Here’s What People Rated the Best Jokes Ever Told … Ever
A closer look at what makes us laugh.
To learn the power of laughter, I searched for the “best jokes” out there. I first realized how we each have our own unique sense of humor, just like differing tastes in art, music or food…
However, there are some jokes that consistently rank high when presented to an audience allowed to vote for their favorite gags.
Here’s a joke that rose to the top on a website which lets people vote on their favorite two-liners.
I told my wife she was drawing her eyebrows too high.
She looked surprised.
In this case, what could be seen as a critical remark by a husband transforms into humor.
But surely different audiences would find different jokes funny.
I found another high-performing joke from a completely different audience: undergraduates at the London School of Economics:
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.”
Here’s another clear example of how bad luck can easily transform into a laugh. This one comes from Reddit, where jokes can be up-voted. Here’s a winning joke that garnered more than 22,000 up-votes on the popular site:
My wife left me because I am insecure.
No wait, she’s back.
She just went to get coffee.
Again, something negative, a guy who is paranoid about his wife leaving him, turns into hilarity.
Laughter is the lubricant of life, an elixir for the pitfalls we face, an instant cure for stress, and even a way to heal from emotional wounds that could otherwise linger.
But it’s all about the audience who determines which jokes are “funny.” Here’s another from Reddit which writers can certainly relate to:
How many clickbait articles does it take to change a lightbulb?
The answer will shock you…
Clickbait is an annoyance for many, but here it can be understood with a chuckle, especially by writers who might be paid to begrudgingly write them, or readers who can’t help but click on them.
Again, audience is key. If we go back to the young economists in London, their winning joke was related to, go figure, money. Here it is, “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!’
Here we see not only something negative turn positive, but an underdog surpassing his tormentor.
Double entendre can also come into play, as another humor website crowned this joke the best of the best:
I’m feeling quite confident about that job interview. The interviewer said they want somebody responsible. “Oh I’m totally your man,” I told her. “Whatever problem came up at my last job, they always said I was responsible!”
Another way to generate laughter is through a play on words, or a pun. But we have to be careful with puns, as these can often elicit more groans than giggles. However, some are true winners.
Here’s an example from the website mentioned earlier which achieved the status of best pun ever:
Light travels faster than sound. That’s why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
How Laughter Heals You
I already had glimpses of how laughter benefits us. Laughter shines a bright light on a negative incident, helping us both accept it while downplaying it.
Sometimes, when something outrageously bad happens, the only thing left to do is laugh. “If I didn’t laugh, I’d have to cry…”
Sure, we can react with anger or frustration, but that usually just makes matters worse.
At its best, humor is the positive transformation of misfortune.
“Can’t we all just laugh about this?”
Humor is an enlightened reaction that soothes our mind and can even heal our body, releasing endorphins.
Many studies show the link between healing and laughter, including one from the University of Michigan’s Medical School, which lists some of the benefits of laughter as:
- Giving you more energy while lowering stress.
- Boosting your immune system to help fight off infection.
- Helping your heart work better and pump more evenly.
- Helping you make sense of emotional experiences, improving your mood, and managing feelings of pain and distress.
This is all due to the mind-body connection, how our brain talks to our body. Our brain not only helps us walk, talk and breathe, it also produces chemicals that can heal us faster and fight off disease.
“Come on, lighten up!” is often heard when we overreact. Turns out, lightening up with a little laughter could be the most beneficial response we could have.
A few more for the road, including “best ever”
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?”
Here’s funny pickup line from RD.com:
“Hey, my name’s Microsoft. Can I crash at your place tonight?”
And another seen on Reddit:
I was having dinner with Garry Kasporov (world chess champion) and there was a checkered tablecloth. It took him two hours to pass me the salt…
So while some consider jokes trivial or even a waste of time, turns out laughing could be one of the best things you do today. 🤭