Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Oldest Joke

There are so many traditions this time of year - including Christmas crackers with their tired old jokes.  This got me thinking about old jokes and I wondered what is the oldest joke.  Of course there's an answer available in a flash.  The oldest joke was recorded around 1900 BC and is a lowbrow Sumerian toilet joke.  Here it is:

'Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband's lap'

A 1600 BC gag about a pharaoh, said to be King Snofru, comes second -- “How do you entertain a bored pharaoh? You sail a boatload of young women dressed only in fishing nets down the Nile and urge the pharaoh to go catch a fish.”

These two oldest jokes are ok.  However, I refrain from spreading any more ancient jokes given how crude they are.  And then they aren't very funny.  Just as well, then, that Christmas cracker jokes are only old and not ancient.  Christmas crackers  were first made in Victorian times in the early 1850's.  A London confectioner invented them when he added a motto to his sugared almond bonbons.  These were sold wrapped in a twisted paper package - and he got the idea of adding a 'bang'. This turned out to be a hit and a successful business.   The paper crown was added by his sons in the early 1900s. By the end of the 1930's love poems were replaced by jokes or limericks.  And so our tired old jokes probably come from the vaudeville era of jokes. 

I found a few more Christmas jokes from the U.K.  The brussels sprouts joke was voted the funniest joke last year in Britain. 
  1. How will Christmas dinner be different after Brexit? No Brussels.
  2. What do workers at Sports Direct get for Christmas dinner? About 5 minutes.
  3. What do you get if you cross Donald Trump with a Christmas Carol? O Comb Over Ye Faithful.

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