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That's right, kids: The oldest jokes in the world AND their fascinating histories!

Number 10. Approximate age: at least 40 years. Originally attributed to little Joey Kracken, who, as any kid in 1960s Nebraska would tell you, was always crackin jokes.

Knock, Knock

Who's there?


Lettuce who?

Lettuce in and you'll find out.

Number 9. Approximate age: 40-50 years. Originally attributed to a school crossing guard in Missouri known as Al who had a small garden planted at his crosswalk.

How do you fix a broken tomato? With tomato paste!

Number 8. Approximate age: at least 50 years. Originator unknown, but a copy of the confiscated note on which this joke may have first been written is on display at the Museum of Old Jokes of Ohio (Mojo, for short).

Why did the pony cough? He was a little hoarse.

Number 7. Approximate age: at least 60 years. Possibly originated by then7-year-old Herman Audubon, a little-known distant descendant of the great naturalist and illustrator.

Why do birds fly south in the winter? Its too far to walk.

Number 6. Exact age: 73 years. One of the most famous jokes, of course, but the precision with which we know its origin is unusual in this list. Daisy Buckinstock, a rambunctious farm girl in Idaho, actually combined the development of this joke with a science-fair project by conducting a scientifically valid survey of chickens herded across a residential street in Boise on the morning of April 1, 1932.

Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side. Other popular answers included, Because that insane kid Daisy Buckinstock was chasing us with a broom!

Number 5. Approximate age: About 100 years. This joke started appearing on slates in rural Kentucky about the same time Einstein was formulating his famous theory of general relativity.

What is the end of everything? The letter G.

Einstein himself became aware of this joke later in his career, when he was teaching at Princeton University. Curmudgeon that he was, he pointed out that the Old German term, Everyschnuckenpuck, ends not with a G but with a K, thus robbing the joke of much of its impact, in his opinion.

Number 4. Approximate age: 385 years. This joke is preserved in the Smithsonian cafeteria.

If April showers bring May flowers, what do Mayflowers bring? Pilgrims.

Its interesting to note that the Pilgrims never got this joke.

Number 3. Approximate age: 900-1,000 years. Not otherwise known for their humor, medieval monks took a daily break from their ritual silence for a quick exchange of knock-knock jokes. This little-known practice resulted in this joke, truly one of the all-time oldest jokes on earth.

What goes, ha ha ha thump? Someone laughing his head off.

Number 2. Approximate age: 2,500 years. Busy as they were forming the worlds first democracy and building the foundations of Western culture, the ancient Greeks did take some time to craft a few really dumb jokes that have stood the test of time. Cleptomanicus, a Greek actor known for stealing jokes like crazy, is said to have enjoyed standing just offstage during a Greek tragedy and trying to crack up his fellow performers with this purloined line.

Why did the pig want to be an actor? Because he was a big ham!

Cleptomanicus, sad to way, was ostracized from Athens in 499 BC because people couldnt take his stupid jokes anymore, which werent even his to begin with.

Number 1. Approximate age: 5,000 years. Thats right, the oldest known joke in the world. Originating in China during the Bling-Bling Dynasty, which was marked by having enormously idiotic jokes written in gold inlay on elaborate ceramic urns, this joke is sometimes thought to be the very first joke ever written that included a question mark.

Two silk worms were in an obstacle-course race. What was the result?

... A tie.

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