Several readers have e-mailed me today with links to news reports about a thread on Reddit titled 'What's the most intellectual joke you know?' For example, the Independent commented:
Scientists are not generally recognised for their sense of humour, but those disparagingly referred to as “geeks” by the more intellectually challenged of us have responded in their thousands to a question posed on the Reddit website: “What’s the most intellectual joke you know?”
The huge number of gags – and yes, many of them are funny – cover all disciplines from physics to philosophy. They range from the accessible, such as: “A Roman walks into a bar, holds up two fingers, and says: ‘Five beers, please’,” to those that require a working knowledge of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle to understand. The joke about Benoit B Mandelbrot, for example, relies on a knowledge of the scientist’s work on fractals.
For all their highbrow intellectualism, however, the jokes follow traditional forms. They include puns: “Did you hear about the man who got cooled to absolute zero? He’s OK now” – as well as someone-walks-into-a-bar jokes and light-bulb-changing jokes (“How many Marxists does it take to screw in a lightbulb? None: the lightbulb contains the seeds of its own revolution”).
There are also plenty of jokes of the Englishman, Irishman and Scotsman format, where the usual protagonists are replaced by physicists, engineers and economists.
There's more at the link, and many more jokes at the Reddit thread, which at the time of writing had attracted no less than 16,150 responses since June 25th! I daresay there's enough jokes there to keep most of us going for a lifetime . . .