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The World's Oldest Written Joke

Jeevan Sivasubramaniam Posted by Jeevan Sivasubramaniam, Managing Director, Editorial, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.

The World's Oldest Written Joke

The world's oldest written joke is from 1900 BC Sumeria. And, sadly enough, it is a fart joke. Put simply, it translates as:

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

No doubt this one had the ancients rolling in the aisles with many a wine goblet dropped even though it makes little sense to us. This joke is proof of how language and society evolve in particular ways and our tastes evolve with them. This is why we look back on fashions from the 70s and 80s and can't believe we used to wear those sorts of clothes (and twenty years from now, the whole tight-pants-that-are-also-too-short that men sport today will be equally mocked). This is also why hit television shows from the 80s starring David Hasselhoff were such big draws then but are almost kitschy and silly now.

You can read more about this ancient joke and others here.