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UKTV: About UKTV: The world's ten oldest jokes

The world's ten oldest jokes

Flatulent wives, bored pharoahs and randy donkeys: the world's ten oldest jokes have been revealed in a study by Dave.

    * Toilet humour, farmyard funnies and sex gags top the world's oldest joke list.
    * The UK's oldest joke revealed as a clever riddle from the 10th century.
    * The UK's oldest one liner dates back to 1526.

A gag about a woman breaking wind has been unveiled as the world's oldest witticism in a new research project released today.

The study was commissioned for Dave – the home of witty banter – to celebrate a night of top notch stand-up comedy for Live at the Apollo on Saturday 2nd August 2008. A team of academics were tasked to research the world's oldest examples of recorded humour. Led by humour expert Dr Paul McDonald from the University of Wolverhampton, the team spent two months trawling the annals of history to produce the first report of its kind into the world's oldest recorded jokes.

The Dave Historical Humour Study defines a joke as having a clear set-up and punch line structure - this definition enabled the team to plot the history of the joke as far back as 1900 BC. The results provide a unique and compelling insight into how jokes have evolved over the years, both globally and in the UK.

The world's oldest joke is revealed to be an ancient Sumerian proverb dating back to 1900 BC - Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband's lap. The Sumerian version of this joke occurs in tablets dating to the Old Babylonian period and possibly even dates back to 2,300 BC. The study notes that this joke is almost the ancient equivalent of a well known quip by the actor John Barrymore – "Love is the delightful interval between meeting a beautiful girl and discovering that she looks like a haddock."

Other jokes that also make it onto the world's oldest list include a more conventional gag from 1600 BC - how do you entertain a bored pharaoh? You sail a boatload of young women dressed only in fishing nets down the Nile and urge the pharaoh to go catch a fish. This is featured on the Westcar Papyrus and is said to be about King Snorfru. The tale of the three ox drivers from Adab completes the top three oldest jokes in the world. Dating back to 1200 BC, this joke adheres to the so called 'rule of three' where the set up for the joke is reiterated three times. A full rundown of all the jokes unearthed in the research can be found at the Dave website.

By contrast, the UK's oldest joke is a crude riddle that features in the Exeter Codex and dates back to the 10th Century AD - What hangs at a man's thigh and wants to poke the hole that it's often poked before? Answer: A key

The UK's oldest one liner is taken from England's earliest jest book and was written in 1526 - When a boy was asked by the Law to say his father's craft, the boy answered that his father was a crafty man of Law.

Steve North, Dave channel head says, "Throughout the years, British humour has always had an element of witty banter to it. What is interesting about these ancient jokes is that they feature the same old stand up comedy subjects: relationships, toilet humour and sex jokes. The delivery may be different, but the subject matter hasn't changed a bit."

Dr Paul McDonald, Senior lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton's School of Humanities and Social Sciences says, "The Dave Historical Humour Study shows that jokes have varied over the years, with some taking the question and answer format while others are witty proverbs or riddles. What they all share however, is a willingness to deal with taboos and a degree of rebellion. Modern puns, Essex girl jokes and toilet humour can all be traced back to the very earliest jokes identified in this research."

The Dave Historical Humour Study - World's oldest jokes:

1. Something which has never occurred since time immemorial: a young woman did not fart in her husband's lap (1900 BC – 1600 BC Sumerian Proverb Collection 1.12-1.13)

2. How do you entertain a bored pharaoh? You sail a boatload of young women dressed only in fishing nets down the Nile and urge the pharaoh to go catch a fish. (An abridged version first found in 1600 BC on the Westcar Papryus) :lol:

3. Three ox drivers from Adab were thirsty: one owned the ox, the other owned the cow and the other owned the wagon's load. The owner of the ox refused to get water because he feared his ox would be eaten by a lion; the owner of the cow refused because he thought his cow might wander off into the desert; the owner of the wagon refused because he feared his load would be stolen. So they all went. In their absence the ox made love to the cow which gave birth to a calf which ate the wagon's load. Problem: Who owns the calf?! (1200 BC) :twisted:

4. A woman who was blind in one eye has been married to a man for 20 years. When he found another woman he said to her, "I shall divorce you because you are said to be blind in one eye." And she answered him: "Have you just discovered that after 20 years of marriage!?" (Egyptian circa 1100 BC) :duh:

5. Odysseus tells the Cyclops that his real name is nobody. When Odysseus instructs his men to attack the Cyclops, the Cyclops shouts: "Help, nobody is attacking me!" No one comes to help. (Homer. The Odyssey 800 BC)

6. Question: What animal walks on four feet in the morning, two at noon and three at evening? Answer: Man. He goes on all fours as a baby, on two feet as a man and uses a cane in old age (Appears in Oedipus Tyrannus and first performed in 429 BC)

7. Man is even more eager to copulate than a donkey - his purse is what restrains him (Egyptian, Ptolemaic Period 304 BC – 30 BC) :twisted:

8. Augustus was touring his Empire and noticed a man in the crowd who bore a striking resemblance to himself. Intrigued he asked: "Was your mother at one time in service at the Palace?" "No your Highness," he replied, "but my father was." (Credited to the Emporer Augustus 63 BC – 29 AD) :mrgreen:

9. Wishing to teach his donkey not to eat, a pedant did not offer him any food. When the donkey died of hunger, he said "I've had a great loss. Just when he had learned not to eat, he died." (Dated to the Philogelos 4th /5th Century AD)

10. Asked by the court barber how he wanted his hair cut, the king replied: "In silence." (Collected in the Philogelos or "Laughter-Lover" the oldest extant jest book and compiled in the 4th/5th Century AD)

A do Faraó tem muito que se lhe diga... E a terceira também está muito bem "jagada"... :cool:
« Última modificação: 31 de Julho de 2008, 17:35 por Dunadan »


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