The But in the Joke is the eighth episode of the eighth season of Bones.


A street artist who is plastering his work on a billboard falls into his glue—and onto a corpse—so the team try to get him unstuck from the remains as they also work to identify the body. Meanwhile, Booth takes a stab at stand-up comedy at a club's open-mic night to look for suspects; and Angela finds herself attracted to the street artist.

Synopsis Edit

A vandal/artist goes to work on a high billboard before slipping and plummeting to the ground. A few hours later, Bones and Booth stand over the young man, who refuses to give his real name. When they lift him off the ground, it becomes apparent that the man has fallen into human remains. The adhesive that the man uses means that a decomposed skeleton has been glued to him. "There's a dead dude stuck to my back?" the man yells. Exactly.

Back at the Jeffersonian, the complaining vandal lies on a lab table. Angela enters and recognizes the vandal's artwork. "You're Zed?!" she asks. Apparently, Zed is an elusive and mysterious street artist. Later, Bones and Booth interview Denny, a manager of a telecom company who recently reported his heir apparent at work, Morgan, missing. Turns out that the victim is this Morgan. "He could sell anything," Denny says. Denny also says that Morgan's girlfriend had recently accused him of cheating.

Hodgins and Fisher smear peanut butter on the Zed-Morgan sandwich to begin the process off separating the two. Angela gets the drugged Zed to admit that he is the famous street artist. She is star struck and impulsively kisses Zed. Bones and Booth, in the meantime, head out to interview the victim's girlfriend, Alexa. The young woman lives with her brother, Elliot. When B&B tell the pair that Morgan is dead, they break out into a fit of laughter.

Back at the Jeffersonian, Zed is finally separated from Morgan and reveals to Hodgins that Angela kissed him. Sweets then brings Alexa in to question her. "I'm not a psycho!" the girl says. She laughed because she thought it was just another one of Morgan's practical jokes. Turns out the telemarketer by day was a comedian by night. When Alexa hears that Morgan was found with a joke arrow -- a la Steve Martin -- through his head, she suggests looking for whomever put it there. Morgan, she says, was a "cerebral" comic.

Later, Bones theorizes that the victim was struck in the face multiple times with a blunt object. Angela then finds Zed in her office, admiring her paintings. "Your husband was peeved that you kissed me," he says before suggesting that Angela might have been an artist had she not gotten married and moved to the suburbs. He also confesses that Angela is the only one in the world who knows his real identity. Questioning her life decisions, she agrees to keep his secret.

Bones and Sweets then interview Elliot, who reveals that Morgan had a regular heckler named Larry. Larry is another comic who hated Morgan. So B&B head to the local comedy club to interview Larry, who claims that the heckler-comic relationship was a routine. Larry, in fact, says he wrote most of the jokes. Bones then spots a flier that shows a comedian named Rex with a fake arrow through his head. Now that Morgan is dead, Rex will inherent the prime Friday night time slot. "That's got to make you suspicious," Larry says.

Rex explains that Morgan probably stole his arrow. Why? Because Morgan apparently stole everything. "Jokes, props, women," Rex explains. Rex's giant mallet then tests positive for blood. Uh oh. Later, Hodgins asks Angela why she kissed Zed. "I kissed him because he's a great artist and his art is changing the world," she explains. Angela is clearly sad about something. Sweets approaches Booth with a plan to get to the bottom of the claim that Morgan stole jokes. Booth will go to open mic night and mix new jokes in with stolen ones -- and Sweets will watch the crowd to see who reacts.

Hodgins enters the lab with news: what tested positive as blood is actually from turnip juice. So Rex is cleared. At the comedy club, Booth awkwardly takes the stage and soon goes off script. He begins telling jokes about shooting suspects and gets big laughs. When he tells the stolen jokes, a woman stands up in the crowd and accuses Booth of stealing. Booth later questions the woman, Annie, who says Morgan bought her jokes. So Morgan's death hurt her career? "For real. He had bookings -- TV shows, clubs," she explains.

Back at the lab, Angela reconstructs the skull and discovers three distinct blows. Hodgins then entires and says the remains had urine residue. They put two and two together and theorize that the victim's face was slammed three times into a toilet seat. So Hodgins is charged with examining every toilet seat that Morgan used regularly. It's a dirty job and Hodgins is happy to do it. He finds a bone fragment on the toilet in Alexa's apartment. But Alexa already has an alibi, so Elliot is brought in for questioning. Turns out that Elliot became very angry when Morgan told him he was going to dump Alexa (and Elliot) and move to New York. "I did what I did and wrapped him up in a shower curtain," Elliot confesses. Case closed, but not the episode.

Angela and Hodgins then spot Zed on a nearby street. Angela has painted something on the wall and they watch as Zed stops to admire it. When confronted, Zed compliments Angela on her work -- especially because the technique is suitably non-conformist. She is thrilled. Hodgins is proud.


Main CastEdit

Intern of the WeekEdit

Guest Cast

Featured MusicEdit

  • "Problems" - Move.Meant
  • "The party" - 11 Acorn Lane


  • It is revealed in this episode that Fisher is a stand-up comic and something of a dark, underground sensation on the circuit.


  • Brennan: The adhesive has had ample time to adhere. Pulling them apart would rip off Michelangelo's skin, or worse, completely destroy the evidence.
    Michelangelo: Worse than ripping off my skin?
  • Zed: Is that you, sweet chocolate angel?
    Cam: Oh, my god. What did you give him?
    Fisher: Some stuff for depression, mood swings, panic disorder--
    Cam: I don't want to know. What I heard? Cup of chamomile tea.
  • Fisher: I don't know if you're aware, but I do a bit of stand up comedy myself.
    Brennan: I imagine you are not very skilled at it as you are not a humorous person.
    Fisher: My routine is dark, disturbing, and uncomfortable. Just the way a comedy show should be.

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