Author Scott Weems' new book 'Ha!: The Science of When We Laugh and Why' tells the story of British researcher Richard Wiseman's search for the funniest joke in the world. Wiseman asked a million people to rate their favourite jokes and figured that different people perceive humour differently. The Huffington Post, in a report by Weems himself, published Wiseman's findings about the world's funniest joke.
In his search, Wiseman noted different kinds of jokes, The Huffington Post said. Some were silly (What's brown and sticky? A stick!), and some smart (Two fish are swimming in a tank when one turns to the other and asks: "Do you know how to drive this?").
The crudest joke may have been "How many babies does it take to paint a wall red? Just one, but you have to throw it really hard". "There's a science behind what makes a joke funny, and though shock and surprise are important, they aren't everything. Even more essential is something called the 'kick of the discovery,' a phrase used by the physicist Richard Feynman, a pretty funny man himself, who once claimed that the highlight of his career wasn't winning the Nobel Prize," Weems wrote.
Shock works, it seems, but not always. The funniest jokes are the ones that did not offend anyone while evoking laughter. For example "two ducks sitting on a pond. One of the ducks says, "Quack." The other quickly responds, "I was going to say that!"
Wiseman found in the course of his research that the funniest animal was the duck. Preferences differed by nationality with the British tastes being dry and absurd, and Americans preferring jokes that are slightly aggressive.
Here's the scientifically-proven funniest joke in the world:
Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He's not breathing and his eyes are glazed, so his friend calls 911. "My friend is dead! What should I do?" The operator replies, "Calm down, sir. I can help. First make sure that he's dead." There's a silence, then a loud bang. Back on the phone, the guy says, "Ok, now what?"
Read the full report here.