Thursday, 5 May 2005

The Funniest Joke in the World

Apparently, the world's funniest joke (well, besides "Wenn ist das Nunstruck git und Slotermeyer? Ja!... Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput") is this:
"Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn’t seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed.

"The other guy whips out his phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps: ‘My friend is dead! What can I do?’ The operator says: ‘Calm down, I can help. First, let’s make sure he’s dead.’

"There is a silence, then a shot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says: ‘OK, now what?’" (The Scotsman)
Perhaps not what I'd think is the funniest joke ever, but it does make me laugh. But I guess it's all subjective - the article notes how different nationalities are inclined towards different kinds of jokes, with Americans and Canadian leaning towards jokes that involve people being made to look stupid; the Brits, Irish, Aussies, and Kiwis liking wordplay; and the Europeans enjoying surreal jokes and ones that make light of grim subjects.

You can read all sorts of sociological phenomena into that - Americans and Canadians are more egalitarian, Europeans like jokes that help cope with the weight of history - but that would probably be stretching it. All we can say is, some jokes translate, and some don't. I did find the example of a surreal joke in the article really funny:
An Alsatian went to a telegram office, took out a blank form and wrote: "Woof. Woof. Woof. Woof. Woof. Woof. Woof. Woof. Woof." The clerk examined the paper and politely told the dog: "There are only nine words here. You could send another Woof for the same price." "But," the dog replied, "that would make no sense at all."
Actually, the joke reminds me of the old American talking dog joke (#26 on this list): "Maybe I should have said DiMaggio?"

A few years back, GQ had a list of the 75 funniest jokes in the world (nicely reprinted in Slate) which, while not necessarily comprehensive, had a few classics in it. Steven Wright's "I went to a restaurant with a sign that said they served breakfast at any time. So I ordered French toast during the Renaissance" makes me smile every time.

Some favourites of mine not on any of those links:
"I saw my father naked once . . . But it was okay . . . Because I was soooo young . . . and sooo drunk." - Sarah Silverman

"Some guy hit my fender, and I told him 'be fruitful, and multiply.' But not in those words." - Woody Allen

"Interestingly, according to modern astronomers, space is finite. This is a very comforting thought - particularly for people who can never remember where they have left things." - Allen again
But then, if you know me, you know I think Allen is a comic genius.



How about:
"I'd call him a sadistic, hippophilic, necrophile, but that would be beating a dead horse"
from What's Up, Tiger Lily?


Ooh, good one - been a while since I watched What's Up, Tiger Lily?


I take it my personal favourite 'what's brown and sticky?' didn't make the list. It's not technically a JOKE is it since it's a question...


My favourite joke takes half an hour to tell but can be summed up in two words:

Purple Passion.


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