6 Fun Facts About Jokes

Spicy Jokes

Hello, AnyPromo blog readers.

If you found your way here from our emails, we’re promoting “Tell a Joke Day”.  However, we’re gonna spend today telling you facts about jokes.


Firstly, jokes get old but the facts will always be true.

Secondly… If you look up “joke facts” in Google, you mostly get a bunch of facts that are supposed to be used as jokes as a sort of clean comedy for children and parochial venues.

“A baby Goldfish is called a Twit.”

The people don’t need to steal material to bore children at grade school assemblies, the people need the real facts about jokes!

1. The Funniest Joke, Determined By Science

Launched in 2002 by psychologist Richard Wiseman, LaughLab was a giant psychology experiment carried out over the web.  Over 41,000 joke entries were submitted and they were ranked based on over 1.5 million votes.

Here is the 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?”

You can read more about this experiment at Business Insider.

British person laughing.2. The Funniest British Joke, Determined By OnePoll.com

OnePoll.com ran a similar experiment to LaughLab, but with British jokes.  Here was their number one ranked joke (out of 50):

A woman gets on a bus with her baby.

The bus driver says: “Ugh, that’s the ugliest baby I’ve ever seen!”

The woman walks 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 up there and tell him off. Go on, I’ll hold your monkey for you.”

You can read more of OnePoll’s top 50 from this article on Time Magazine’s Newsfeed.

3. Poggio’s Facetarium, the Most Important Renaissance Joke Book

Poggio Bracciolini was a secretary to seven popes and one of the most important scholars of the late middle ages, laying much of the groundwork for the Renaissance.  On top of preserving many important ancient works, he composed a very obscene book of his own in Latin called the Liber Facetarium.

Poggio’s Facetarium, a collection of story-form jokes, was the most popular joke book in Western Europe during the Renaissance.  The 273 jokes came from medieval bard routines, Arab-Italian novellas, and an informal comedy club of papal scribes in the Vatican called the Bugiale (“fib factory”).

Here is the only Facetarium joke I could find that’s appropriate for a modern corporate blog:

The Abbot of Septimo, a very fat and corpulent man, on his way to Florence one evening, enquired of a peasant he met: “Do you think I should be able to enter the gate?”

Of course, he thus meant to ask whether he was likely to reach the city before the closing of the gates.  But the country-man, rallying his stoutness, replied: “To be sure, you will: a cart-load of hay gets through; why should not you?.”

Read more about the Facetiae from this Wikipedia article.

4. The Philogelos, the Oldest Existing Joke Book

The oldest existing book of jokes is Philogelos, written by Hierocles and Philagrius.  It is thought to have been written in the 4th century (AD).

Most of the jokes are about character archetypes/stereotypes such as the egghead, the hothead, or the wife-hater.  My favorite is a classic joke that’s been re-done plenty of times over the centuries:

A Kymean [a people stereotyped as stupid by the Romans] goes to see a friend of his.

He’s standing in front of the friend’s house, calling his name, when another voice answers, “Shout louder so he can hear!”.

So the Kymean shouts, “Hey, Louder!”.

You can read more about the Philogelos in this article from the New Yorker.

Philip of Macedon coin5. The Oldest Undiscovered Joke Book

Although the Philogelos is the oldest joke book still around, there is a long-lost joke book thought to have been commissioned by Philip II of Macedon (Alexander the Great’s dad).

Supposedly, ancient Greek comics would meet in the Temple of Heracles to trade jokes with each other, much like a modern comedian’s green room.  According to legend, Philip of Macedon paid a hefty sum to have the jokes from this ancient comedy club written down.

You can read about this long-lost book and the history of jokes from Stop Me If You’ve Heard This, by Jim Holt.  Check out this NPR article about the book.

6. The First Written Joke Known to Man

The first written joke known to man was so dirty, I was told I’m not allowed to post it on the blog*.  It’s it’s an ancient Sumerian proverb dating back to 1900 BC that involves toilet humour and sitting in laps.

Read about this joke at Reuters.

* We’re on our best behavior after a lady emailed us about this blog post.

About Zach H 15 Articles
Zach does marketing stuff for AnyPromo. His favorite food is Fettuccine Alfredo.

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