Christmas Crackers – why bad jokes work

Ever wonder by Christmas cracker jokes unfailingly illicit groans as well as laughter? Well, it turns out Christmas cracker jokes are deliberately designed to be bad.

Professor Richard Wiseman, author of LaughLab, the scientific quest for the world’s funniest joke, says cracker jokes are more about bonding people together than making people laugh.

“Christmas time is quite a stressful time for all sorts of reasons. So I think it’s important that people laugh. With cracker jokes, most jokes are so poor that when you get a groan you can blame the joke and not the person telling the joke. So the people around you will say ‘my goodness, what a terrible joke’, but that’s the whole point. Bad jokes are actually surprisingly good at bonding people together. Having a terrible joke and having people say, ‘who writes this rubbish?’… it actually does a good job at bonding people together.”

LaughLab’s winning joke was submitted by Gurpal Gosall a psychiatrist from Manchester who sometimes told the joke to cheer up his patients, noting that: ‘…it makes people feel better, because it reminds them that there is always someone out there who is doing something more stupid than themselves’.

Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn’t seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed.  The other guy whips out his phone and calls the emergency services.  He gasps, “My friend is dead! What can I do?”.  The operator says “Calm down.  I can help.  First, let’s make sure he’s dead.”  There is a silence, then a shot is heard.  Back on the phone, the guy says “OK, now what?”


Here are some our favourite bad jokes. Please comment below with yours!

Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly. But when they lit a fire in the craft, it sank, proving once and for all that you can’t have your kayak and heat it.

A lorry-load of tortoises crashed into a trainload of terrapins. What a turtle disaster…

I went down the local supermarket.  I said, “I want to make a complaint, this vinegar’s got lumps in it”, he said, “Those are pickled onions”.

Went to the paper shop – it had blown away.

I cleaned the attic with my husband the other day. Now I can’t get the cobwebs out of his hair.

A sandwich walks into a bar. The barman says “Sorry we don’t serve food in here”

Slept like a log last night…….. Woke up in the fireplace.

A jump-lead walks into a bar. The barman says “I’ll serve you, but don’t start anything”

I went to buy some camouflage trousers the other day but I couldn’t find any.

There’s two fish in a tank, and one says to the other “How do you drive this thing?”

Two aerials meet on a roof – fall in love – get married. The ceremony was rubbish – but the reception was brilliant.

Police arrested two kids yesterday, one was drinking battery acid, the other was eating fireworks. They charged one – and let the other one off.

I said to the Gym instructor “Can you teach me to do the splits?” He said, “How flexible are you?” I said, “I can’t make Tuesdays”

A man walking down the street sees another man with a very big dog.  The man says: “Does your dog bite?” The other man replies: “No, my dog doesn’t bite”.  The first man then pats the dog, has his hand bitten off, and shouts; “I thought you said your dog didn’t bite”. The other man replies: “That’s not my dog”.



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