In an experiment conducted in Britain, people around the world were invited to judge jokes on an Internet site as well as contribute their own.
The LaughLab research, carried out by psychologist Dr. Richard Wiseman, from the University of Hertfordshire, attracted more than 40,000 jokes and almost two million ratings.
Wiseman said the joke worked across many different countries and appealed to men and women and young and old alike.
"Many of the jokes submitted received higher ratings from certain groups of people, but this one had real universal appeal," he said.
As well as identifying the joke which appealed most to people around the world, the experiment revealed wide humour differences between nations.
People logging onto the LaughLab Web site were invited to rate jokes using a "Giggleometer" which had a five-point scale ranging from "not very funny" to "very funny".
And here it is...
Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn't seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy takes out his phone and calls the emergency services.
He gasps: "My friend is dead! What can I do?" The operator says: "Calm down, I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead." There is a silence, then a gunshot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says: "OK, now what?"