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Do you understand the top joke at this year’s Fringe festival?

September 2019

couple laughing
Everyone enjoys a good laugh

Most of us have probably heard of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, more commonly known as the Edinburgh Fringe.  It is the world’s largest arts festival that takes place every August.

While there is lots going on, for many of us it is just the comedians that we really notice. Every year a group of highly talented performers present a range of one liners and other comedy skits; and due to their popularity comedy is now the largest section in the Fringe, making up over one third of the programme each year.

Each year the best one liners from the festival are put to the public vote to determine the top ten, and this year the results have been varied and interesting as well as highly comic!

Perhaps the most controversial this year is the overall winning joke, a quick one liner from Swedish comedian Falafel. His joke, declared funniest joke at the Fringe, makes some people laugh their heads off while others frown in puzzlement because they simply don’t understand it.  The joke which captured the winning vote was:

I keep randomly shouting out 'broccoli' and 'cauliflower' - I think I might have florets

Not everyone has heard of Tourette Syndrome, or Tourettes, but that said, by far the majority found the joke very funny.

But for anyone who had doubts about the winning joke, there were other hugely funny one liners coming from a wide range of comedians and covering every subject under the sun:

Ivo Graham: I've got an Eton themed advent calendar, where all the doors are opened for me by my dad's contacts!

Rob Oldham: I turned 24 last week. Pythagoras was 22 when he worked out the lengths of a right angled triangle for the first time. I covered that in Year Six, so I’m doing pretty bloody well!

Interestingly, today many of the comedians in this year’s Fringe are telling jokes that simply wouldn’t have been understood or in some cases acceptable when we were young:

Izzy Mant: I'm not into street food. Putting the word "street" in front of something doesn't make it cooler. It just means they haven't bothered to provide a building

Steve N Allen: You should try sexting. It's good fun and really gets rid of those PPI people

B SnookWhen I really love someone, I put all my eggs in one bastard

But a lot of jokes at this year’s Fringe are clean, simple and will stand the test of time for some years to come:

Kelly Convey: Some people think being working class is a negative thing but I think there’s loads of benefits. I’ve claimed them all.

Archie Maddocks: Nothing makes sense to me. We live in a world where we cut down trees to make birdhouses out of wood. 

 Jake Lambert: A cowboy asked me if I could help him round up 18 cows. I said, "Yes, of course, that’s 20 cows." 

Pleasance Courtyard: My dad’s a foster parent, whereas my mother has always preferred Carlsberg

Goodbear: What do I want played at my funeral? Rugby. 

Jokes do reflect the times we live in.  During the 1940s and 50s jokes were very clean and really very simple, such as this 1940s favourite:

A man walks into the records office and asks to change his name. The clerk asks the man's name and the man replies "My name is Adolf Stinkfoot." The clerk is sympathetic and decides to allow the man to change his unfortunate name. "What do you want to change it to?" asks the clerk; the man replies "Maurice Stinkfoot
Or the favourite that was aired many times during this period:
General to private: "Have you come here to die?" Private to General: "No sir, I came here yester-die!"

The world has become more knowledgeable and more complex since those days, and the modern era of jokes reflect this.  But maybe not knowledgeable enough for everyone to quickly understand this year’s top Fringe joke about florets!

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