What's the Scientifically-Proven Funniest Joke in the World?

s-scientifically-proven-funniest-joke-world Credit: Erin Nekervis/CC-BY-SA 2.0

Because humor is so incredibly subjective and variable, it may not be possible to identify a single joke as the absolute funniest joke known to man and science, but research has shown that some structural elements, such as brevity, tend to be more common components in jokes that are more widely found to be funny. Factors such as nationality or other cultural identity, language, age, gender and education level can all have a profound effect on what a person finds funny. Additionally, because so many jokes rely on cultural hallmarks that are not likely to be universally understood, it may be next to impossible to identify or develop one joke that all humans will be able to find funny.

Though humor tends to be subjective, there may be ways of identifying what a person might find funny based on the very demographics that make universal humor a challenge. Humor researcher Richard Wiseman has found that Americans tend to enjoy jokes that involve aggression in the form of insults or threats, while Europeans tend to enjoy jokes that aren't tethered too closely to reality. In spite of Wiseman's extensive research, he himself has not been able to identify the world's funniest joke. His own personal favorite joke even failed to impress an NPR writer in 2014.