View Full Version : World's funniest joke and runner-ups

3rd Oct 2002, 23:41
Search for world's funniest joke finds a winner
Thu Oct 3,11:57 AM ET
By JILL LAWLESS, Associated Press Writer

Drum roll, please - an online search for the world's funniest joke has produced a winner.

In December, Richard Wiseman and his associates announced the front-runner, a hoary old gag involving fictional detective Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick, Dr. Watson. But in the final tally of some 2 million votes for 40,000 jokes, announced Thursday, a new joke emerged as a round-the-world rib-tickler:

"A couple of New Jersey hunters are out in the woods when one of them falls to the ground. He doesn't seem to be breathing, his eyes are rolled back in his head.

"The other guy whips out his cell phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps to the operator: 'My friend is dead! What can I do?'

"The operator, in a calm soothing voice says: 'Just take it easy. I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead.'

"There is a silence, then a shot is heard. The guy's voice comes back on the line. He says: 'OK, now what?'"

"Many of the jokes submitted received higher ratings from certain groups of people, but this one had real universal appeal," said Wiseman, who has published a book based on the experiment.

Wiseman, who teaches at the University of Hertfordshire in southern England, said the research revealed that different countries preferred different types of jokes. Respondents were asked to rate jokes on a five-point scale from "not very funny" to "very funny."

Germans were the most likely to find all types of jokes funny, while Canadians were the least amused of the 10 top responding nations.

The British, Irish, Australians and New Zealanders favored jokes involving wordplay, while continental Europeans liked jokes with a surreal bent. Americans and Canadians preferred jokes invoking a strong sense of superiority — either because a character looks stupid or is made to look stupid by someone else.

Among the jokes favored by Americans:

"Texan: 'Where are you from?'

"Harvard graduate: 'I come from a place where we do not end our sentences with prepositions.'

"Texan: 'OK, where are you from, jackass?'"

The winning joke is 102 words long.

The runner-up is considerably longer:

"Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson go on a camping trip. After a good dinner and a bottle of wine, they retire for the night, and go to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes wakes up and nudges his faithful friend.

'"Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see.

'"I see millions and millions of stars, Holmes,' replies Watson.

'"And what do you deduce from that?'

Watson ponders for a minute.

'"Well, astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful, and that we are a small and insignificant part of the universe. What does it tell you, Holmes?'

"Holmes is silent for a moment. 'Watson, you idiot!" he says. 'Someone has stolen our tent!'"


4th Oct 2002, 03:39

Thanks, theBlackman.

4th Oct 2002, 03:48
Har, har...tis a funny read tBm...but I think I like Holmes/Watson best :)

Ta and Good Hunting!

Mr. Perfect
4th Oct 2002, 04:14
Hunters shmunters. I like Homes & Watson and the Texan one better.

BTW, the last time I saw that first joke, the hunters wern't given a origin.

4th Oct 2002, 12:04

4th Oct 2002, 18:38
That Sherlock Holmes joke is old as hell. I heard it when I was a kid. How could it ever win anything?

4th Oct 2002, 18:47
I definitely liked the hunters one the best. But, that may just be due to my preference for violence. I thought the Texan one was funny, but the flow of it didn't seem to work well for me. And, the Sherlock one was pure comedic gold, but I'm still giving my nod to the hunters.

4th Oct 2002, 19:14
The Sherlock joke is missing a critical component in the setup. The sentence fragment:
<blockquote>they retire for the night, and go to sleep.</blockquote>
should be:
<blockquote>they retire for the night <font color=blue>into their tent</font> and go to sleep.</blockquote>

Not everyone that camps ends up sleeping in a tent. Some go "camping" and stay in a cabin. Some, like me, might lay out a pad and sleeping bag with no tent, or just snuggle down during winter still wearing my super insulative snowmobile suit with hood. Some just unfurl a bedroll and lie by the fire.

<small>As far as the retort, "I heard that when I was a kid", it doesn't declare anything definitive since you might still be a kid or you're just a year or few past being whatever qualifies as a kid. That's like saying, "See you next year" -- but on Dec 31 it means much less a time span than saying it on Jan 1. <i>(Not to attack Xcom, just showing the illogic of the retort when applying it towards an icon known for logic.)</i> I'm sure the contest didn't qualify age as a discriminating factor to rule out old jokes. Funny is funny as long as the context is understood, and some jokes have a long lasting power. After all, almost every joke you will ever tell is an "old" joke by some measure (i.e., you didn't make it up on the fly; quips are what you do on the fly).</small>

4th Oct 2002, 19:19
lol i have heard funnier jokes tho (a ruder ghehe)

4th Oct 2002, 23:28
But in the final tally of some 2 million votes for 40,000 jokes

Some of you seem to be missing the point. Old, new, middle-aged, whatever.

40,000 jokes. How you could avoid having heard one of the 40,000 (whether these or others) or that someone here not having heard at least one of them is remote. :p