The world's funniest joke is a term used by Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire in 2002 to summarize one of the results of his research. For his experiment, named LaughLab, he created a website where people could rate and submit jokes. Purposes of the research included discovering the joke that had the widest appeal and understanding among different cultures, demographics and countries.
The winning joke, which was later found to be based on a 1951 Goon show sketch by Spike Milligan, was submitted by Gurpal Gosall of Manchester:
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?"
The second place finisher and early leader was this joke, submitted by Geoff Anandappa of Blackpool:
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson go on a camping trip, and after finishing their dinner they retire for the night, and go to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes wakes up and nudges his faithful friend.
"Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see." "I see millions and millions of stars, Holmes" exclaims Watson. "And what do you deduce from that?" Watson ponders for a minute. "Well, astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful, and that we are a small and insignificant part of the universe. What does it tell you, Holmes?" "Watson, you idiot!" he exclaims, "Somebody's stolen our tent!"
While this was the top joke in the UK:
A woman gets on a bus with her baby. The bus driver says: "That's the ugliest baby that I've ever seen. Ugh!" The woman goes to the rear of the bus and sits down, fuming. She says to a man next to her: "The driver just insulted me!" The man says: "You go right up there and tell him off – go ahead, I'll hold your monkey for you."