Survey: Is texting killing off the art of telling a joke?

Millions of Brits have completely lost the art of telling a good joke, a study by Costa Coffee has revealed. Over a third of adults claim not to know a single gag and wouldn’t be able to just rattle one off.

Of those that admitted to not telling jokes, almost half cited being unable to remember the punch line as the main reason and 20 per cent said they get embarrassed, whilst one in twenty claim they are never in the right ‘mood’ to tell a funny tale.

Cringingly, 68 per cent of Brits have received a look of ‘bemusement’ after telling a joke. And one in ten said they don’t like being centre of attention so avoid telling gags in public.

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One reason for the decline could be down to technology - 27 per cent prefer to text jokes to friends rather than tell them face to face.

The study found that 13 per cent prefer to share a funny anecdote via email and one in twenty like to tell jokes via social networking sites, whilst a quarter said funny clips on the internet are more likely to have their sides splitting than old fashioned jokes.

Despite the poor delivery of a good quip 30 per cent believe that sense of humour is the best attribute that Britons possess and nearly half believe that cynicism is what defines British Humour, explaining why over a third of Brits who chose Mock The Week as the TV series that puts a smile on their face.

Comedian Paul Tonkinson said: “The findings from the survey show that technology seems to have taken over as the best way to tell a joke, which is a result of the modern age we now live in.

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“Brits are famed for their sense of humour and it’s a great loss to our culture that so many of us can’t tell a good joke any more. Remembering all the detail in a joke and delivering a punch line with impact does take a certain amount of skill and flair – which some are better at than others.”

Researchers found that 20 per cent said it’s easier to text or email a joke as it prevents you looking stupid if you tell it wrong. And over 20 per cent find their friends updates on Facebook and Twitter wittier than an old fashioned gag.

The most popular people to share jokes with are friends and family – only nine per cent would crack a joke with their boss and just two per cent would tell a joke to a neighbour.

Despite our poor joke knowledge 72 per cent of people reckon they always look on the light side of life and never let things get them down.

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As a result of the findings of the research, Costa is helping to bring comedy back into people’s lives.

In conjunction with The Comedy Store, the Costa Light Comedy Challenge will discover budding new comedians and give them the opportunity of a life-time to get a much converted Friday night gig at The Comedy Store in London and Manchester.