In September 2001, Richard Wiseman and The British Association for the Advancement of Science embarked on one of the world’s largest, and most unusual, scientific experiments. The project aimed to find the world’s funniest joke and answer important questions about the psychology of humour. The project was reported across the globe, resulting in them receiving over 40,000 jokes and 1.5 million ratings.
This was their winning joke:officially the “funniest joke in the world” at that time.
“*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? *”
“* Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson were going camping. They pitched their tent under the stars and went to sleep. Sometime in the middle of the night Holmes woke Watson up and said: “Watson, look up at the stars, and tell me what you see.”
Watson replied: “I see millions and millions of stars.”
Holmes said: “and what do you deduce from that?”
Watson replied: “Well, 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 out there. And if there are a few planets like earth out there, there might also be life.”
And Holmes said: “Watson, you idiot, it means that somebody stole our tent.” *”