Bill Nye Explains Why the Chicken Crossed the Road
If you ask a six-year-old to tell you a joke there is a good chance they’d respond with the classic groaner “Why did the chicken cross the road?”
However, as you can see in the video above from YouTube explainer Vsuace and Bill Nye The Science Guy, “Why did the chicken cross the road” isn’t even really a joke. And, for that reason, it’s actually more funny than it’s generally given credit for.
“Why did the chicken cross the road?” is an anti-joke — which is set up like a joke, but with a punchline that is obvious and mundane rather than clever or humorous. Though some people believe it is the oldest “joke,” it’s not even close to it, first appearing in a newspaper about 160 years ago. (The oldest recorded joke comes from 4,000 years ago, and it involves farting.)
So why did the chicken cross the road? Ultimately Vsuace concludes the fowl made the move because a joke writer 160 years ago wanted it to. We think we can classify that as an anti-explanation.