Thursday, July 31, 2008

Stop me if you've heard this one before

Apparently, the oldest joke in the world doesn't have the punchline, "Orange you glad I didn't say banana?". We're shocked, too. We really figured it was either that or something about a chicken trying to cross a busy thoroughfare.

Actually, researchers have been able to trace what they believe to be the earliest recorded joke. It originated around 1900 BC as a saying among ancient Sumerians. That saying?

"Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband's lap."

That's right, folks. Ancient Sumerians reverted to toilet humor almost as frequently as contestants on The Gong Show. Of course, it was beat out by about 300 years by the old gem about entertaining pharaohs by dressing women in fishing netting, and then suggesting that the pharaoh go and bait his hook, so to speak. So what does this all show us?

Well, it demonstrates how long humor has been part of human society. We're fairly certain that the first unrecorded joke probably consisted of Ogg pounding Thur with a couple of rocks after implying that Thur's mother was a monkey (the humor, of course, being that Thur's GRANDmother was the monkey).

And, it also demonstrates that, while these jokes are literally thousands of years old, they're still funnier than anything being created by Dane Cook or Carlos Mencia. They still don't touch Carlin, though.

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