I just discovered that someone sold Conrad-branded cold packs with his cringe-inducing pun, そんなはずがアラスカ, printed on them. Here is a picture from an eBay listing for the item:
This line, そんなはずがアラスカ, is a play on the phrase そんなはずがあるっすか？, which basically means “That couldn’t be the case.” Literally, it’s more like “Could you really have that expectation?” What Conrad is doing is changing the very last part, the part that asks the question. He leaves the introduction of the topic, “the case” or “that expectation”, and then changes the question part to–wait for it–ALASKA.
For those of you who don’t read Japanese, here’s a romanization that will make everything clearer.
The original phrase: sonna hazu ga arussuka?
Conrad’s version: sonna hazu ga arasuka.
Just a slight sound change, and the whole meaning is different! Yet similar enough to be punny.
Of course, this joke fails, because it doesn’t make any sense. Alaska? What? When Conrad makes this joke in Kyou Kara Maou, Yuuri is horrified that such a cool, handsome guy like Conrad would make such a terrible pun…
…but he reminds himself that everyone has to have a flaw somewhere.
Here’s the kicker, though. In Japan, when a joke falls flat, people basically respond by going, “Brr! It’s cold!” I don’t know why this is, but in my head I equate the cold, frosty scene after a bad joke in Japan to the crickets and tumbleweeds we evoke here in the US. And this, my friends, is why it’s so hilarious that Conrad’s terrible pun is printed on a cold pack.
Conrad’s jokes: guaranteed to cool you down.