LONDON : The world’’s oldest recorded joke has been traced back to 1900 BC and suggests toilet humour was as popular with the ancients as it is today.
It is a saying of the Sumerians, who lived in what is now southern Iraq and goes: ;Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband’’s lap.; It heads the world’’s oldest top 10 joke list published by the University of Wolverhampton on Thursday.
A 1600 BC gag about a pharaoh, said to be King Snofru, comes second — ;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.
The oldest British joke dates back to the 10th Century and reveals the bawdy face of the Anglo-Saxons -- ;What hangs at a man’’s thigh and wants to poke the hole that it’’s often poked before? Answer: A key.; Jokes have varied over the years, with some taking the question and answer format while others are witty proverbs or riddles,; said the report’’s writer Dr Paul McDonald, senior lecturer at the university. ;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 study was commissioned by television channel Dave.