World's funniest joke & other selections from the silliness syllabus of nutty CU prof Peter McGraw

As detailed in this week's cover story, "The Nutty Professor," CU-Boulder prof Peter McGraw thinks he's discovered the answer to what makes us laugh. His conclusions are based on lots of data -- i.e., jokes. Check out a sampling of zingers collected from his friends and colleagues, as well as a few Westword additions -- including one of the oldest jokes around and the world's funniest joke, as proven by scientists.

Think you can do better? Submit your own joke to Westword - and you could win a sweet prize!

  • A mushroom walks into a bar and sets himself on a stool. "Hey bartender -- make it a beer." Bartender looks over at the mushroom and says, "Sorry, we don't serve your kind here." Mushroom says, 'Whatsa matter! I'm a fun-guy!"
  • My cousin is a peripheral visionary. He can see the future, but only way off to the side. (Courtesy Steven Wright)
  • Jack and Jill went up the hill, each with a buck and a quarter. Jill came down with 2.50. That slut! (Courtesy Andrew Dice Clay)
  • Guy goes to the doctor's office and the doctor tells him he has some bad news. "First," the doc says, "I'm afraid you have cancer." Guy ponders it and says, "First? Well, what else?" Doc says, "Well, I'm sorry to tell you, but you also have Alzheimer's." Guy ponders it and says, "Man. Well, at least I don't have cancer!"
  • A lonely housewife gets some advice from a friend on how to stoke the flames of her loveless marriage. "Just put on some of these crotch-less panties. It'll drive your man wild!" Her husband comes home to find his wife standing in the living room, wearing nothing but crotchless panties and a smile. "Hey, baby... you wanna get you some of this?" He takes a long, hard look at her and says, "What are you, nuts?! Look what it did to your panties!"
  • A man returns home after visiting his mother-in-law at the hospital. His wife asks him, "How is my mom?" The man says, "Excellent! In a day or two she will be standing on her feet and ready to move in with us." The wife, surprised, wonders, "But when I visited her last week, she was unconscious and connected to machines." The man says, "Well, I asked the doctor how was your mom and he told me to expect the worst."
  • A guy walks into a bar, looks around intently, and sees his buddy. He asks him, "Hey, where the hell is Sheila?" His buddy replies, "Dude, I just saw Sheila out in the alley blowin' chunks. The guy says, "Who the FUCK is Chunks?!"
  • One morning a group of turtles decides to go out for a picnic. They pack up some snacks in a basket and head out to the spot, which takes quite a while (they're turtles, after all). Finally, they reach the perfect spot in a clearing and start to unpack the basket. One of the turtles smacks his forehead and says, "Aw, crap!" The others respond, "What's wrong?" He replies, "We forgot to pack the drinks!" Frustrated, they all look toward Stevie, the littlest turtle, and say, "Stevie, go back home and get the drinks." Stevie says, "No way! If I go back, you guys will eat all the sandwiches!" After some back and forth, they all promise not to eat the sandwiches before he gets back with the drinks. Stevie reluctantly agrees to go back and disappears into the forest. The rest of the turtles wait... and wait... and wait. Now it's been a really long time -- and still no Stevie. It's actually starting to get dark, and they're getting hungry. So they shrug their shoulders, open the picnic basket, and start in on the sandwiches. Suddenly, Stevie appears from behind a tree and yells, "See? That's why I'm not going!"
  • Knock, knock. Who's there? Fuck. Fuck who? No, no, no, it's fuck WHOM.
  • What's the difference between a Jewish mother and a Rottweiler? The Rottweiler eventually lets go of the child.
  • Knock, Knock Who's there? PMS PMS Who? SHUT UP! (Yelled really, really loud)
  • A priest, a rabbi and a minister walk into a bar. The bartender says, "What is this, some kind of joke?!"

Bonus jokes:

One of the world's oldest jokes (from the fifth century A.D. joke book Philogelos):

  • "How shall I cut your hair?" a talkative barber asked a wag. "In silence!"

The world's funniest joke, a determined by the 2002 "Laugh Lab" experiment:

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

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Joel Warner is a former staff writer for Westword and International Business Times. He's also written for WIRED, Men's Journal, Men's Health, Bloomberg Businessweek, Popular Science, Slate, Grantland and many other publications. He's co-author of the 2014 book The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny, published by Simon & Schuster.
Contact: Joel Warner