The Best Jokes of All Time

Traditional

Q. What do you call an elephant that doesn’t matter?

A. An irrelephant

Some jokes are timeless – and, as their name would suggest, traditional jokes are those that have been around for a while. As a result, more often than not, they have a fascinating history or story behind them, and their evolution throughout the years can be traced. Additionally, because of their longevity, traditional jokes are often adapted for alternative cultures, languages or subject matters when appropriate.

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Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visits the University of Chichester’s Engineering and Technology Park on October 3, 2018, in Bognor Regis, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

They usually consist of a question and answer – a format that has persisted despite the rise of alternative types of jokes and humor – but there are some variations, such as “knock” jokes. Whatever the structure, they consist of a “punchline” – a point at which the audience becomes aware of a second or conflicting meaning to the question or story. This is often achieved through wordplays such as irony, a pun or pure nonsense. Here are some of the best traditional jokes:

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