back to article Sumerians cracked world's oldest joke

UKTV has published what it claims to be the world's oldest joke - a Sumerian rib-tickler dating back to 1,900 BC which goes: "Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband's lap." Yup, they were a laugh a minute, those cheeky Sumerians, and no messing. In second spot we …


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  1. this

    Is it not funny

    or could our grasp of the ancient languages be lacking in cultural depth? Try translating any joke, good or bad into another language and it generally dies a death. (except Monty Python, of course)

  2. dervheid

    So that's where...

    El Reg is sourcing it's jokes!

    "It's all so clear to me now, Dave"

  3. Sceptical Bastard

    Non-joke icon needed

    Laugh? I nearly did.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    A man walks into a pub...

    Yeah, I'll get my coat

  5. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)


    Goza was very big in Sumeria.


  6. Spockter Doc


    Bob Monkhouse sued them for copywrite

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Still missing the punchline

    I guess they have to find some other stone tablets to go with that, because it seems to translate to 'Why is it, that girls always fart when they sit on your lap ?'

    feel free to fill in..

    /the one with the Zuul picture

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Why did the girl fall off the swing?

    Because she had no arms!

  9. mafro

    I got one..

    A woman goes into a pub and asks the barman for double-entendre. So he gave her one...

  10. Bad Beaver
    Thumb Up

    @ Sarah Bee

    Nimble little minx, in't she?

  11. Dangermouse

    I'm not saying my mother-in-laws'....

    ...ugly, but she uses her bottom lip as a shower cap!

  12. Dangermouse

    I'm not saying the mother-in-laws'...

    ...ugly but when she does her make-up the lipstick crawls back down the tube!

  13. Dangermouse

    I'm not saying the mother-in-laws'...

    ...ugly but she makes her own yogurt by staring at a pint of milk!

  14. The Serpent

    I'm not saying my mother-in-laws ugly'....

    ...but she had a face like a bag full of spanners

  15. Darkside

    A farmer bought a slave...

    ...and next morning he sent the slave to market. On his way home the slave fell down and died. The farmer went to the dealer and complained: you told me this slave was healthy but already he has fallen down and died! Quickly the dealer replied: but he never did that when he was with me!

    That's from ancient Greece, but some linguists researching accents for Reading University recorded the same joke (though about a horse) in Berkshire in the 1950s.

  16. Christopher Rogers

    I think

    Jimmy Tarbuck did that one a few years ago

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm not saying my mother-in-law's....

    ..big, but everytime she bends down there's an eclipse.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The oldest printed joke in English

    Q. Of all leaves, which leaf is the cleanest?

    A. The holly, because no man will wipe his arse with it.

    True Fact, Guaranteed.

  19. Michael O'Malley

    Spoiled joke

    You should have published the winning joke in the original Sumerian. The pun is really funny, although not really PC.

    And of course the Egyptian joke is meaningless if don't you see the way the hieroglyphs appear on the actual cartoon.

  20. Will Shaw

    People who tell jokes like these....

    will know what it is is to be roasted in the belly of the Sloar this day, I can tell you.

    Mine's the one with the unlicensed particle accelerator.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    A Fish swims into a concrete wall and says...


  22. Chris

    Your momma

    Your mommas so fat, that when she's asked what clothes size she is, she says "16:9"

  23. Qneiform

    What's red and invisible?

    no tomatoes

  24. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    What's white and sticky and swings through the trees?

    A meringue-utan.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    A woman gives her partner...

    two ties for his birthday gift, a red tie and a blue one.

    Next morning he gets up a puts on the blue tie.

    To which the woman says, "don't you like the red tie?"

  26. Eugene Meany

    There are 2 fish in a tank...

    The first one says to the second one "You drive, I want to have a go of the gun".

  27. bob, mon!

    What's black, sits in trees, goes "rat-a-tat-tat", and is dangerous?

    A blackbird with a machine-gun.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Crap joke? I just had to do this one...

    How do you keep idiots in suspense?

  29. Anonymous John

    Why did the Frenchman swim in circles?

    He only had one arm.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    And oldie. Potentially not a goodie.

    What's brown and green, has six legs and if it fell from a tree it'd kill you?

    A billiards table.

  31. Openminded Cynic

    What's pink and hard?

    A pig with a flick knife.

  32. Christoph

    The oldest joke of all

    "I'm from the government. I'm here to help you."

  33. Mike

    Two blondes...

    walk into a building

    You'd think one of them would have seen it.

  34. Tkirk

    What's red and sits in the corner?

    A naughty bus.

    I can also do elephant jokes until Tarzn appears to beat me to death with Cheetah, but I think I'll spare you that pain....

  35. Boz

    another old joke.

    A man is walking past a Bedlam when he hears a voice yelling out, "Thirteen! Thirteen!".

    The man thinks nothing of it and continues walking. After taking not more than two steps, he hears the same voice again yell out, "Thirteen! Thirteen!". This gets him curious. He starts looking around, but sadly the Bedlam is surrounded by a tall wall and he can't see anything!

