Quel est Le Joke?

A town name seemingly straight out of a Monty Python skit is found in the French-speaking Canadian province of Quebec, on Rte. 185 west of the town of Cabano – St. Louis-du-Ha Ha! The exclamation point, perhaps stuck on in an effort to cash in on the inherent comedy, isn’t official; the only town with such punctuation is Westward Ho!, a village in Devon, England.

One theory posits that St. Louis-du-Ha Ha!, a farming community, was named for the haha, a deep ditch used to keep wild animals away from crops. Or are the 1,500 villagers simply an exceptionally merry bunch? Do they walk around yukking it up like the studio audience at a sit-com taping? Does their taunt of choice mimic John Cleese’s French guard in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, who blew off King Arthur with the unforgettable “I fart in your general direction!”?

Not likely. Having to rise at dawn to plow les champs and milk les vaches doesn’t inspire much hilarity. Nevertheless, it’s a pity the villagers failed to get a jump on the dairy industry in France and co-opt the name of an internationally known soft cheese: La Vache Qui Rit (The Laughing Cow).

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