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World's Funniest Joke!

Psychologists think they've identified the "world's funniest joke".  Let's see if you think so too.  Here it is:


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 gun shot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says, "OK, now what?"


Whatever you may think of this joke, it's especially funny to hunters. Why might other people not find this so funny? Well, one thing about humor psychologists have identified is this: we think jokes are really funny when they are about topics that we're really anxious about ourselves.


Don't believe it? We've got an activity for you I think you're going to like. You'll read two jokes and you'll be asked to indicate how funny you think they are. Then we'll look at the data.


Click here to participate in this fun activity.



  • Richard Wiseman, Ph.D., author of the book Quirkology and many research articles on humor.


NOTE: in addition to being a very fun exercise, you may use the activity to teach your students about research methods used in psychology.

  • Instructor-only resources are available for this activity in our Community Exclusive area here: Humor Study - Instructor Resources). This section of the community is for instructors only. If you do not have a Cengage account, feel free to contact Michael Britt ( to have a free account set up for you. 

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Frequent Commenter

I did agree with the results of the study and its prediction of an "age" effect, but I gotta say that the hunting joke is one of the least funny jokes I've ever read!

@tom_mcgrath you mean the "hearing" joke? I thought it was kinda funny but I think that may be because I've got a mother and mother-in-law who are both in their 90s and were both hard of hearing.

Frequent Commenter

@michael_britt the hearing one is hilarious; I meant that "world's funniest" hunting joke - it definitely didn't even make me smile.... Smiley Sad


I'm in total agreement with Tom (on both jokes).  My reaction to the "world's funniest" hunting joke was certainly not to laugh.  In fact, it made me feel a little sick to my stomach.

Valued Contributor

The hearing and fortune jokes were ok (hearing one especially 🙂 but the hunting joke surely was not.