July 1st is Canada Day, but it’s also International Joke Day. What follows are some of the oldest known jokes in the world.
The oldest joke book in the world—or at least the oldest one that’s survived to modern times, dates to Ancient Greece, and approximately the 4th century A.D. Compiled by two writers named Hierocles and Philagrius, Philogelos, or “Love of Laughter,” is a collection of 265 jokes about things like intellectuals, cheapskates, and fools. While these are definitely and literally “the oldest jokes in the book,” they don’t differ all that much from jokes you’d hear from a vaudeville performer or a stand-up comic on The Tonight Show in the 1970s. Here are some highlights of Philogelos.
A cheapskate wrote his will and named himself as the heir.
An intellectual came to check in on a friend who was seriously ill. When the man’s wife said that he had departed, the intellectual replied, “When he arrives back, tell him that I stopped by.”
An intellectual was told, “Your beard is now coming in.” So he went to the city’s rear-gates and waited for it. Another intellectual asked what he was doing. Once he heard the whole story, he said, “I’m not surprised that people say we lack common sense. How do you know that it’s not coming in by the other gate?”
An envious landlord saw how happy his tenants were, so he evicted all of them.
A cheapskate fell sick and promised to pay the doctor if he recovered. When his wife got mad at him for drinking wine while he had a fever, he replied, “Do you want me to get healthy and be forced to pay the doctor?”
A census taker knocked on my door and asked, “If it please you, do you have a wife?” I replied, “I have a wife, but by Hercules she doesn’t please me!”
A man says to a doctor, “Doctor, whenever I get up from my sleep, for half an hour I feel dizzy, and then I’m alright.” The doctor told him, “Get up half an hour later.”
Wanna hear a good one? Then check out our new joke books:
The Grossest Joke Book Ever
The Funniest Knock Knock Jokes Ever
The Wackiest Joke Book Ever
Dad Jokes: The Punniest Joke Book Ever
They’re all available in right now. (No kidding!)