I just watched a comedy bit by Sean Lock.

I was at the zoo the other day and I got told off. I said, "Look! There's a mongoose!" Can't say that any more. "Special needs goose". That's what we got to say.

Why is a mongoose a "special needs goose"? This joke escapes me. Why is it funny and why is a mongoose a "special needs goose"?

  • 7
    I’m not at all sure if a comedy bit counts as literature. But it’s as simple as ‘Mong’ being a British-English slur for people with Down Syndrome (contraction of mongol/mongoloid) and hence for anyone stupid.
    – Spagirl
    Sep 15, 2020 at 21:53
  • 2
    @North Not everything that's spoken is an oral tradition.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Sep 16, 2020 at 9:18
  • 4
    I’m voting to close this question because it isn't about literature.
    – Chenmunka
    Sep 16, 2020 at 9:57
  • 4
    @EddieKal To be honest, I think referring to speeches by authors in this context is a bit of a stretch. To the best of my knowledge (and Wikipedia's "knowledge"), Sean Lock is not an author.
    – Tsundoku
    Sep 16, 2020 at 11:22
  • 2
    @Tsundoku though the accepted answer from user111 (was that Hamlet?) specifically addresses that, saying speeches by non-authors are equally on-topic.
    – Spagirl
    Sep 16, 2020 at 11:41

1 Answer 1


It took me quite some research to connect the dots. Apparently the humor should have something to do with "mon", so I tried to draw a connection between "mon" and "special needs". But neither "Monday", "Hmong", or "mono-" makes sense in this context.

I then realized the key could be "mong" instead of "mon". Lexico lists it as British

A person who is stupid or who has learning difficulties.

It is a contraction of "Mongoloid". So the joke hinges on "mongoose" being taken apart as "mong" + "goose". And because of political correctness, according to the comedian Sean Lock, we are not supposed to say "mong" so we have to say "special needs goose".


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