Like so many things in life, being funny would seem to be something of a postcode lottery. However, a team of boffins has trawled the country to discover how different accents influence how comical we find a person.
After asking 4,000 people to listen to the same joke in 11 different regional accents, researchers from the University of Aberdeen concluded that the Brummie accent, as typified by the likes of Frank Skinner, Jasper Carrott and Lenny Henry, is Britain’s funniest, appealing to more than a fifth of those questioned.
The Scouse accent took second place, while the lilting tones of Geordies came third with 14.3% of the vote.
The Mancunian and Glaswegian accents fared less well, respectively tickling the funny bones of 2.1% and 3.4% of those polled.
Languishing at the bottom of the list was received pronunciation. The clear, rootless accent once favoured by BBC broadcasters, appealed to just 1.1% of participants.
The study also discovered that accents perceived as warm were deemed funnier than apparently cold ones, and that Cockney patter was particularly suited to risque humour.
Dr Lesley Harbidge, the comedy expert who led the research, chose a test joke which reflected the traditions of British stand-up comedy and which forced the listener to concentrate on the teller’s pronunciation rather than their apparent cleverness. The researchers found that the three funniest accents – Brummie, Scouse and Geordie – were also deemed to be the least intelligent.