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Got this one off a Batman Forever cassette tape, but the choice to repeat it is all mine: I shoulder the blame.

Why can't you know how many people can fit on the floor of an opera house?

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    $\begingroup$ why 4 closevotes?? $\endgroup$ – George Menoutis Jul 15 at 20:34
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    $\begingroup$ @GeorgeMenoutis Honestly, I'd say three downvotes and four votes to close after the correct answer was posted are a badge of honor for any terrible pun. $\endgroup$ – Exal Jul 15 at 23:16
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WARNING: PUN INCOMING!

You can never truly 'know how many people can fit on the floor of an opera house' because:

Its ARIA changes regularly!

(Or something equivalent, like: 'every day it has a different aria' or 'it has so many different arias'... It's the word 'aria' that's important here.)

And because it always makes it funnier when you explain a joke:

This relies on the similarity between the words 'aria' (an accompanied, elaborate melody sung (as in an opera) by a single voice) and 'area'. An opera might contain many different arias, and an opera house may host many different operas...

This also fits with the title, since:

A strophic aria is a musical term describing an operatic piece in which all verses are sung to the same melody.

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    $\begingroup$ It must be something like this because this ties in with the title too. $\endgroup$ – hexomino Jul 15 at 14:17
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    $\begingroup$ @hexomino Ah yes, I totally didn't spot that all-important hyphen in the title! Thanks :) $\endgroup$ – Stiv Jul 15 at 14:23
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Is it that

the word many modifies the word people so the question is actually asking: Why can't you know how (many people) can fit on the floor of an opera house?

The answer could be:

We don't know how (many people) could fit on the floor of an opera house? They could fit in all kinds of way, standing next to one another, standing on top of one another...

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    $\begingroup$ I like it, but it's simpler and dumber than that. $\endgroup$ – Exal Jul 11 at 20:57
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Q: How many brides walk down the aisle in February?

A: None - brides walk down the nave.

The aisles are at the sides of the pews, the nave is in the middle.

Q: How many ropes were on Nelson's ship, HMS Victory?

A: Exactly four. Only four things on a ship are "ropes" in correct terminology. All the rest are "Sheets"

Is the answer some similar word trick? Maybe opera houses don't have a "floor" because it's correctly called some other term?

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  • $\begingroup$ I like the thought process, but no. I've changed the title to reflect the method. $\endgroup$ – Exal Jul 14 at 21:06
  • $\begingroup$ "All the rest are "Sheets" - Not so. There are also lines, halyards, warps, stays, and a few more I can't think of right now. $\endgroup$ – chasly - reinstate Monica Jul 14 at 22:58
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My version

That's because you said "an opera house", not "the opera house". We cannot know how many people can fit on the floor of an opera house without knowing which opera house it has been talking about.

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Is it

because you'll never fill an opera house?

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    $\begingroup$ I mean, I won't, personally, but the right singers can. $\endgroup$ – Exal Jul 14 at 21:05

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