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Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Would the "perfect joke" be lethal?

This is apparently serious:
Scientists have devised a mathematical equation for the perfect joke.

The calculation c=(m n0)/p considers the length of time it takes to build up the joke, the number of puns and how many times a character falls over.

The funniness of a joke - c - is worked out by adding the comic moment - m - to the 'pratfalls', or the number of times someone falls over - n0."

This is not:

Opening Scene:
A suburban house in a boring looking street. Zoom into upstairs window. Serious documentary music. Interior of small room. A bent figure (Michael Palin) huddles over a table, writing. He is surrounded by bits of paper. The camera is situated facing the man as he writes with immense concentration lining his unshaven face.

Voice Over:
This man is Ernest Scribbler... writer of jokes.
In a few moments, he will have written the funniest joke in the world... and, as a consequence, he will die... laughing.

Ernest stops writing, pauses to look at what he has written... a smile slowly spreads across his face, turning very, very slowly to uncontrolled hysterical laughter... he staggers to his feet and reels across room helpless with mounting mirth and eventually collapses and dies on the floor.

Voice Over:
It was obvious that this joke was lethal...
no one could read it and live...


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