German humor, and the funniest joke in the world

A British psychologist has conducted the largest worldwide study of humor, and in the process has discovered the allegedly funniest joke in the world, as well as varying takes on humor in different countries.

I can say right off the bat that the funniest joke in the world is, in fact, not the funniest joke in the world, but here it is:

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?”

More interesting, I think, are the discrepancies in senses of humor in different regions. Starting with the Germans:

One intriguing result was that Germans – not renowned for their sense of humour – found just about everything funny. They did not express a strong preference for any type of joke.

If that doesn’t speak well of their sense of humor — well, it’s better than British, Irish, Aussies, and Kiwis:

People from the Republic of Ireland, the UK, Australia and New Zealand most enjoyed jokes involving word plays. One example was as follows. Patient: “Doctor, I’ve got a strawberry stuck up my bum.” Doctor: “I’ve got some cream for that!”

And how about us Americans?

Americans and Canadians, on the other hand, preferred jokes where there was a strong sense of superiority – either because a character looks stupid or is made to look stupid by someone else.

This was an example of American humour.

Texan: “Where are you from?”

Harvard graduate: “I come from a place where we do not end our sentences with prepositions.”

Texan: “OK, where are you from, Jackass?”

Which I guess makes me a typical American, cause I totally think this is the best joke of the bunch. But since I’m in Europe, I’ll award runner-up status to a few continental European countries:

Many European countries, such as France, Denmark and Belgium, displayed a penchant for off-beat surreal humour. Here is an example: An Alsatian went to a telegram office, took out a blank form and wrote: “Woof. Woof. Woof. Woof. Woof. Woof. Woof. Woof. Woof.” The clerk examined the paper and politely told the dog: “There are only nine words here. You could send another Woof for the same price.” “But,” the dog replied, “that would make no sense at all.” Europeans also enjoyed jokes that involved making light of topics that make people feel anxious, such as death, illness and marriage.

Also, the ideal joke is apparently 103 words long, and is best enjoyed at 6:03 p.m.

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9 Responses to German humor, and the funniest joke in the world

  1. By your definition, I’m not really German (I don’t find *everything* funny, no chance!), but must either be from Ireland, the UK, Australia or New Zealand. I think you’re quite mistaken about the funniest joke in the world, though. You obviously haven’t come across it yet. It’s a cartoon by the late F. K. Waechter. A man comes home from work and finds his wife cleaning. Between them there’s a bucket with a dog in it. The man says,

    „Wenn ich heimkomme, ist immer, immer der Hund im Putzwasser. Mich nervt das!“
    (“Each single time I come home, the dog’s in the floor bucket. It just bugs me!”)

    Of course you have to see the cartoon to fully appreciate it 😉

    This joke had me in fits for months. Perhaps I should move to “many other European countries, such as France, Denmark and Belgium”?

  2. Thing is – I don’t know, I really don’t! Cf. https://anglogermantranslations.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/es-lachelt-der-eimer/ and also the comments 😉

    I think I’ll have to re-read Freud’s Der Witz to get to the bottom of this.

    • SLF says:

      You and Claire evidently find it hilarious– maybe you have to see the picture? (Worth a thousand words…) This often happens to me with German humor, alas.

  3. And I find it extremely difficult (if not impossible) to find any joke of Gary Larson’s funny – despite the pictures. Nothing to do with my nationality, though. Others apparently do.

  4. funnyblips says:

    funnyblips likes it….

  5. earth says:

    I love to read your articles! Good Job!Bookmarked!

  6. Emily says:

    Being from Canada, I actually found the German joke the funniest of the bunch and the American/Canadian one less funny, but still humourous. 😛

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