On March 14, 2005, I delivered a paper to The Chicago Literary Club entitled “The Best Medicine” http://www.chilit.org/Petersen4.htm The paper delved into the history of humor – from the Biblical Genesis 17:17, to (my favorite) the first stand up comedian – Aristophanes – “Old Baggy Pants” (448 B.C. to 385 B.C.) to “Heeere’s Johnny” Carson.
In December 2001, the British Association for the Advancement of Science conducted a survey of the worlds funniest jokes. After months of studious analysis (I wish I’d’ve been part of that group), they concluded that one joke was the funniest ever.
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson pitch their tent while on a camping expedition. In the middle of the night, Holmes nudges Watson awake and says:
Holmes: Watson – look up and the stars and tell me what you deduce.
Watson: Holmes, I see millions of stars and I wonder if some of them have planets like earth where there may also be life.
Holmes: No, Watson – you idiot! Someone has stolen our tent!