In 2002 British Researchers conducted an experiment using the internet as a source for material. Dr. Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordsire created a website where people could submit jokes as well as rate them. It didn't take long for his website, Laughlab, to get rolling, and soon over 40,000 submissions and two million ratings had been made.
The purpose of this experiment was to better our understanding of humour. Do men and women find the same things funny? Do people from different cultures laugh at the same things? Does our sense of humour change very much as we age? What (if anything) is universally funny? The experiment attempted to answer questions of this nature.
If I had to venture an opinion (and I will, not because I have to, but because it's my blog and you can't stop me), I would say that I trust the British more than anyone with an experiment of this nature. I have always found their Television shows to be more entertaining than our North American counterparts, which I have often thought of as very watered-down. It's as if the producers of North American television don't trust their audiences to be clever enough to understand the humour on their own, so they make it too obvious by hitting us over the head with the punchlines.
Anyway, if you want to find out what the world's funniest joke is, you will have to go to the site and check it out for yourself. I'll leave you with with what is considered to be the world's second funiest joke;
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson were going camping. They pitched their tent under the stars and went to sleep. Sometime in the middle of the night Holmes woke Watson up and said: "Watson, look up at the stars and tell me, what do you see?"
Watson replied: "I see billions and trillions of stars."
Holmes said: "And what do you deduce from that?"
Watson replied: "Well, if there are billions of stars, and if even a few of those have planets, it's quite likely there are some planets like earth out there. And if there are a few planets like earth out there, there might also be life."
And Holmes said: "Watson, you idiot, it means that our tent was stolen!