According to the London Telegrah, via Arts & Letters Daily, Science–with a capital S–has determined that the world's funniest joke was written by Spike Milligan, "Comic Genius!" and goes something like this:
Two hunters are out in the woods in New Jersey 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?'
As a Garden Stater, I find nothing funny about this, but, dammit, the methodology used to arrive at the WFJ is simply unimpeachable and hence I must acknowledge Truth when it is revealed to me via science:
Five years ago, Prof Richard Wiseman, of the University of Hertfordshire, did an online experiment in which 300,000 people from around the world took part in LaughLab, where they voted for the best gag….
Prof Wiseman contacted Milligan's daughter, Sile, and she is as certain as she can be that he would have written the gag. She said she was "delighted that dad wrote the world's funniest joke".
Prof Wiseman said: "I think what is interesting here is that a joke from the 1950s still works, and how it has transformed over time from a cosy sitting room to hunters in New Jersey."
Whole thing here.