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BM ends terrible year as punchline

Lanre Bakare, British Museum ends terrible year as punchline in Christmas cracker joke, The Guardian, 5 December 2023

Elon Musk and Barbie film also feature in list of 10 most popular jokes in contest run by TV channel Gold.

The Parthenon marbles at the British Museum in London. Photograph: Neil Hall/EPA

The British Museum has barely been out of the headlines in 2023. First, there was the theft of 1,500 items from its collection and then it found itself in the middle of a diplomatic row over the Parthenon marbles.

Now the institution’s annus horribilis has been topped off by becoming the punchline in the year’s most popular Christmas cracker joke.

The annual competition, commissioned by the TV channel Gold, asks people to post their festive jokes to X (formerly Twitter) with a winner of the annual poll decided by the British public.

This year’s winner was written by Chris Douch from Oxfordshire who managed to combine a joke about the British Museum’s recent travails with a reference to fruity festive confectionery: “Did you hear about the Christmas cake on display in the British Museum? It was Stollen.”

The annual competition usually produces a topical winner that sends up one of the biggest stories of the year. In 2020, the winner poked fun at Dominic Cummings and his trip to Barnard Castle during the Covid-19 pandemic.

This year the other contenders took aim at the Barbie movie and Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer blockbuster, while the political gags made fun of everything from the crumbling concrete scandal to the cancellation of HS2 and the ongoing rail strikes.

Elon Musk was another popular target. The joke that came second in the poll was: “Why is Elon Musk’s Christmas dinner so awkward? He can’t stop talking about his X”, while the sixth-placed entry made fun of his dust-up with Metaverse boss Mark Zuckerberg. “What happened to Mark Zuckerberg’s novelty jumper when he had a cage fight with Elon Musk? He was left with nothing but Threads.”

Chair of the judging panel, the comedy critic Bruce Dessau, said: “Despite the tumultuous times of the past year, the British public has once again found the silver, or in this case gold, lining in some cheerful jokes.

“This year’s modern Christmas cracker jokes … prove that we are a nation with an unwaveringly inventive sense of humour.”

 

The top 10 jokes:

  1. Did you hear about the Christmas cake on display in the British Museum? It was Stollen.
  2. Why is Elon Musk’s Christmas dinner so awkward? He can’t stop talking about his X.
  3. Why isn’t Barbie having turkey for Christmas dinner this year? Chic-Ken is enough.
  4. Why aren’t any schools allowed to put on a nativity this year? They couldn’t find a stable building.
  5. What impact will the 20mph speed limit in Wales have on the charts this year? Chris Rea will be driving home for Easter.
  6. What happened to Mark Zuckerberg’s novelty jumper when he had a cage fight with Elon Musk? He was left with nothing but Threads.
  7. What’s the difference between The Polar Express and HS2? One’s a fantasy about a train and the other’s a film with Tom Hanks.
  8. What did Robert Oppenheimer get Barbie for Christmas? Atomic Kenergy.
  9. Why are the train drivers on the naughty list this year? Because they’ve already had three strikes!
  10. How does Margot Robbie decorate her Nativity scene? With thee wise Ken.