Friday, June 16, 2006

The World's Funniest Joke

From the London Telegraph -- We can all rest a little easier now. Seems a professor researching the psychology of humor has discovered the author of the world's funniest joke -- Spike Milligan. Five years ago, 300,000 people worldwide took part in LaughLab and voted for the funniest joke. The winner...
Two hunters are out in the woods in New Jersey 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?'
While watching a documentary on The Goon Show, Professor Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire discovered a version of the very same joke...
Michael Bentine: I just came in and found him lying on the carpet there.

Peter Sellers: Oh, is he dead?

Bentine: I think so.

Sellers: Hadn't you better make sure?

Bentine: All right. Just a minute.

Sound of two gun shots.

Bentine: He's dead.

Professor Wiseman commented...
I think what is interesting here is that a joke from the 1950s still works, and how it has transformed over time from a cosy sitting room to hunters in New Jersey.

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