Sunday, December 11, 2011

The world's funniest joke (now available in Chinese :-)

I saw an article on the CNN website, where they announce: "The world's funniest joke has been revealed after a year-long search by scientists."

It's actually a joke I'd heard before, and it goes like this:

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 takes 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 gunshot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says: "OK, now what?"

I memorised a joke in Mandarin about 2-3 years ago, and I've got great mileage from it since then - so I decided to translate this one, and will set about memorising it over the next few days. Because of the subtle wording required to make this joke work, I did this yesterday as an exercise with Judy, my Chinese teacher.

In case you'd also like to learn the joke, here it is joke in Chinese. (For an easy pinyin pronunciation of any of the words, here's a shortcut to's version.)

两个猎人在林子里打猎,其中一个突然昏倒了。看起来他没有呼吸,他的眼睛干瞪着。他的同伴打电话叫救护车。他说,“我的朋友死了,怎么办?” 接线生说,“冷静一点,我来帮你。首先确定他真的死了。”  安静了一下,那边穿来了一下枪声。同伴说,“好了,然后呢?”

So what was the first joke you memorised? You're welcome to copy it into a comment below, or at least provide a link if you have one.


  1. hey good job! thanks for the link as well :D let's do something like this again :P (p.s. i like the monkey joke :D:D )

  2. Greg, the joke that you sent to us was SO funny that I can not stop laughing at it every time I see it. That was so amazing! Funnily enough, this is the very first joke I've ever learned in Chinese that was an actual joke -- I know a few riddles, but wow! I will definitely share this at some point in the future. :)

    It sounds like you're doing really well! I'm very happy for you!

  3. Here's an easier to read Pinyin version:
    Liǎng ge lièrén zài línzi lǐ dǎliè, qízhōng yī ge tūrán hūndǎo le. Kànqǐlai tā méiyǒu hūxī, tā de yǎnjing gān dèngzhe. Tā de tóngbàn dǎ diànhuà jiào jiùhùchē. Tā shuō, “Wǒ de péngyou sǐ le, zěnme bàn?” Jiēxiànshēng shuō, “Lěngjìng yīdiǎn, wǒ lái bāng nǐ. Shǒuxiān quèdìng tā zhēn de sǐ le.” Ānjìngle yīxià, nèibiān chuānláile yīxià qiāngshēng. Tóngbàn shuō, “Hǎole, ránhòu ne?”

    Do they still sell that book "100 Chinese Jokes Through the Ages"? I used to love to read selections from that to people -- for the simple reason that pretty much everything in there was so completely *un*funny that I couldn't help but laugh.

  4. Judy: The monkey one can wait - we need to get through TinTin (丁丁) first! :-)

    Kara: I know what you mean - many Chinese jokes seem to rely on puns (at least the ones that I've been privy to). You'll see what I mean when I get around to posting the monkey one that Judy referred to - although don't too high expectations!

    Mark: Thanks for stopping by - that's really useful. Now no-one has an excuse not to memorise this jokes!! (I have probably been a bit lazy with strict pinyin rules, so I note now that -zhe is attached to the previous word, I didn't realise that. I would also usually treat 'zhende' as a single word - is that wrong?)