You might love them or hate them, but it wouldn’t be Christmas without a Christmas cracker joke to make everybody giggle and groan.
Usually, the joke that comes in a Christmas cracker is festive-themed or evergreen, suitable for nearly any age. But can the British public come up with the perfect joke that is both hilarious and topical?
Yes, they can. Comedy channel Gold held a competition via X, formerly known as Twitter, to find the best topical Christmas cracker joke and after putting the entries to a panel of judges, it has crowned a winner.
The contest has been running for the past 11 years. After the panel of judges, which was led by comedy critic Bruce Dessau, shortlists their favourite jokes, they are put to an anonymous public vote of 2,000 Britons.
This year, the winning joke pokes fun at the British Museum. In September, the museum asked the public for help in finding ancient artefacts that had gone missing from its collection, following an investigation into around 2,000 treasures that were reported “missing, stolen or damaged”.
Gold named a joke by 37-year-old Chris Douch from Oxfordshire as the funniest new Christmas cracker joke of 2023. It goes: “Did you hear about the Christmas cake on display in the British Museum? It was Stollen.”
Other jokes that made the top 10 list include a jab at Tesla CEO Elon Musk and his rollercoaster acquisition of X; the hype around two of the biggest films this year, Barbie and Oppenheimer; and the scandal surrounding the use of faulty concrete in school buildings that affects more than 200 schools in the UK.
One joke references the cancellation of the northern leg of the HS2 high-speed rail project, while another alludes to the high number of trains strikes Britons have had to contend with while trying to get around the country this year.
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, spanning from cultural hit Barbenheimer and the misadventures of Parisian bed bugs, to seemingly never-ending strikes and terrible train woes, proves that we are a nation with an unwaveringly inventive sense of humour.”
Gerald Casey, Gold channel director, added: “This year has witness a wealth of comedic talent in our competition, perfectly combining festive funnies and cultural moments of 2023.:
These are the top 10 funniest and most topical jokes of 2023:
Did you hear about the Christmas cake on display in the British Museum? It was Stollen.
Why is Elon Musk's Christmas dinner so awkward? He can't stop talking about his X.
Why isn't Barbie having turkey for Christmas dinner this year? Chic-Ken is enough.
Why aren't any schools allowed to put on a nativity this year? They couldn't find a stable building.
What impact will the 20mph speed limit in Wales have on the charts this year? Chris Rea will be driving home for Easter.
What happened to Mark Zuckerberg's novelty jumper when he had a cage fight with Elon Musk? He was left with nothing but Threads.
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.
What did Robert Oppenheimer get Barbie for Christmas? Atomic Kenergy.
Why are the train drivers on the naughty list this year? Because they've already had three strikes!
How does Margot Robbie decorate her Nativity scene? With 3 wise Ken.
Read more about Christmas:
Cynics be damned, I love Christmas with all of its festive weirdness (City AM, 3-min read)
A surprising number of Brits end up marrying their work Christmas party fling (Yahoo Life UK, 4-min read)
56 fun Christmas quiz questions & answers to get you in the festive spirit (House Beautiful, 5-min read)