BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC NEWS
 You are in: UK: England
Front Page 
World 
UK 
England 
Northern Ireland 
Scotland 
Wales 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 


Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

SERVICES 
Monday, 1 October, 2001, 06:13 GMT 07:13 UK
'Victor Meldrews' test cracker jokes
Anmol Bhrara
Anmol Bhrara sees the funny side in the cracker test
A Midlands supermarket manager has completed a testing challenge to try out 9,000 Christmas cracker jokes.

Anmol Bhrara, from Wolverhampton, had to sit through almost 18 hours of joke-telling over two weeks for Tesco.

He was part of a panel judging whether the planned cracker-fillers were funny and caused no offence before they were accepted.

Mr Bhrara, picked for his dour sense of humour, said the funny side of the job soon wore off.

Keep smiling

"After hearing 9,000 jokes that were all politically correct it's difficult to crack a few jokes.

"It was difficult to keep smiling by the end of it."

The aim was to keep freshening-up the stale one-liners, he said.

"Most people think that the same jokes are used every year," said the 31-year-old seasonal buyer.

Good/Bad jokes
Good: Q: What happens when your pet frog breaks down? A: He gets toad away
Bad: Q: Where do Londoners with pimples live? A: Ackney
"But only about 10% are the same so we've got to keep coming up with new ones.

"My favourite was: 'What's white and fluffy and swings through the cake shop? A meringue-utang.'

"One that didn't get in: 'Two elephants fell off a cliff - boom, boom!'

"That didn't raise a smile at all and so was rejected.

"One that I thought was quite wet but did get in: 'Why is the school football pitch always so soggy? Because the players are always dribbling'."

Serious side

Mike Baess, spokesman for Tesco, said the work of the laugh panel was important as the supermarket sells 2.5m boxes of Christmas crackers each year.

"We don't want Granny coughing up her Christmas turkey because she's been offended by a joke," he said.

"The panel were selected because they're all the Victor Meldrews of the office.

"If a joke can make them smile it's got to be funny."

The experience has meant a change of plan for Mr Bhrara.

"The problem is I'll ruin everybody's cracker joke because I know them all.

"I think I'll have to buy my crackers from another supermarket."

See also:

05 Sep 01 | Glasgow 2001
Search for world's funniest joke
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more England stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more England stories