Cartoonists Crack 508-Year-Old Humor Puzzle
CINCINNATI, Oh. -- An international team of cartoonists led by Jim Borgman and Jerry Scott has cracked one of the world's oldest humor puzzles that researchers say is so complicated that its solution, if drawn, would require three supertankers of ink and cover a piece of paper the size of Central Park and parts of the Bronx.
The 18-member group of cartoonists worked for four years to solve a purely theoretical humor conundrum posed in the 16th century by a priest, a monk and a rabbi in a bar. Simply put, the problem involves the arcane field of marginal humor and its relationship to the unintentional pun.
"The average layman will never understand how funny this is," said Dave Coverly, a leader of the subgroup which dealt with hypothetical inconsistencies in the area of nose sizes and the creator of Speedbump. "Even many cartoonists can't understand the implications of our work."
The problem's proof, announced simultaneously in Oslo, Stockholm and at the Lakewood Community College comic symposium on Wednesday, contains 9,147 Yiddish phrases, more than four million googly eyes and a caricature of George W. Bush with ears visible from space.
Researchers project that the solution, if viewed by a population the size of the Micronesian island of Tonga, would cause seismic laughter equaling a quake on the order of magnitude 7.0 on the Andy Richter scale.