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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
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