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Huge Scientific Study Reveals Funniest Joke In The World

Jake Massey

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Huge Scientific Study Reveals Funniest Joke In The World

Featured Image Credit: Flickr

A huge scientific study has revealed the funniest joke in the world. Watch Gregory Brown discuss it on his YouTube channel here:

The study being discussed in the video was actually conducted almost 20 years ago, but its findings remain interesting to this day.

Psychologist Dr Richard Wiseman set up website LaughLab in 2001 and more than 40,000 jokes were stored on it. Over the course of a year, more than 1.5 million people from across the world rated five randomly selected jokes on a five-point scale.

So without further ado, here's the joke that came out on top:

Knock knock... "Who's th-"

OK, I'm just messing. The best joke in the world is not a knock knock joke. It's this one here:

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?"

What do you make of that then? Not bad is it, considering a joke isn't likely to be at its most side-splittingly hysterical when muttered to yourself.

You seen this joke about these hunters, mate? Best joke in the world it is. Credit: Storyblocks
You seen this joke about these hunters, mate? Best joke in the world it is. Credit: Storyblocks

Wiseman said this joke came out on top because of its universal appeal.

He told The Guardian: "Many of the jokes submitted received higher ratings from certain groups of people, but this one had real universal appeal.

"Also, we find jokes funny for lots of different reasons. They sometimes make us feel superior to others, reduce the emotional impact of anxiety-provoking situations or surprise us because of some kind of incongruity. The hunters joke contained all three elements."

This sense of surprise is critical, according to Scott Weems, author of Ha! The Science of When We Laugh and Why.

Discussing Wiseman's study in the HuffPost, he said: "I believe comedy tastes vary so widely because humour isn't about setups or punchlines. Instead it's about the 'kick of the discovery', thinking one way and then suddenly turning that thinking around.

"Shock and surprise are needed for that turn, but there must be a destination too. The reason dead baby jokes are so unappealing is that the same ingredient providing the shock also leaves us with some unfortunate imagery once the joke is over.

"Of the thousands of jokes analysed in Wiseman's study, the ones rated highest by everybody included some shock or surprise, but not so much that they became the centrepiece of the joke.

"More important was a sense of false expectations being overturned. My personal favourite involved two ducks sitting on a pond. One of the ducks says, 'Quack'. The other quickly responds, 'I was going to say that!'. It's hard to be offended by that."

So remember the hunter and the duck jokes, folks, for when your Christmas cracker inevitably lets the side down on Friday.

Topics: Science, Funny, Interesting

Jake Massey
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