Warning: What follows is not, in the opinion of this blogger, the world's funniest joke. It has been well documented that the world's funniest joke was used as a weapon that helped Britain win World War II all by itself. Please do not assume the management (ha!) of this blog believes anything contained herein to be the world's funniest joke. You may now resume your reading of today's post, which is not the world's funniest joke.
A couple of New Jersey hunters are out in the woods when one of them falls to the ground. He doesn’t seem to be breathing; his eyes are rolled back in his head. The other guy whips out his cell phone and calls the emergency service. He gasps to the operator: “My friend is dead! What can I do?” The operator says: “Take it easy. I can help. First, let’s make sure he’s dead.” There is silence, then a shot is heard. The guy’s voice comes back on the line. He says, “OK, now what?”
That, according to LaughLab, a project organized by Prof. Richard Wiseman (or Dr. Wiseguy, as he's known around my digs) and sponsored by the British Science Association, is the world's funniest joke.
Either this is an especially sad world or Dr. Wiseguy is wrong, but that's beside the point I'm trying to make.
Is it that people from New Jersey are especially stupid? Are we unusually violent? Do we follow instructions especially literally? Exactly what is it about my home state that makes it an indispensable component of (not) the world's funniest joke?
(To be fair, it should be noted that on Dr. Wiseguy's web site listing the joke, the words "New Jersey" do not appear. It's just "two hunters". It was on the Big Think web site, in a posting about the joke, that the hunters are potentially my neighbors.)
I suppose the hunters are New Jerseyans because making them Polish or blonde would be considered politically incorrect (and rightly so). We Jerseyans, as represented by such luminaries as Snooki and The Situation (who aren't from New Jersey, but okay), have enhanced our perennial status as walking punchlines to the point that adding us to your joke can get you the votes you need to put your hilarious little scenario over the top with the populous. Fine.
Here's where I'd typically go on the usual rant about how we are a hopelessly misunderstood people, how New Jersey is among the best-educated and most affluent of states in the union, and how you wish your state university was as good as ours, but hey. I'm used to this sort of thing.
I grew up in New Jersey. I can handle anything.
Now, consider this one: A guy from (pick the state you'd like to ridicule) leads his dog into the office of a talent agent, and tells the seedy looking guy in the office that his dog can talk. The agent rolls his eyes and says, "Fine. Let's hear him."
The guy sits down, looks his dog in the eye, and says, "Who was the greatest baseball player ever?" The dog says, "Roooooooof!" The guy goes on, "What do you call the top of a building?" The dog says, "Roooooooof!"
The agent stops him there, and tosses the two of them out of his office. Dejected, they sit outside the office building and stare at each other.
Finally, the dog turns to the guy and says, "What'd you want me to say? DiMaggio?"
P.S. Happy birthday, Josh (not the Josh who's posting tomorrow)!