Humour is language that can make people laugh. However, being a language, every person responds to it differently. This is due to age, culture, religion, nationality and many other factors defining their way of thinking. In 2001, a famous psychologist called Dr Richard Wiseman tackled this problem scientifically. He used the question: “Is there a joke that is funny anywhere in the world?” as a basis to design the experiment called “LaughLab”. The design was quite simple: design a website where anyone can upload a joke that is rated by the world on a scale of 1 to 5. Using this method, Dr Wiseman found the World’s Funniest Joke:
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson go on a camping trip, and after finishing their dinner they retire for the night, and go to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes wakes up and nudges his faithful friend. “Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see.” “I see millions and millions of stars, Holmes” exclaims Watson. “And what do you deduce from that?” Watson ponders for a minute. “Well, astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful, and that we are a small and insignificant part of the universe. What does it tell you, Holmes?” “Watson, you idiot!” he exclaims, “Somebody’s stolen our tent!”
World’s Funniest Joke:
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 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?”
Dr Wiseman says that effective jokes are usually short but gives the audience a feeling of superiority, while relieving stress and featuring a sudden twist.