The 10 funniest jokes of all time (according to science)

A group of scientists at Oxford University have figured out the funniest jokes of all time. Tell these jokes to your friends. If they don't laugh, tell them science says there's something wrong with them.

Bizarrely, two of the top ten jokes of all time contain a bear. So if you're ever trying to tell a joke and it's not going down as planned, try to cram a bear into the punchline. That's what we've learned from this study (yay, science).

With no further ado, here are the top ten funniest jokes of all time (according to science)...

Snail with an attitude

A guy is sitting at home when he hears a knock at the door. He opens the door and sees a snail on the porch. He picks up the snail and throws it as far as he can. Three years later there’s a knock on the door. He opens it and sees the same snail. The snail says: ‘What the hell was that all about?’

A genie and an idiot

Three guys stranded on a desert island find a magic lantern containing a genie, who grants them each one wish. The first guy wishes he was off the island and back home. The second guy wishes the same. The third guy says: ‘I’m lonely. I wish my friends were back here.’

True love lasts forever

It’s the World Cup Final, and a man makes his way to his seat right next to the pitch. He sits down, noticing that the seat next to him is empty. He leans over and asks his neighbour if someone will be sitting there. ‘No,’ says the neighbour. ‘The seat is empty.’ ‘This is incredible,’ said the man. ‘Who in their right mind would have a seat like this for the Final and not use it?’ The neighbour says, ‘Well actually the seat belongs to me. I was supposed to come with my wife, but she passed away. This is the first World Cup Final we haven’t been to together since we got married.’ ‘Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that. That’s terrible….But couldn’t you find someone else, a friend, relative or even a neighbour to take her seat?’ The man shakes his head. ‘No,’ he says. ‘They’re all at the funeral.’

Off to work

A guy shows up late for work. The boss yells, ‘You should’ve been here at 8.30!’ He replies. ‘Why? What happened at 8.30?’

Ooo Heaven is a place on earth

Sid and Irv are business partners. They make a deal that whichever one dies first will contact the living one from the afterlife. So Irv dies. Sid doesn’t hear from him for about a year, figures there is no afterlife. Then one day he gets a call. It’s Irv. ‘So there is an afterlife! What’s it like?’ Sid asks. ‘Well, I sleep very late. I get up, have a big breakfast. Then I have sex, lots of sex. Then I go back to sleep, but I get up for lunch, have a big lunch. Have some more sex, take a nap. Huge dinner. More sex. Go to sleep and wake up the next day.’ ‘Oh, my God,’ says Sid. ‘So that’s what heaven is like?’ ‘Oh no,’ says Irv. ‘I’m not in heaven. I’m a bear in Yellowstone Park.’

The Devil’s in the details

A guy dies and is sent to hell. Satan meets him, shows him doors to three rooms, and says he must choose one to spend eternity in. In the first room, people are standing in dirt up to their necks. The guy says, ‘No, let me see the next room.’ In the second room, people are standing in dirt up to their noses. Guy says no again. Finally Satan opens the third room. People are standing with dirt up to their knees, drinking coffee and eating pastries. The guy says, ‘I pick this room.’ Satan says Ok and starts to leave, and the guy wades in and starts pouring some coffee. On the way out Satan yells, ‘OK, coffee break’s over. Everyone back on your heads!’

Kid vs barber

A young boy enters a barber shop and the barber whispers to his customer. ‘This is the dumbest kid in the world. Watch while I prove it you.’ The barber puts a dollar bill in one hand and two quarters in the other, then calls the boy over and asks, ‘Which do you want, son?’ The boy takes the quarters and leaves. ‘What did I tell you?’ said the barber. ‘That kid never learns!’ Later, when the customer leaves, he sees the same young boy coming out of the ice cream store. ‘Hey, son! May I ask you a question? Why did you take the quarters instead of the dollar bill?’ The boy licked his cone and replied, ‘Because the day I take the dollar, the game is over!’

You’re one in a million

China has a population of a billion people. One billion. That means even if you’re a one in a million kind of guy, there are still a thousand others exactly like you.

Racing a bear

Two campers are walking through the woods when a huge brown bear suddenly appears in the clearing about 50 feet in front of them. The bear sees the campers and begins to head toward them. The first guy drops his backpack, digs out a pair of sneakers, and frantically begins to put them on. The second guy says, ‘What are you doing? Sneakers won’t help you outrun that bear.’ ‘I don’t need to outrun the bear,’ the first guy says. ‘I just need to outrun you.’

All in a night’s work

A guy meets a sex worker in a bar. She says, ‘This is your lucky night. I’ve got a special game for you. I’ll do absolutely anything you want for £300 as long as you can say it in three words.’ The guy replies, ‘Hey, why not?’ He pulls his wallet out of his pocket and lays £300 on the bar, and says slowly. ‘Paint…my….house.’

The worst jokes of all time

So, those were the best jokes of all time, and if you don't agree then there's something scientifically wrong with you. But what wee the worst jokes of all time? According to the scientists, these ones are:

‘Contrary to what most people would say, the most dangerous animal in the world is not the lion or the tiger or even the elephant. It’s a shark riding on an elephant’s back, just trampling and eating everything they see.’

‘Animals may be our friends. But they won’t pick you up at the airport.’

'If I ever have twins, I’d use one for parts.’

‘I always keep a supply of stimulant handy in case I see a snake, which I also keep handy.’

A note on the "science"

The researchers told the jokes to undergraduates at the London School of Economics, so there's a chance these are just the funniest jokes of all time for London School of Economics undergraduates of that particular day during this particular study. Good work, Oxford.

However they did find something interesting. They found that jokes that are more complicated tend to get a better reaction from the audience (but only up to a point). There is an optimal level of complexity to a joke (lets call it the Stewart Lee standard) that elicit the most laughter from an audience. If you go beyond this level of complexity, you tend to lose the audience. Find out more about the research here.

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