    As he is looking around the wall, trying to find a way to see in, the voice continues to yell out "Thirteen! Thirteen!".

    Finally, by a stroke of luck, the man finds a whole in the wall for him to peek through! He gets close, bends down a little and presses his eye tight against the whole to see whats going on. But no sooner than he presses his face against the wall to see, a stick comes through the hole and pokes him in the eye!

    The man falls over into the street, holding his eye in pain as the voice on the other side of wall calls out, "Fourteen! Fourteen!"

  36. Steve Sutton

    What's brown and sticky?

    A stick.

  37. Steve Sutton

    How do you hide an elephant in custard?

    Paint its feet yellow and turn it updside down.

  38. Steve Sutton

    What's yellow and dangerous?

    Shark infested custard

  39. Guybrush Threepwood

    What's the difference between a duck?

    One leg's both the same.

  40. Victor Meldrew


    That's the best one liner I've read today... Thanks!

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's pink and drags across the ocean floor?

    Moby's Dick.

  42. Anonymous Coward


    I hate you. I *still* don't get that one...

  43. Gianni Straniero

    Olde as ye hilles

    Stoppe me if thou hast hearde these ones:

  44. Samson David

    Two blondes are walking in the forest and come across some tracks

    "those are bear tracks" said one..

    "no, those are deer tracks" said the other..

    They were still arguing when the train ran them over..

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Two farm-hands are walking down the road when suddenly a motorcycle passes them - and the motorcyclist is headless! They stare after him, amazed, then walk on.

    A few minutes later, another headless motorcyclist whizzes by.

    One farmhand says to the other, "Hey, Fred, could you put the scythe on your other shoulder for a bit?"

    Paris, because the head is not missing...

  46. Samson David

    Three blondes women are stuck on an island, and find a lamp.

    They rub it, out pops a genie who gives them a wish each.

    The first one says, "I want to be smart". *POOF* she turns brunette and swims to the mainland.

    The second says "I want to be smarter than that..". *POOF* her hair turns black, she cuts some trees, builds a boat and sails to the mainland.

    The third says "I want to be even smarter than THAT.." *POOF* she turns into a man and walks across the bridge..

  47. Samson David

    Whats the definition of a male chauvinist

    Someone who thinks that "harass" is two words..

  48. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Three blondes women are stuck on an island, and find a lamp.

    A really smart man would never post that.


  49. Joe Soap

    A skeleton walks in to a bar

    Bartender, a beer and a mop please

  50. Mark York
    Dead Vulture

    Why do ducks have big feet?

    To put out forest fires.

    Why do elephants have big feet?

    To put out flaming ducks.

    Dead Avian chosen in light of the punchline.

  51. Steve

    They loved this one around 285 BC...

    So, Dimitrius of Phaleron goes to the physician with a papyrus scroll up his arse. And the physician says to him, "No, you idiot, Ptolemy I said REPOSITORY!"

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    go on then....

    what's pink and wrinkly and hangs out your granda's y-fronts?

    your granny!

  53. Anonymous Coward

    Why is television a medium?

    Because it's neither rare nor well done.

    And, dammit, someone beat me to the goldfish joke, though the punchline I've heard is, "Do you know how to drive this thing?"

    Here are a couple more...

    Two parrots are standing on a perch.

    One of them says, do you smell something?

    Two people looking at a tall office block, one asks, "How many people do you think work there?"

    The other replies, "About half."

  54. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    What do you call a boomerang that does'nt come back?

    A stick


    <<who refuses to do political jokes because they keep getting elected

  55. Stephen Jenner

    What do you call...

    a fly with no wings?

    A walk.

  56. Robajob

    @Steve Sutton

    It obviously works - I've never seen an elephant hiding in custard.

  57. Anonymous Coward

    How many Californians...

    ...does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    None, silly. Californians don't screw in light bulbs, they screw in hot tubs!

  58. fluffy

    What do you get when you cross a bridge with a car?

    You get to the other side.

  59. fluffy

    How many dull people does it take to change a lightbulb?


  60. Zmodem

    a boat of chicks

    head to toe in fish net would entertain me

  61. Jeffrey Nonken

    A horse walks into a bar.

    The bartender says, "Why the long face?"

    Two psychics walk into a bar. One says, "I'll have the same."

    How many mystery writers does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    Two. One to screw it in almost the whole way, and the other to give it a sudden surprising twist at the end.

    How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?

    Two. One to paint the giraffe blue, and the other to fill the bathtub with brightly-colored machine tools.

    How do you get down from an elephant?

    You don't get down from an elephant, you get down from a duck.

    What's the longest word in the English language?

    The one that immediately follows the phrase, "... and now a word from our sponsor."

    My father used to take me to the park and put me on mood swings.

    I'm starting a home for stray bullets.

    Last week I went to a sneak preview and I knew everybody there.

    Free the hydroxyl radicals!

