The Laugh Heard 'Round the World
An experiment was conducted in Britain to find the world's funniest joke. It
was, if you will pardon my use of the term, a very serious study done by
Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire. More than 40,000 jokes
were judged, and nearly 2,000,000 ratings were submitted by persons around
Dr. Wiseman discovered that people in different parts of the world have
different tastes in humor. People in Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand
prefer jokes involving word plays. Canadians and Americans gravitate to
jokes that have a character who is made to look stupid. The Germans, who
are not notable for their sense of humor, had no distinctive preference in
But enough suspense! Here is the joke that won first place across lines of
geography, gender, and age . . .
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 takes 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 gunshot is heard.
Back on the phone, the guy says: "Okay. Now what?"
Laugh Heard 'Round the World