Monty Python did a "Killer Joke" sketch about the funniest joke; it was allegedly so funny that anyone who heard it died laughing. It was so hilarious the World War II-era German sketch character who wrote it died, and the Nazis started a Joke Warfare program to kill their Allied enemies with mirth.Continue Reading
British psychologist and author Richard Wiseman did an experiment that he called LaughLab in which he sought to determine the world's funniest joke. He asked people to send him the funniest jokes they knew and then vote on them. Wiseman collected 40,000 jokes, of which 1,001 clean jokes are in PDF format at his blog and in his book "Quirkology." One joke submitted to LaughLab asked how many surrealists it takes to screw in a light bulb. The answer was two: one to screw it in and one to hold the fish. Another LaughLab joke asks what an agnostic, dyslexic insomniac thinks about all night: whether there is a Dog.
Europeans seem to prefer absurd or surreal jokes, whereas Americans prefer vague threats or insults. This is not to say Europeans don't like insulting humor. European LaughLab participants liked the joke about the patient who told his psychiatrist he made a Freudian slip with his mother-in-law. He meant to ask her to pass the butter but instead said, “You silly cow, you have completely ruined my life."
The funniest joke as rated by 1 million people in LaughLab? To paraphrase: Two men were hunting, and one collapsed. The hunter still standing got on his mobile phone and called the emergency line. He said his friend had died and asked what to do. The dispatcher said to make sure his partner was dead. There was a pause, then a shot sounded. The hunter got back on the phone and said, "OK, now what?"
(The Monty Python joke is actually nonsense: "Wenn ist das Nunstruck git und Slotermeyer? Ja! ... Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput." Although it's untranslatable, Monty Python said not to try to translate it; success may result in death by laughter.)Learn more about Jokes