise and wait for a bass to hit.
    I could see the old twinkle in his eye. I shook my head in wonder at him. “Does it work? Have you caught any big bass?”
    Joe smiled that big grin of his and held out his good arm. “Two days ago, I caught one THIS LONG !

    That was long, I know, but it makes a point. How many similar points did I make in my story joke, that you will find as a new writer if you do use the services provided by these good people?

  67. Christin Hepner says:

    It only takes one agent to screw in the light bulb to turn on the light. My light into into the publishing world. Let there be light!

  68. It takes six agents. One to write the instructions, one to critique the manuscript, one to edit the manuscript, one to test the instructions, one to raise the funds to publish it, and one to promote the volume of instructions. Doggone it, I guess it takes seven. Someone still has to screw in the bulb.