A virtual cat!

World’s funniest joke

The British psychologist Richard Wiseman has finished a long search for the World’s Funniest Joke. He got 40,000 submissions from around the world and had 2 million people vote on them at his web site, LaughLab. The joke is:

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 cell phone and calls the emergency services. 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: ‘OK, now what?’”

It’s his research that is killer, though: Apparently, Americans and Canadians prefer jokes that make other people look stupid — and worldwide, jokes with ducks in them are considered funniest.

He ranks the jokes most preferred by each nation, which is intriguing. Naturally, the top Canadian joke makes fun of stupid Americans. (Though it isn’t all that funny, and is terribly paced. The one from the U.S. is exceedingly lame too.) In fact, the funniest part of the world, judging by this list of jokes, is Britain, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland — the home of Monty Python. My personal fave is from Scotland:

I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather. Not screaming in terror like his passengers.

Though personally I’d wonder what jokes would come out of India and Pakistan. The comedy I’ve seen in movies from those countries, and their authors and comedians, is just fantastic, bloody-minded stuff.

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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