Article: World Funniest Joke competition

Article: World Funniest Joke competition
The world's funniest joke is a term used by Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire in 2002 to summarize one of the results of his research. For his experiment, he created a website where people could submit and rate over 10,000 jokes. Purposes of the research included discovering the joke that had the widest appeal and understanding among different cultures, demographics and countries.

The winner, submitted by Gurpal Gosall, of Manchester, England was:

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?"

The second place finisher and early leader was this joke, submitted by Geoff Anandappa of Blackpool, England:

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!"


While this was the top joke in the UK:

A woman gets on a bus with her baby.
The bus driver says: "That's the ugliest baby that I've ever seen. Ugh!"
The woman goes to the rear of the bus and sits down, fuming. She says to a man next to her: "The driver just insulted me!"
The man says: "You go right up there and tell him off, go ahead, I'll hold your monkey for you."


The study documented regional differences in humour, as well as variations between the sexes. Men preferred more aggressive jokes, as well as sexual innuendo, while women preferred word play. Wiseman points out that this is the joke that the most people found reasonably funny, and that it would be unreasonable to expect any joke to be universally judged superior to all others.

The aim of the research was to shed some light on how the brain works.

The experiment was conducted in Britain, where researchers solicited people around the world to contribute jokes as well as judge them. At the conclusion of the experiment, the scientists had evaluated over 40,000 submitted jokes and tallied nearly 2 million votes.


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