Detective work by a professor investigating the psychology of humour has revealed that Spike Milligan was the author of the world’s funniest joke.
Five years ago, Prof Richard Wiseman, of the University of Hertfordshire, did an online experiment in which 300,000 people from around the world took part in LaughLab, where they voted for the best gag.
Yesterday, at the Cheltenham Science Festival, Prof Wiseman said he has now discovered that it was almost certainly written by Milligan.
The joke runs as follows: Two hunters are out in the woods in New Jersey 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?’
[for the punchline, you’ll have to…JUMP