Sunday, September 1, 2013

Know Your Audience

"When the garrulous barber asks him, 'How shall I cut your hair?," a quick wit answers, 'Silently.' 

In a video I watched recently (see below), Jimmy Carr said this was the oldest known joke. I don't know if that's true, but I did learn that its earliest known telling is in an ancient document titled, Philogelos (Laughter Lover), that dates to the 3rd or 4th Century A.D. I have no idea how well this joke went over in Ancient Greece. I can tell you that it bombed this morning while I was getting my haircut. It did earn me a mostly silent haircut. I fear the result of that haircut is probably the funniest joke of all, however.

You can find a version of Philogelos translated into English by Professor William Berg here.

No comments:

Post a Comment