Make My Day
SAY IT WITH A BOSTON ACCENT
by Erik Deckers
American Reporter Humor Writer
SYRACUSE, Ind. -- What's the funniest joke in the world? If you said the one that ends, "But the last thing he hears before he dies, is the German soldier mumbling 'tankity tankity'," I would compliment you on your superb sense of humor, marvelous taste, and the fact that I am the only other person in the world who likes that joke.
If you want to see the joke in its entirety, visit my Website athttp://www.kconline.com/deckers.
But according to Laugh Lab, the "world's largest experiment into the psychology of humour" at the University of Hertfordshire in England, that joke isn't even close (know-nothing jerks!). In an attempt to determine what really IS the funniest joke in the world, psychologist Dr. Richard Wiseman joined with the British Association for the Advancement of Science, as part of Science Year, to create the Laugh Lab Website.
At the site (http://www.laughlab.co.uk) people can submit jokes and rate jokes submitted by other people. The rating scale is a five-point "Smileometer," and by picking one of the five smile ratings, visitors can tell researchers what jokes they think are funny.
So what is the funniest joke in the world? After a survey of over 10,000 submitted jokes and 100,000 people from 70 countries, the winner with 47 percent of the votes is... .
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 if there are millions of stars, and if even 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 replied: "Watson, you idiot, somebody stole our tent!" All right, so it's not "tankity tankity," but it's still pretty good. The Holmes and Watson joke was submitted by Geoff Anandappa, from Blackpool, England.
But what about the worst jokes in the world? With 74 percent of respondents giving them the lowest rating, the two worst jokes on the entire planet are "Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side." and "Why are chickens considered good employees? Because they work around the cluck." No real surprise there.
According to Dr. Wiseman, men prefer jokes that involve aggression, putting down women, and sexual innuendo. Women prefer jokes that involve word play, which is fancy researcher talk for puns.
"These findings reflect fundamental differences in the ways in which males and females use humour," said Dr. Richard Wiseman, who is English, which is why he says things like "humour" and "whilst." "Males use humour to appear superior to others, whilst women are more linguistically skilled and prefer word-puns."
Nuh-uh, women are not more linguistically skilled. Dr. Wiseman is just ... uhhh, a big ... umm ... doody head!
Even nationality played apart in what jokes were considered funny. According to the results, the country that ranked more jokes as "very funny" was - surprisingly - Germany with 35%, while Canada came in 10th with 26 percent. The United States was ninth with 27 percent.
The reason this is so surprising is because the joke that got the highest rating from Germany is "Why is a television called a medium? Because it is neither rare nor well-done." That's not even funny. No one else in the world - including a fisherman in Micronesia who has never even seen a television - thought it was funny. My guess is that the so-called "German respondents" were actually one German guy rating jokes while he was waiting for the "Hot Lederhosen Babes" Website to finish downloading.
Canada's 10th place finish could be explained by the fact that most Canadians liked this joke the best: "Q. What do you call a woman who can balance four pints of beer on her head? A. Beatrix." If this is an example of Canadian humor - excuse me, humour - they need to stick to hockey and killing moose with their bare hands.
Meanwhile, the "carry on" style of humor remained a big favorite in the United Kingdom (no, I don't know what that means). "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.'"
Dr. Wiseman points out that the results are only preliminary: "While we already have some interesting findings, the data collection period will continue till March 2002 when we move to the second phase of the experiment. In the meantime, we challenge people to submit a funnier joke than the top-rated one so far."
Now that's a challenge I can accept! If I'm competing against jokes like "why is television called a medium" and "what do you call a woman who can balance four pints of beer on her head," then I've gotnothing to worry about.
I know I'm a humor snob who looks down my nose at jokes that aren't funny to me. But when there are gems like "A horse walks into a bar. The bartender says "Hey buddy, why the long face?" in the world, then jokes about women balancing 4 beers on their head just isn't funny.
Wait a minute! Beatrix - "beer tricks!" I just got that!