No doubt encouraged by the vast acreage of newsprint devoted to last year's announcement of its inaugural award for the funniest joke heard at a performance held during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Dave, the British TV channel dedicated to repeating the best of the BBC's comedy output that it hasn't managed to sell elsewhere, decided to enliven an otherwise news less August by having another go.
This time around, a total of nine judges "sat through an average of sixty different comedy performances" over a two-week period and then nominated their three favourite jokes, although at the second time of asking they were also asked to nominate their three worst as well. The twenty-seven shortlisted jokes in each category were then "put up for the public vote from Monday 17th August" and "more than 3,000 comedy fans" cast their votes.
In ascending order therefore, the Top Ten funniest jokes from the Fringe Festival were,
10) "I started so many fights at my school - I had that attention deficit disorder. So I didn't finish a lot of them." (Lee Nelson)
9) "I've been reading the news about there being a civil war in Madagascar. Well, I've seen it six times and there isn't." (Dan Antopolski)
8) "A spa hotel? It's like a normal hotel, only in reception there's a picture of a pebble". (Rhod Gilbert)
7) "To the people who've got iPhones: you just bought one, you didn't invent it." (Marcus Brigstocke)
6) "Going to Starbucks for coffee is like going to prison for sex. You know you're going to get it, but it's going to be rough." (Adam Hills)
5) "I'm sure wherever my dad is, he's looking down on us. He's not dead. Just very condescending." (Jack Whitehall)
4) "I went on a girl's night out recently. The invitation said 'dress to kill.' I went as Rose West." (Zoe Lyons)
3) "I had my boobs measured and bought a new bra. Now I call them Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes because they're up where they belong." (Sarah Millican)
2) "I was watching the London Marathon and saw one runner dressed as a chicken and another runner dressed as an egg. I thought: 'This could be interesting.'" (Paddy Lennox)
And the winning joke, with nearly 18 per cent of the total votes, was by Dan Antopolski and taken from his show 'Silent But Deadly', and went like this;
1) "Hedgehogs - why can't they just share the hedge?"
Dan Antopolski was said to be "delighted to get the prize" which consisted of a £1,000 cheque and the trophy comprising what appeared to be an acrylic elephant with the word Dave emblazoned upon it.
As far as the worst jokes were concerned, although Dave seemed to suggest that they had also been "put up for the public vote", the channel only released the information regarding the ten worst jokes. Thus in no particular order;
"There are so many 'failed train' announcements at stations these days. It's not rolling stock, it's laughing stock." (Stephen Carlin)
"My mind is like a cement mixer. It's grey, thick and always moving." (Celia Pacquola)
"I don't believe in guns. Literally; I don't believe they exist." (Rhys Darby)
"I phoned the swine flu hotline and all I got was crackling." (Frank Woodley)
"Michael Jackson only invented the moonwalk so he could sneak up on children." (Alex Maple)
"She's got a face like a rare Chinese vase – minging." (Phil Nichol)
"A brunette, a red-head and a blonde break out of Holloway Prison. They hide in a barn from the police and get into some sacks. The police come in and feel the sack with the brunette in it - she goes 'miaow'! They go on to feel the sack with the red-head in it - she goes 'woof!' Finally they feel the sack with the blonde in it. The Blonde shouts: potatoes!" (Denise Van Outen)
"I've just split up from my girlfriend, which is shame, because it was a long-standing arrangement. Perhaps if we'd sat down a bit more..." (Alistair McGowan)
"I dated a woman from the Chinese State Circus. One time I took her upstairs for a 69. She said, 'I'm not cooking at this time of night.'" (Anna and Katy)
"I'm not doing any Michael Jackson jokes, because they always involve puns about his songs. And that's bad". (Carey Marx)
Now admittedly some of these jokes are indeed bad, but if nothing else they demonstrate how humour is indeed subjective, as personally I regard the winning hedgehog joke as rather limp, and that Carey Marx's Michael Jackson quip was actually quite clever and a lot funnier than anything that made the 'Top Ten'. In any case none of the above was anywhere near as funny as yet another Carey Marx joke, as related by Alice Jones of the Independent, which went as follows;
"I was sitting next to a woman on the plane and she called me a misogynist. I said, 'Misogynist? That's a big word for a woman.'"
That's what I call funny.
- Alice Jones, A funny business: Dismal stereotypes of women still abound at the Fringe, The Independent, 21 August 2009
- Hedgehog joke wins comedy prize, BBC News, 23 August 2009
- Funniest joke of the 2009 Fringe revealed, Dave, 24 August 2009