Georg Christoph Lichtenberg and Monty Python

One of my favorite Monty Python skit is The Funniest Joke in the World1. When the lethal impact of the joke becomes obvious the British Army translates it into German to use it as a weapon in World War II against German troops. The German translation of the joke sounds quite funny indeed: Wenn ist das Nunstück git und Slotermeyer? Ja! Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput2 This is pure nonsense. But as we see in the film the Wehrmacht cannot withstand this attack.

I was surprised to see that the idea of a deadly joke is much older and that it is of German origin. Georg Christoph Lichtenberg had this idea in the 18th century. He wrote in his Sudelbuch (D 137):

„Einen Gedanken zu finden, wobei sich allemal jeder Mensch der ihn hört todtlacht.“

In English: To find a thought, which would make every body laugh himself to death, if he hears it.

Literatur

Monty Python - The Funniest Joke In The World. 2006. Internet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gpjk_MaCGM&feature=youtube_gdata_player. Zuletzt geprüft am: 22.9.2014.

The Funniest Joke in the World. In: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 2014. Internet: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Funniest_Joke_in_the_World&oldid=618952947. Zuletzt geprüft am: 22.9.2014.

Fußnoten


  1. Monty Python - The Funniest Joke In The World. 2006. Internet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gpjk_MaCGM&feature=youtube_gdata_player. Zuletzt geprüft am: 22.9.2014.

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  2. The Funniest Joke in the World. In: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 2014. Internet: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Funniest_Joke_in_the_World&oldid=618952947. Zuletzt geprüft am: 22.9.2014.

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