Is that supposed to be a joke?

31-Aug-2012

On hearing the phrase “British humour” the other day I began to wonder if every country had a unique take on or preference for humour.

When a group of scientists and psychologists decided to try and find out what the funniest joke in the world was, this one came out on top:

A couple of hunters are out in the woods when one of them falls to the ground. He doesn’t seem to be breathing and 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: “Okay, now what?”

Finding the funniest joke in the world was obviously going to be a difficult task. All countries, all cultures, all languages have their jokes, but often these are not funny or completely incomprehensible to people who are not part of that culture. Even in the same country no two people ever really agree about what is funny and what is not.

A lot of joke topics do cross cultural boundaries. Many jokes from around the world like to make fun of people who are stupid, from another country or people in authority. A lot of jokes are also about taboo subjects. The problem is, of course, is that authority figures or taboo subjects, for example, change from country to country and from culture to culture.

Not surprisingly then, each country had a different favourite. Here are the top jokes for some of the countries asked:

TOP JOKE IN UK. A woman gets on a bus with her baby. The bus driver says: “That’s the ugliest baby that I’ve ever seen. Ugh!” The woman goes to the rear of the bus and sits down, fuming. She says to a man next to her: “The driver just insulted me!” The man says: “You go right up there and tell him off – go ahead, I’ll hold your monkey for you.”

TOP JOKE IN USA. A man and a friend are playing golf one day at their local golf course. One of the guys is about to chip onto the green when he sees a long funeral procession on the road next to the course. He stops in mid-swing, takes off his golf cap, closes his eyes, and bows down in prayer. His friend says: “Wow, that is the most thoughtful and touching thing I have ever seen. You truly are a kind man.” The man then replies: “Yeah, well, we were married 35 years.”

TOP JOKE IN CANADA. When NASA first started sending up astronauts, they quickly discovered that ball-point pens would not work in zero gravity. To combat the problem, scientists spent a decade and 12 billion dollars to develop a pen that writes in zero gravity, upside down, underwater, on almost any surface including glass and at temperatures ranging from below freezing to 300 C. The Russians used a pencil.

TOP JOKE IN AUSTRALIA. This woman rushes to see her doctor, looking very much worried and all strung out. She rattles off: “Doctor, take a look at me. When I woke up this morning, I looked at myself in the mirror and saw my hair all wiry and frazzled up, my skin was all wrinkled and pasty, my eyes were bloodshot and bugging out, and I had this corpse-like look on my face! What’s WRONG with me, Doctor!?”
The doctor looks her over for a couple of minutes, then calmly says: “Well, I can tell you that there ain’t nothing wrong with your eyesight….”

TOP JOKE IN BELGIUM. Why do ducks have webbed feet? To stamp out fires. Why do elephants have flat feet? To stamp out burning ducks.

TOP JOKE IN GERMANY. A general noticed one of his soldiers behaving oddly. The soldier would pick up any piece of paper he found, frown and say: “That’s not it” and put it down again. This went on for some time, until the general arranged to have the soldier psychologically tested. The psychologist concluded that the soldier was disturbed, and wrote out his discharge from the army. The soldier picked it up, smiled and said: “That’s it.”

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

TOP JOKE IN WALES. A turtle was walking down an alley in New York when he was mugged by a gang of snails. A police detective came to investigate and asked the turtle if he could explain what happened. The turtle looked at the detective with a confused look on his face and replied “I don’t know, it all happened so fast.”

TOP JOKE IN ENGLAND. Two weasels are sitting on a bar stool. One starts to insult the other one. He screams, “I slept with your mother!” The bar gets quiet as everyone listens to see what the other weasel will do. The first again yells, “I SLEPT WITH YOUR MOTHER!” The other says, “Go home dad, you’re drunk.”

TOP JOKE IN NORTHERN IRELAND. A doctor says to his patient, “I have bad news and worse news”.
“Oh dear, what’s the bad news?” asks the patient.
The doctor replies: “You only have 24 hours to live.”
“That’s terrible,” said the patient. “How can the news possibly be worse?”.
The doctor replies: “I’ve been trying to contact you since yesterday.”

What’s your favourite joke? Would it make sense to someone from a different country?

Erica

 

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