The World's Funniest Joke
With all the doom and gloom we're dealing with these days, I thought considering the world's funniest joke might be a good distraction. I even threw in the world's second funniest joke to help ease the blahs of our current situation.
A little background about the "World's Funniest Joke." In 2002, Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire conducted research to determine the world’s funniest joke (no kidding!). Over 40,000 jokes received nearly 2,000,000 ratings by people across the globe. While Dr. Wiseman’s study highlighted that people from different regions had distinct ideas about what they judged as humorous, the joke that won first place across lines of geography, gender, and age is as follows:
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 takes 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 that he’s dead.” There is a silence, then a gunshot is heard.
Back on the phone, the guy says: “Okay, Now What?”
Yeah...I groaned too when I read this “world’s funniest joke.” Regardless of your judgment of this joke’s level of humor, two serious points emerge. First, as in many jokes, the twist to this comedic tale involves a serious lack of communication. Most of us are very aware of the complex nature of exchanging thoughts, feelings, and ideas. Often, misunderstanding occurs somewhere between the sending of a communication and the reception of the message. And, while the above joke is an exaggeration of the consequences of such miscommunication, sometimes relationships can be badly damaged by misunderstandings. This joke, therefore, reminds us to take the time to insure that we understand what’s being said before we respond.
Second, and this might even be more important, this joke reminds us of the importance of being able to laugh at ourselves. I think we oftentimes take ourselves entirely too seriously. A person who doesn’t have the capacity to laugh at herself is most miserable indeed. “A cheerful heart is good medicine,” says the ancient Proverb, “but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Prov. 17:22). So, perhaps we should all lighten up a bit. God is honored equally by healthy laughter as well as fervent prayer.
By the way, the second funniest joke was:
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson were going camping. They pitched their tent under the stars and went to sleep. Sometime in the middle of the night Holmes woke Watson up and said: "Watson, look up at the stars and tell me, what do you see?"
Watson replied: "I see millions and millions of stars."
Holmes said: "And what do you deduce from that?"
Watson replied: "Well, if there are millions of stars, and if even a few of those have planets, it's quite likely there are some planets like earth out there. And if there are a few planets like earth out there, there might also be life."
And Holmes said: "Watson, you idiot, it means that somebody stole our tent."