As far as we're concerned, there are three enduring mysteries of human existence: sex, death and jokes. Frankly the first two have been overanalyzed -- Plato and dr. Ruth have it pretty much sewn up between them, it would seem -- so for the purposes of this book we thought we'd concentrate on the jokes. Because jokes are just fascinating, once you start to turn them around and look at them from different angles. Pretty much everyone that we've ever met knows at least one joke. Admittedly in a large number of cases it transpires that people know the setup from one joke ande the punch line from a completely different one, but that's another story. Jokes spread around the world and embed themselves in our shared culture; the most resonant of them get lodged in the language in the same way as clichés or old wives tales do. Why do we store them and recall them, these tiny folk tales, these wonderful lies? Why is there a constant demand for fresh ones, while the old ones survive for centuries? Why did the chicken cross the road?
Fra Jimmy Carr/Lucy Greeves: "Only Joking. What's So Funny About Making People Laugh?" Gotham Books, New York 2006