A couple of rib-ticklers to start your day.

A woman goes to the morgue to identify her husband’s body. The attendant uncovers the body’s face. ‘Yes that’s him, but what powder do you use to keep the sheets so white?’

A doctor is explaining the results of some tests to a pregnant mother and her partner. ‘First, here’s the good news. Your child will always find a parking space.’

Did you find those funny, even if you drew breath a bit? Well, there is some good news for you too. According to some propellorheads at the University of Vienna, people with a black sense of humour are more intelligent and less violent than those who don’t favour the Dark Side. The lily-livered ones also suffer from more mood swings.

You may disapprove of these jokes, but as I think I may have said before, all jokes need a victim. There are only three basic jokes. In one, the intended victim gets the custard pie in the face. In the second, the intended victim ducks, and an unsuspecting bystander cops for it. In the third, which some may regard as merely a variant on the second, the perp cackhandedly shoves the pie in their own face.

I have to say the methodology looks a bit suspect, since the total research cohort was a meagre 156. However, the research is published in a reputable journal (Cognitive Processing), and it was carried out by an institute that’s highly regarded for its psychology research. Definitely no banana republic stuff.

The even better news is that the findings contradict Sigmund Freud. Early in the 20th century, Freud reckoned that humour allows for the release of repressed sexual urges. Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he? He was a bit obsessed about sex, wasn’t he?

The researchers blot their copybook a bit with a lot of dribbling on about humour being a ‘two stage problem solving process,’ which is a bit psychobabbly, isn’t it? You either get a joke or you don’t.

Something else also occurs to me. ‘While a positive association between black humour processing (I think that means getting the joke) and intelligence can be shown…’ On that basis the regulars in my local pub should be able to stop the Earth in its orbit by the power of thought alone.

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