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(E) The World's 'Funniest' Jokes
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  03/4/2002 | Humor And Wisdom | Unrated
(E) The World's 'Funniest' Jokes
 
The World's 'Funniest' Jokes 
By TOM KUNTZ 
 
IF you're a careful reader of this newspaper, you're 
already aware that British scientists have released 
preliminary results of their search for the world's 
funniest joke. Reprinted below is the best-rated joke in 
their global online survey, which will be followed up with 
further diligent study. (You may be skeptical of online 
surveys like this. If so, you may have a point; just read 
some of the jokes.) 
 
Now, for a closer look at the findings of Dr. Richard 
Wiseman. He's the psychologist at the University of 
Hertfordshire who devised the experiment with the British 
Association for the Advancement of Science. 
 
It's no surprise that women and men have different ideas of 
just what constitutes funny. Or that different 
nationalities do. But did you know that while computers can 
beat grandmasters at chess, they still can't bring down a 
room? And that those cutups the Germans (think lederhosen) 
may be the most laugh- prone people on earth, followed by 
zee zilly French? 
 
Samplings from the research follow: 
 
In the three-month experiment (www.laughlab.co.uk), some 
10,000 jokes were submitted from more than 70 countries, 
and an estimated 100,000 Internet users rated them. 
Forty-seven percent gave the following knee-slapper the 
highest rating: 
 
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are going camping. They 
pitch their tent under the stars and go to sleep. Sometime 
in the middle of the night Holmes wakes Watson up: "Watson, 
look up at the stars, and tell me what you deduce." 
 
Watson says, "I see millions of stars and even if a few of 
those have planets, it's quite likely there are some 
planets like Earth, and if there are a few planets like 
Earth out there, there might also be life." 
 
Holmes replies: "Watson, you idiot, somebody stole our 
tent!" 
 
Ba-dum, bum. Differences emerged between the jokes most 
favored by men and women. The top jokes among men involved 
aggression, putting down women and sexual innuendo. (Women, 
curiously, did not see what was so funny in these kinds of 
jokes.) Examples of two of the three types are given here 
(no sex, please; we're The New York Times): 
 
Aggression: While robbing a home, a burglar hears someone 
say, "Jesus is watching you." To his relief, he realizes it 
is just a parrot mimicking something it had heard. 
 
The burglar asks the parrot, "What's your name?" The parrot 
says, "Moses." 
 
The burglar goes on to ask, "What kind of person names 
their parrot Moses?" 
 
The parrot replies, "The same kind of person that names his 
Rottweiler Jesus." 
 
Putting down women: This guy runs home and bursts in 
yelling, "Pack your bags, sweetheart, I've just won the 
lottery, all six numbers!" 
 
She says: "Oh, wonderful! Should I pack for the beach or 
the mountains?" He replies, "I don't care - just pack and 
shove off!" 
 
Women, by contrast, preferred jokes involving wordplay: 
 

man walks into a bar with a piece of tarmac under his arm. 
He says to the barman, "A pint for me and one for the 
road." 
 
Ba-dum, bum. The researchers also ranked nationalities by 
how funny they found the jokes. The Germans were the most 
easily amused: They rated 35 percent of the jokes "very 
funny." But have Germans ever been to the Borscht Belt? You 
be the judge, from their two favorites: 
 
Q. Why is television called a medium? 
 
A. It is neither 
rare nor well-done. 
 
To tell the weather: Go to your back door and look for the 
dog. If the dog is at the door and he is wet, it's probably 
raining. But if the dog is standing there really soaking 
wet, it is probably raining really hard. If the dog's fur 
looks like it's been rubbed the wrong way, it's probably 
windy. If the dog has snow on his back, it's probably 
snowing. Of course, to be able to tell the weather like 
this, you have to leave the dog outside all the time, 
especially if you expect bad weather. 
 
Sincerely, the Cat 
 
The French were just behind the Germans on the chortle 
index (maybe because the Germans are still laughing about 
the Maginot Line). The favorite French joke: 
 
"You're a high-priced lawyer. If I give you $500, will you 
answer two questions for me?" 
 
"Absolutely! What's the second question?" 
 
Other national 
favorites, starting with the joke rated second-funniest 
overall: 
 
United States: 
 
A couple of New Jersey hunters are out in the woods when 
one of them falls to the ground. He doesn't seem to be 
breathing. His eyes are rolled back in his head. 
 
The other guy whips out his cellphone and calls 911. He 
gasps to the operator: "My friend is dead! What can I do?" 
 
The operator, in a calm soothing voice, says: "Just take 
it easy. I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead." 
 
There is a silence, then a shot is heard. The guy's voice 
comes back on the line. He says, "O.K., now what?" 
 
Belgium: 
 
 
Well, you see, there are basically three kinds of people in 
the world. Those who can count and those who can't. 
 
Australia: 
 
A man left for a vacation to Jamaica. His wife 
was on a business trip and was planning to meet him there 
the next day. When he reached his hotel, he decided to send 
his wife a quick e-mail message. Unable to find the scrap 
of paper on which he had written her e-mail address, he did 
his best to type it in from memory. 
 
Unfortunately, he missed one letter, and his note was 
directed instead to an elderly preacher's wife whose 
husband had passed away only the day before. When the 
grieving widow checked her e-mail, she took one look at the 
monitor, let out a piercing scream, and fell to the floor 
dead. At the sound, her family rushed into the room and saw 
this note on the screen: "Dearest Wife, Just got checked 
in. Everything prepared for your arrival tomorrow. Your 
Loving Husband. P.S. Sure is hot down here." 
 
 
Sweden: 
 
A guy phones the local hospital and yells: "You've gotta 
send help! My wife's in labor!" 
 
The nurse says: "Calm down. Is this her first child?" 
 
He 
replies: "No! This is her husband!" 
 
 
 
Britain: 
 
A man goes to the doctor and says, "Doctor, there's a piece 
of lettuce sticking out of my bottom." 
 
The doctor asks him to drop his trousers and examines him. 
The man asks, "Is it serious, doctor?" and the doctor 
replies, "I'm sorry to tell you but this is just the tip of 
the iceberg." 
 
Perhaps in despair, the researchers tried generating jokes 
by computer. One did pretty well, beating more than 300 
human jokes: 
 
Q. What kind of murderer has fiber? 
 
A. A cereal killer. 
 
But - go figure - a lot of people 
didn't get this computer-generated joke: 
 
Q. What kind of line has sixteen balls? 
 
A. A pool queue. 
 
 
Still, it takes a human - or a chicken - to really lay an 
egg. The two worst-rated jokes in the survey: 
 
Q. Why are chickens considered good employees? 
 
A. Because 
they work around the cluck. 
 
And of course: 
 
 
Q. Why did the chicken cross the road? 
 
A. To get to the 
other side. 
 
Ba-dum, bum. 
 
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