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In Case You Were Wondering…

Via Reuters: World’s oldest joke traced back to 1900 BC.

And let me tell you, they have unearthed some hy-larious stuff!

The shocker of the day: the study “suggests that toilet humor was as popular with the ancients as it is today.”

The world’s oldest recorded joke has been traced back to 1900 BC and suggests that toilet humor was as popular with the ancients as it is today. It is a saying of the Sumerians, who lived in what is now southern Iraq and goes: “Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband’s lap.”

It heads the world’s oldest top 10 joke list published by the University of Wolverhampton on Thursday.

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.”

The oldest British joke dates back to the 10th Century and reveals the bawdy face of the Anglo-Saxons — “What hangs at a man’s thigh and wants to poke the hole that it’s often poked before? Answer: A key.”

“Jokes have varied over the years, with some taking the question and answer format while others are witty proverbs or riddles,” said the report’s writer Dr Paul McDonald, senior lecturer at the university. “What they all share however, is a willingness to deal with taboos and a degree of rebellion. Modern puns, Essex girl jokes and toilet humor can all be traced back to the very earliest jokes identified in this research.”

The study was commissioned by television channel Dave. The top 10 oldest jokes can be viewed at www.dave-tv.co.uk.

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About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor and Chair of Political Science at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. He is the author of Voting Amid Violence: Electoral Democracy in Colombia and is currently working on a comparative study of the US to 29 other democracies. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging at PoliBlog since 2003. Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Bithead says:

    Via Reuters: World’s oldest joke traced back to 1900 BC.

    Irony. Reuters working a 4000 year old joke as “news”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Triumph says:

    Here is the World’s newest joke: President Hussein Obama

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. Anderson says:

    I appreciated the article’s offhand reference to “Essex girl” jokes, unfamiliar to this Yank.

    Google “Essex girl jokes,” I recommend.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Anderson says:

    Triumph, I had no idea you were so hot!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. rodney dill says:

    Irony. Reuters working a 4000 year old joke as “news”.

    …and McCain regrets he ever told it in the first place.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. Triumph says:

    Triumph, I had no idea you were so hot!

    Yes, thanks Anderson. I’m trying to get a cameo in the next Obama-bashing ad put out by the McCain campaign.

    Just like Britney and Paris, I am a promiscuous white lady who can be seduced by the uppity, slick-talking B. Hussein.

    Hussein is ALMOST as cute as Harold Ford….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. Michael says:

    …and McCain regrets he ever told it in the first place.

    Ha!

    Of course, I believe making fun of John McCain’s age is the second oldest joke.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0