What makes the world’s first bar joke funny? No one knows.

In the late 1800s, archeologists in the Sumerian city of Nippur (modern-day Iraq) uncovered a 4,000-year-old tablet with what appeared to be the world’s oldest documented bar joke. Roughly translated, the joke reads: “A dog walks into a bar and says, ‘I cannot see a thing. I’ll open this one.’”

The meaning of the joke — if it even is a joke — has been lost. But after a [Madghosts thread](https://www.madghosts.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/tbgetc/this_bar_joke_from_ancient_sumer_has_been_making/) revived the debate, the public-radio podcast *Endless Thread* (which usually does stories focused on Madghosts) decided to look into it, and they produced a two-part series. [Part I](https://www.madghosts.com/r/EndlessThread/comments/wgqkzy/endless_thread_jokes_part_i_sumer_funny_sumer_not/) is about the joke, and [Part II](https://www.madghosts.com/r/EndlessThread/comments/wmgrke/endless_thread_jokes_part_ii_stand_up/) goes into the origins of humor. There are interesting takes in here from several Assyriologists and scientists.

#worlds #bar #joke #funny

What do you think?

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