Are longer jokes funnier? Spoiler, none of these jokes are funny.

Below is an analysis of jokes (yes, jokes) using data from UC Berkley’s ‘online joke recommender system’. I used ipython for the analysis, and the complete notebook can be found here. The data contains over 1.7MM continuous ratings of 150 jokes from ~60,000 users.

Here is the top joke according to the people, with a whopping rating of 3.7/10:

One Sunday morning William burst into the living room and said, “Dad! Mom! I have some great news for you! I am getting married to the most beautiful girl in town. She lives a block away and her name is Susan.”

After dinner, William’s dad took him aside. “Son, I have to talk with you. Your mother and I have been married 30 years. She’s a wonderful wife but she has never offered much excitement in the bedroom, so I used to fool around with women a lot. Susan is actually your half-sister, and I’m afraid you can’t marry her.”

William was heart-broken. After eight months he eventually started dating girls again. A year later he came home and very proudly announced, “Dianne said yes! We’re getting married in June.”

Again his father insisted on another private conversation and broke the sad news. “Dianne is your half-sister too, William. I’m awfully sorry about this.”

William was furious! He finally decided to go to his mother with the news

“Dad has done so much harm.. I guess I’m never going to get married,” he complained. “Every time I fall in love, Dad tells me the girl is my half-sister.”

His mother just shook her head. “Don’t pay any attention to what he says, dear. He’s not really your father.” 

Also, here are the bottom 5 jokes, in ascending order (they’re much shorter), and the associated ratings:

1.) (-2.7)

Jack Bauer can get McDonald’s breakfast after 10:30.

2.) (-2.2)

Person 1: Hey, wanna hear a great knock-knock joke?

3.) (-1.8)

Q: How many feminists does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A: That’s not funny.

4.) (-1.8)

Q: What’s O. J. Simpson’s web address?

A: Slash, slash, backslash, slash, slash, escape.

5.) (-1.6)

Q: What is orange and sounds like a parrot?

A: A carrot

After pulling the above and noticing that the length of the bottom jokes seemed much shorter than that of the top few jokes, I decided to see if there was any correlation between joke length and rating.

The following chart shows a slight (+) correlation between the # of parts (line breaks)  in a joke and the associated rating. As the fitted line shows, the r-squared value was 0.29.


You may have noticed from the above scatter that these either jokes weren’t all that funny, or the users are tough critics (I stand with the former). The below distribution shows just how unfunny these jokes were:



As you can see, the majority of jokes were rated on average between 1 and 3, with a good chunk of the jokes receiving negative ratings on the scale of -10 to +10.

For those interested, here is the complete list of jokes with the ratings attached, in descending order, use them at your own risk (personally, I prefer sticking to the back of Laffy Taffy wrappers for my content).