Uf…

So scholars have found the oldest joke known to humankind… really old, like 4000 years old… and I DON’T GET IT!!! Apparently, it comes from ancient Sumeria, the birthplace of all great stand-up comedians — and it goes like this:

Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband’s lap.

I hate to have the oldest joke in the world explained to me — I guess if cornered, I could come back with something a bit fresher like, “That’s so old I forgot to laugh”… but the truth is I’d rather understand — and laugh for real!

8 Responses

  1. So, you think you might have an expert in ancient Sumerian culture somewhere in the far reaches of your fan club?

  2. thought some more [not that long, tho]… maybe you should chalk this one up to “inside joke” or “you had to be there.”

  3. Ah-ha! So you are saying that I am not the only person who doesn’t get it?!

  4. Wow. The ancient Sumerians are NASSSSSSTY!

    Sounds like fun.

  5. I dont get it either, and i don’t get how can anyone believe that it is actually a joke? anyway, i think the one found the “joke” have really really bad sense for humor…

  6. Humor in general, ages poorly. My Dad used to tease me with references to “Joe Miller’s Joke Book”, then one day got me a copy. Not 4000 but less than 300 years old and not a single joke was funny, with most not even understandable. There’s a Wikipedia article, and an online version at http://www.staggernation.com/jmj/

  7. I am compelled to leave a comment about the ancient fart joke, I can’t resist; I just don’t want you to think that of all the pieces I would chime in on this would be my choice of the most relevant. Although the thought did occur to me…

    I’m kidding. I just thought we’d figure it out together, shall we?

    This is from an era that lacked Improv-quality delivery, this was coming from the “see if you can snatch the pebble from my hand” kind of guy. Can’t say anything to you directly; no, everything’s got a moral or it’s a puzzle to be solved to figure out the meaning. It’s a double-negative, it’s a young woman on her husband’s lap, a young bride WILL fart on her husband’s lap. Because she can. She’ll also giggle about it, and he’ll think it’s the most charming thing ever.

    Just abstract it, look at it for what it probably meant back then; the ancient equivalent and tasteful way of telling a guy he’s pussy-whipped. How much was there to talk about back then anyway, right?

    I think it’s easy to read too much meaning into and lose sight of the fact that it does make you smile when you think about it in that context, especially if you’re quilty of it. I have to admit there’s absolutely no way to deliver it as a “joke”; not unless you plan on your audience to grasp the punchline a week later.

  8. By jove, I knew a real scholar would eventually emerge! And I get it now… I really and truly get it, tx!

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