International Joke Day (July 1): Top Jokes, History, Celebrations and Facts

How will you be celebrating International Joke Day? You can celebrate by telling riddles and jokes, reading joke books, or even helping your children write jokes of their own.

International Joke Day: History

The true history of International Joke Day is a bit murky, but sources suggest that this day was created by Wayne Reinagel in 1994. Wayne Reinagel is an author of fantasy books, and decided that he needed a way to promote his books. So, as the story goes, one day in 1994 he realized that the year was half over and just decided to create the International Joke Day. According to Reinagle, "I made this day July 1, because the year was officially half over, and I then used it to promote my joke books".

Regardless of the origin of International Joke Day, the fact remains that people everywhere could use a bit more humor in their lives. Gelotology is the study of laughter and how it affects our physical and mental health, and has found that telling jokes, laughing at jokes and watching funny videos improves ones physical and mental health. Norman Cousins' memoir 'Anatomy of an Illness' discussed the physical and psychological benefits of laughter. He found that jokes, and comedies such as Marx Brothers movies made him feel better. Laughter reduces blood pressure, causes a reduction in stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, increases the immune system, among others.


1900 B.C.: That’s An Old Joke

The oldest identified joke is an ancient Sumerian proverb featuring toilet humor.

1600 B.C.: Earliest Joke

The Westcar Papyrus contains an example of one of the earliest jokes.

1470: Jokes Compilation

An anthology of jokes “Facetiae” by Poggio Bracciolini is published.

1603: “Knock-Knock!”

Shakespeare introduces the knock-knock joke in his play “Macbeth.”

1847: A Classic

The monthly New York magazine “The Knickerbocker” is the first to publish the classic joke, “Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side.”

International Joke Day (July 1): Top Jokes, History, Celebrations and Facts
Photo: InUth


We’ve all heard laughter is the best medicine, but did you know there’s scientific evidence to back that up? Studies have shown laughing has far-reaching positive effects on the mind and body. It gives the immune system a boost by decreasing stress hormones, improving heart health by increasing blood flow, and even burning calories.

Every country has its own unique set of humor, and July 1 is the perfect time to share that piece of culture. No matter what differences we have, we still all love having a great belly laugh in good company. International Joke Day reminds us that humor is human, and that binds us together.

Humans have been telling jokes for nearly as long as we’ve had civilization. While some scholars believe the ancient Greeks told the first jokes, others say they can trace it back to the Sumerians nearly 4,000 years ago. And the most common joke material throughout the ages? Let’s just say they told bawdy jokes, in every sense of the word.

International Joke Day: Celebrations

There are many options for celebrating! You could simply tell some jokes to a co-worker or friend, or a stranger on the street, whoever seems to need the most hilarity in their day. Or invite your friends over for a joke-telling party! Take turns telling jokes or reading them out of a joke book or online source.

Another option is to visit a local comedy club and listen to a professional (or wannabe pro) tell jokes for a night of fun! Find out if the club has open mic opportunities and consider sharing some jokes of your own.

If going out for a night on the town doesn’t suit your fancy you could pull up some DVD’s of a famous comedian’s standup routine, such as Robin Williams or Jim Carrey or a TV channel may play an hour-long standup comedy special featuring well-known comedians such as Daniel Tosh.

Support live comedy

One of the best ways to celebrate International Joke Day is to head out to a comedy club in your area, support the club and its comedians, and get a hearty dose of laughter while you’re at it. Perhaps it’s a local, small club with up-and-coming comedians or an established business that attracts top talent. Either way, your support means we’ll have a steady stream of one-liners rolling out for years to come.

Learn a joke

Telling a good joke is a lot harder than memorizing a few words. It takes timing, reading your audience, delivery, articulation, and experience. So, why not take this holiday as an opportunity to learn - and practice - a joke? Consider the context in which you might use it, practice the delivery, and test it out with your friends. If it floats, you’ve got a joke in your back pocket you can pull out at any awkward dinner party.

Take a break from the news

In today’s 24-hour news cycle, it’s sometimes overwhelming to try to keep up. For one day on July 1, perhaps try avoiding the news, and instead, read humor pieces in any of the country’s leading newspapers. Or, you can of course find the internet’s best comedy on sites like Reddit, Buzzfeed, The Onion, or any of your preferred sources. Who knows what could be accomplished if we all shared a good sidesplitting laugh, even if just for a day.

Funny international jokes:

France: “What would a parrot say that got its leg stuck in a freezer? Shiver me timbers.”

“ ’You’re a high-priced lawyer! If I give you 500 dollars, will you answer two questions?’

‘Absolutely! What’s the second question?’ ”

Belgium: “Well, you see, there are basically three kinds of people in the world: those who can count and those that can’t.”

Sweden: ‘A guy phones the local hospital and yells, ‘You’ve gotta send help! My wife’s in labor!’

The nurse says, ‘Calm down. Is this her first child?’

He replies, ‘No! This is her husband!’

Canada: You know you’re from Canada when….

Driving in the winter is better because all the potholes are filled in with snow.

If the local newspaper requires 2 pages for national and international headlines but requires three for hockey.

If “vacation” means going anywhere south of Detroit for the weekend.

If you’ve had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed a wrong number.

If you find -40C a “little chilly.”

China: I was walking down the mall with a friend yesterday when he turned to me and said, “Seeing all those flags on display makes me so proud of my country.”

“But Chan, you’re Chinese,” I replied, “All those flags are British.”

“No they’re not,” he laughed, “just take a look at those labels!”

Top 10 Jokes in the world

You probably know some good jokes. So do we. I, Mr. Orlando, with the help of my good friend Cottonball, am here to tell you some of my favourite jokes. Try these out on your friends and family!

What do you call an alligator in a vest? An Investigator!

Why did the banana go to the doctor? It didn’t peel well!

What do you call a sleeping bull? A bulldozer!

When is the best time to go to the dentist?  At tooth-hurty!

What has four wheels and flies?   A garbage truck!

What do you call a bear with no teeth?  A gummy bear!

Why do golfers wear two pairs of pants?   In case they get a hole in one!

Why was 6 afraid of 7?  Because 7,8,9!

Why are pirates called pirates?   Because they arrrrr!

What do you call a fly with no wings?  A walk!


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