Ahoy there, mateys!

I’ve never been as keen again to read a chapter of a book as I was when I came across one called “Square Sweets That Look Round”. It was a puzzle I couldn’t solve. How could anything be square and yet, at the same time, look round?

I must have been seven or eight when I read that and I find the solution to the conundrum as satisfying and hilarious now as I did back then. It’s a beautiful joke with a simple, logic-defying set up and a cheeky punchline, heavy on the pun part.

That joke forms the basis of my adult sense of humor. It’s slightly absurd,  slightly silly, it involves wordplay and no one gets hurt. You probably have a different set of criteria for the things that make you laugh, but that’s mine right there.

It’s not necessarily my favorite joke of all time. That would be the one about the restaurant patron who tries to get his waiter to taste his soup. My kids have heard me tell it a million times. They no longer believe it to be funny. They are wrong.

Which leads us to the announcement earlier this week of the ten funniest jokes from this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The award is sponsored by something called Dave and this year it went to a Canadian fellow named Stewart Francis.

You may not find all of these laugh out loud funny, but one or two should bring the hint of a smile to brighten your day. Enjoy.

10) My mum’s so pessimistic, that if there was an Olympics for pessimism, she wouldn’t fancy her chances. – Nish Kumar

9) I waited an hour for my starter so I complained: ‘It’s not rocket salad.’ – Lou Sanders

8) I saw a documentary on how ships are kept together. Riveting! – Stewart Francis

7) Pornography is often frowned upon, but that’s only because I’m concentrating. – George Ryegold

6) I took part in the sun tanning Olympics – I just got Bronze. – Tim Vine

5) I’m good friends with 25 letters of the alphabet. I don’t know Y. – Chris Turner

4) You know you’re working class when your TV is bigger than your book case. – Rob Beckett

3) I was raised as an only child, which really annoyed my sister. – Will Marsh

2) Last night me and my girlfriend watched three DVDs back to back. Luckily I was the one facing the telly. – Tim Vine

1) You know who really gives kids a bad name? Posh and Becks. – Stewart Francis

And here’s a little bonus for everyone who made it this far: