Dave, the 'home of witty banter', and the British television channel most keen to promote itself, decided that it would award a prize for the funniest joke heard at the Edinburgh Fringe. Dave duly selected a panel of ten judges, being Steve Bennett, Tim Arthur, Stephen Armstrong, Julian Hall, Dominic Maxwell, Dominic Cavendish, James Mullinger, Mark Wareham, Brian Donaldson and Bruce Dessau, who sat "through an average of sixty different comedy performances" and each submitted their three favourite jokes. This shortlist of thirty of the best jokes was then put to the "public vote" by Onepoll (the "UK's fastest growing online market research company") who conducted a survey and asked "over 2,000 comedy fans" to vote for their favourite.
In ascending order, the ten funniest jokes as chosen by this particular example of the British public were as follows;
10. "People were outraged because of Barack Obama's spiritual advisor. I think it's great he had one. Who was George Bush's spiritual advisor? Jim Beam? Johnnie Walker? Jack Daniels?" (Jeff Kreisler)
9. "I like Jesus but he loves me, so it's awkward." (Tom Stade)
8. "Grandchildren can be fucking annoying. How many times can you go 'And the cow goes moo and the pig goes oink'? It's like talking to a supermodel." (Joan Rivers)
7. "So far Bird Flu has only killed forty-seven people. By the time it ends, it's going to have killed thirty-seven million. It's got to get going, hasn't it, if it's going to be the pandemic we've all been hoping for." (Edward Aczel)
6. "The Scots invented hypnosis, chloroform and the hypodermic syringe - wouldn't it be easier just to talk to a woman?" (Stephen Grant)
5. "Velcro. What a rip-off." (Tim Vine)
4. "When I was a kid I asked my mum what a couple was and she said 'oh, two or three.' And she wonders why her marriage didn't work." (Josie Long)
3. "My girlfriend said 'did you know that hippopotamuses kill more people every year than guns?' 'Yes,' I said, 'but a gun is easier to conceal." (Lloyd Langford)
2. "Most of us have a skeleton in the cupboard. David Beckham takes his out in public." (Andrew Laurence)
The winner, being the choice of 11.65% of those voting, was penned by Zoe Lyons and featured in her show, Mangled Mantra of the Messed-up Modern Mind, and went like this;
"I can't believe Amy Winehouse self-harms. She's so irritating she must be able to find someone to do it for her."
Of course to find the winning joke funny you really have to know who Amy Winehouse is. If you don't know who she is, be thankful and move on.
In return for her contribution to British culture Zoe Lyons received a handcrafted trophy together with a cash prize of £1,000, and said that she was "absolutely delighted to have won the award. I know self-harming is not funny but it's just a joke, so I'm not going to beat myself up about it."
- Festival prize for Winehouse joke, BBC News, 22 August 2008
- Dave at the Edinburgh Fringe
- How we found the Funniest Joke of the Fringe
- Alexander Lawrie, Winehouse gag wins best of the fest, August 21, 2008