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A Scientist Has Figured Out What The World’s Funniest Joke Is

1.5 million people across the world were asked to rate five randomly selected jokes out of a database of over 40,000. 

group of friends singing while sitting on beach sand
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Some scientific experts use their knowledge figuring out what certain gases or chemicals do, or perhaps how to make robots, but this scientist really needed to know what the world’s funniest joke is.

Not all heroes wear capes, you know?

The finding of the world’s funniest joke is based on a study that was conducted 20 years ago this year. Psychologist Dr. Richard Wiseman set up the study through the website LaughLab in 2001. Over the course of a year, he asked 1.5 million people across the world to rate five randomly selected jokes out of a database of over 40,000. 

The results are finally in and here’s the 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?” 

Well, there you have it: The World’s Funniest Joke.

“Many of the jokes submitted received higher ratings from certain groups of people, but this one had real universal appeal,” Wiseman told The Guardian. “Also, we find jokes funny for lots of different reasons. They sometimes make us feel superior to others, reduce the emotional impact of anxiety-provoking situations or surprise us because of some kind of incongruity. The hunters joke contained all three elements.” 

“Shock and surprise are needed for that turn, but there must be a destination too. The reason dead baby jokes are so unappealing is that the same ingredient providing the shock also leaves us with some unfortunate imagery once the joke is over.”

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Matt Sterner

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