I think I’ve found the best joke book ever.
For a history buff like myself, The World’s Oldest Joke Book, by Dan Crompton, is an awesome collection of ancient jokes that are both funny and fascinating.
This is basically a translation of a Roman joke book from the 4th century AD, called Philogelos, which just happens to be the oldest surviving collection of jokes in the world. Written by a couple of Greek scholars, it must’ve been the ultimate bathroom reader of its day.
Our ancestors laughed at pretty much the same things we do today. Farts, sex, eunuchs. Well, maybe that last one has lost a bit of its edge over the years.
In particular, the peoples of the ancient world truly enjoyed their blonde jokes. Back then, they were simply called idiots.
An idiot goes to visit a really sick friend. When he arrives, the wife says, with tears in her eyes, “Sadly, he has already left us.”
“Oh well,” says the idiot. “When he comes back, tell him I dropped by.”
A few of the jokes haven’t stood the test of time, but most of them are as identifiable now as they were nearly 2000 years ago.
Hairdresser: “How shall I cut your hair, sir?”
Client: “In silence.”
This is certainly one of the most interesting and unusual joke books I’ve seen, and it’s a fun one to have around the house. A slight warning, though. This is not a kid-friendly book. You know how those Greeks and Romans were. While most of the jokes are just fine, there are a few that stray into the PG-13 and R neighborhood.
Otherwise, any student of humor or history would love to see this book stuffed into their stocking on Christmas morning. As I said before, it’s a fascinating glimpse into what made our ancient ancestors double over with laughter.
The publishers have graciously offered a free copy of The World’s Oldest Joke Book to one of my readers. If you’d like a copy, just leave a comment on this post, telling me what always makes you laugh.
I’ll pick a winner this weekend.
Sorry, US and Canada addresses only.