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The World’s Funniest Joke Has Been Revealed By Scientific Experts

Frankie Golding

| Last updated 

The World’s Funniest Joke Has Been Revealed By Scientific Experts

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

A scientist has put their hard-earned PhD to good use and officially discovered what the world's funniest joke is. 

Watch Gregory Brown discuss it on his YouTube channel here: 

The finding of the world’s funniest joke is actually based on a study conducted 20 years ago this year - happy anniversary! 

Psychologist Dr Richard Wiseman set up the study through website LaughLab in 2001, where in over the course of a year, he invited 1.5 million people across the world to rate five randomly selected jokes out of a database of over 40,000. 

The results are in. The funniest joke in the world is... 

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? Considering a joke isn't likely to be at its most side-splittingly hysterical when muttered to yourself, it's not bad is it? 

Christmas Cracker Joke, Credit: Alamy
Christmas Cracker Joke, Credit: Alamy

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."

So listen to the scientists guys and try not to resort to dead baby jokes when you’ve had a few too many mulled wines this Christmas eh? 


Topics: Science

Frankie Golding
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