MetaFilter has a great post on the oldest jokes in the book. The record-holder? This gem from 4,600 years ago:
How do you entertain a bored pharaoh? You sail a boatload of young women dressed only in fishing nets down the Nile and urge the pharaoh to go catch a fish.
I guess humor hasn’t changed much in 4,600 years. Intellectuals, rude people, drunkards, incompetents, and people with bad breath were all targets in Philogelos, a 5th century joke book. And long before there were Polish jokes, there were Abderite jokes:
An Abderite saw a eunuch talking with a woman and asked him if she was his wife. When he replied that eunuchs can’t have wives, the Abderite asked: “So is she your daughter?”