In a project described as the largest-ever scientific study into humor, the British Association for the Advancement of Science asked Internet users around the world to submit their favorite jokes and rate the funniness of other people's offerings.
More than 40,000 jokes from 70 countries and two million critiques later, this is it:
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 man pulls out his phone and calls emergency services.
He gasps to the operator: "My friend is dead! What can I do?" The operator in a calm, soothing voice replies: "Take it easy. 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 hunter says, "Ok, now what?"
(This is the world's funniest joke? Am I in the right world?)
Researchers found significant differences between nations in the types of jokes they found funny.
People from the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Australia and New Zealand preferred gags involving word play, such as:
PATIENT: "Doctor, I've got a strawberry stuck up my ass."
DOCTOR: "I've got some cream for that."
Americans and Canadians favored jokes where people were made to look stupid(Actually Americans especially favor jokes where Canadians look stupid.):
TEXAN: "Where are you from?"
HARVARD GRAD: "I come from a place where we do not end our sentences with prepositions."
TEXAN: "OK -- where are you from, jackass?"
Meanwhile, many Europeans liked gags that were surreal or made light of serious subjects such as illness, death and marriage(It's strange how they grouped illness with death and marriage.):
A patient says, "Doctor, last night I made a Freudian slip, I was having dinner with my mother-in-law and wanted to say: 'Could you please pass the butter?'
"But instead I said: 'You silly cow, you have completely ruined my life.'"
And animals figured prominently. Take the number one joke in England:
Two weasels are sitting on a bar stool. One starts to insult the other one. He screams, 'I slept with your mother!'
The bar gets quiet as everyone listens to see what the other weasel will do.
The first again yells, 'I SLEPT WITH YOUR MOTHER!'
The other says: 'Go home dad, you're drunk.'
(I thought this one was better than the world's funniest joke. Perhaps it's because I'm partial to weasels after they saved my village from those damn marauding Visigoths.)