    Two engineering students meet on campus. One says to the other, "Hey, where'd you get the cool bike?" The other says, "That's a strange story. This beautiful woman rode up to me this morning, jumped off the bike, took her clothes off, and said, 'Take what you want!'" "Good choice," says the first student. "The clothes probably wouldn't have fit."

    To the optimist, the glass is half full.

    To the pessimist, the glass is half empty.

    To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

    To AC who didn't get the joke: If you're serious, consider the phrase "He gave her one" as a euphemism for a sexual act. If you still don't get it, look up "double-entendre" in a dictionary. :)

  62. Anomalous Cowherd Silver badge

    Funniest joke survey

    Two Beavers are sitting at a bar quietly nursing their pints. One, who's clearly had too much, starts getting a bit leery and then clearly angling for a fight turns around to the other beaver and says in a loud voice "hey, you. I slept with your mother".

    The bar goes quiet as everyone waits for the response, but the other beaver just ignores him. So the first one gets up, wobbles over and jabs the other beaver while saying in a stil louder voice "did you hear me, I said I slept with your mother!"

    Finally the second beaver gets to his feet, turns around and says "go home Dad, you're drunk".

    Voted funniest joke of all time by the british a few years back. The funniest in the US was....

    A guy calls the hospital and says "I'm on a hunting trip with my buddy and I've just shot him by accident. I think he's dead! What to do I do?"

    "OK, calm down and first make sure he's actually dead"


    "OK, now what?"

    Yes, I laughed like a drain.

  63. wibbilus maximus

    Had to add these

    What's pink and fluffy? Pink fluff

    What's Blue and fluffy? Pink fluff holding it's breath!

    What do you do if an elephant comes through your window? Swim!

  64. Sean Casaidhe

    Bear in a woods

    A bear and a rabbit are in the woods having a crap. The bear says to the rabbit "Oi, does crap stick to your fur?" The rabbit replies "No sir, crap doesn't stick to my fur"

    So the bear wipes his arse with the rabbit.

  65. John Savard

    A New Joke

    A British television station decided to compose a list of the ten oldest jokes in the world.

    They found eight jokes that were older than the Philogelos, an ancient Greek collection of 265 jokes.

    "Well, we'll just round out the list with two of the jokes from that book," the one fellow said.

    "But won't 'The Eight Oldest Jokes in the World plus Two of the 265 Jokes Tied for Ninth Place' be a funny name for a list?", the other fellow asked?

    "Well, we'll just tell everybody the other 263 jokes weren't funny!", the first man replied

  66. Chika

    How do you make a cat bark?

    Cover it in petrol and light it. WOOF!

  67. Chika

    What goes "plink plink fizz"?

    Two babies in an acid bath.

  68. Chika

    A man walks into a bar

    He says "Ouch!"

  69. Chika

    How do elephants communicate?

    They make trunk calls.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    French joke

    While we're talking about outdated languages... Why do French men only eat one egg? Because un oeff is enough.

    Paris, because there's room for the Eiffel Tower in her.

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh allright...

    Want old jokes do we?

    Two Roman soldiers were captured during the war against the Brutii. The King of the Brutii had the soldiers brought before him and gave the first the choice of death or bohica. The soldier, thinking to save his life chose bohica. Immediately he was seized by a maniple of Brutii warriors and raped by each. Degraded, the soldier was sold into slavery.

    Shocked and disgusted, the second soldier chose an honorable Roman death when the King offered him the choice.

    Smiling, the King said "Very well, death by bohica".

  72. Stewart Midwinter

    How do you make a dog sound like a cat?

    Soak it in water, stick in the freezer a while, then run it through a bandsaw: "rowwwrrrrrr..."

  73. Jamie Kephalas


    Why did it take me three days to read this story? I loved the comments more than the story!

  74. Gianni Straniero

    What's the world's largest crustacean?

    Kings Cross Station.

  75. Gianni Straniero

    An Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman walk into a pub...

    ... and the Landlord says: "Alright, lads, what's the joke?"

  76. Gianni Straniero

    A baby seal walks into a club

    Boom boom.

  77. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    What, no linear algebra jokes?

    What do you get if you cross a sheep with a kangaroo?

    - Sheep kangaroo sine theta.

    What do you get if you cross a goat with a kangaroo?

    - It's undefined; the goat's a scalar.

  78. Christos Georgiou
    Dead Vulture

    Re: How do you make a dog sound like a cat?

    And how do you make a cat sound like a dog?

    Pour pure alcohol on the cat and throw it a lit match.

    What does a blonde put behind her earlobes to become more attractive?

    Her ankles.

    Why the average woman prefers to be pretty rather than intelligent?

    Because the average man sees better than he thinks.

    And, to make my comment relate to this "IT news" site, the old but so very true:

    -How many HW engineers does it take to change a light bulb?

    -None: "We'll fix it in software"

    -How many SW engineers does it take to change a light bulb?

    -None: "We'll mention it in the documentation"

    -How many doc writers does it take to change a light bulb?

    -None: "The user will work it out"

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