Practicing French with humor: Toto jokes

With all the craziness in the world today, who couldn’t use some laughs? Let me introduce you to Toto, a little scamp who has been the subject of jokes in France for over 100 years. Toto cartoons, jokes, and videos provide a perfect way to practice your French language skills

Toto is the archetypical naughty schoolboy, always causing trouble and exasperating grownups. Toto jokes usually revolve around school, homework, and talking back to adults. The jokes are short and are popular among elementary school children. Their innocence and simplicity are refreshing!

There’s also a children’s game called tête à Toto (Toto’s head.) It’s the equation 0+0=0, but not written in the usual way. Instead, the first two zeros are used for eyes, the plus sign for a nose, the equals sign for a mouth, and the final zero as the head. Kids draw it while reciting “Zéro plus zéro égale la tête à Toto” (zero plus zero equals Toto’s head), which is to say that Toto is not the brightest lad in class!

Let’s look at some Toto jokes, first in French and then in English. Here’s a chance to practice your French!

Trouble with math

Toto a du mal à comprendre l’arithmétique. Le maître essaie de lui faire comprendre grâce à des exemples :
– Toto, si tu plonges ta main droite dans ta poche de droite et que tu trouves une pièce de 1 euro ; puis si tu plonges ta main gauche dans ta poche de gauche et que tu trouves une autre pièce de 1 euro, qu’est-ce que tu auras ? 

– Le pantalon de quelqu’un d’autre, monsieur.

Toto has trouble understanding arithmetic. The teacher tries to help him by using an example.

“Toto, if you put your right hand in your right pocket and find a 1-euro coin, then you put your left hand in your left pocket and find another 1-euro coin, what do you have?

“Someone else’s pants, sir.”

How old are you?

La grand-mère de Toto lui dit :
– Toto, pour que je ne paye pas ta place dans le bus, tu vas dire au chauffeur que tu as 9 ans et pas 10 ans, d’accord ?

– D’accord mamie, répondit Toto.
En montant dans le bus, le chauffeur demande à Toto :
– Bonjour mon garçon, quel âge as-tu ?
– J’ai 9 ans, monsieur !
– Et quand auras-tu 10 ans ?
– Quand je serai descendu du bus, monsieur !

Toto’s grandmother says to him, “Toto, so that I don’t have to pay for your seat on the bus, tell the driver that you’re 9 years old and not 10 years old.”

“Okay granny,” Toto replies.
When getting on the bus, the driver asks Toto, “Hello my boy, how old are you?”
“I’m 9 years old, sir!”
“And when will you be 10 years old?”
“When I get off the bus!”

Are you sure?

La maîtresse dit à tous les enfants :
– J’ai corrigé vos copies, et elles sont plutôt bonnes. Mais dis-moi Toto, est-ce que ton père t’a aidé pour tes devoirs ?
– Non, madame.
– Tu en es sur ?
– Non, il l’a fait tout seul !

The teacher tells the class,

“I have corrected your homework, and it’s pretty good. But tell me, Toto, did your father help you with yours?”
“No, ma’am,” replies Toto.
“Are you sure?” asks the teacher.
“Yes, he did it alone!”

An only child

Toto est dans la grande section à la maternelle. Il rentre de l’école et dit à sa mère :
– Maman, aujourd’hui, l’institutrice m’a demandé si j’avais des frères et sœurs qui allait rentrer en maternelle bientôt.
– Mais c’est très bien qu’elle s’intéresse à toi comme cela, mon chéri. Et qu’a-t-elle répondu quand tu lui as dit que tu étais fils unique ?
– Elle a juste dit : “Merci mon Dieu !”

Toto comes home from kindergarten and tells his mother, “Mom, today the teacher asked me if I have brothers and sisters who will be going to kindergarten soon.”

“It’s good that she is interested in you like that, my darling,” says his mother. “And what did she say when you told her you were an only child?”

“She said, ‘Thank god!’”

Want more Toto humor?
Check out the comic book series Les blagues de Toto by Thierry Coppée.

Image Credits
1,3,4,5,6. From the covers of comic books by Thierry Coppée
2. Toto head: Wikipedia

About the Contributor

Keith Van Sickle

I am a lifelong traveler who lives part of the year in Provence. I am the author of Are We French Yet and One Sip at a Time, as well as the upcoming An Insider’s Guide to Provence, all available at Amazon. You can follow me on Facebook,  Twitter and

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