The Greatest Fart Jokes Ever Told

‘At once he bubbled up the ghost’
The Greatest Fart Jokes Ever Told

The world’s greatest minds have squeaked out a bunch of killer fart jokes. You’ll read the works of Shakespeare, Chaucer and Ben Franklin on this list. But one relatively unknown artist dedicated his life to the fart joke — and changed the world.

The Oldest Joke, Period

The fart joke holds a special place in the Trope Hall of Fame, as the oldest recorded joke ever found is about the joys of eeking out a squeaker. Dating back to about 1900 BC, the ancient Sumerian joke goes a little something like this: “Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband's lap.”

Still as true today.

The ancients spent a lot of time trying to perfect the fart joke. Fifth-century BC playwright Aristophanes had a character explain to Socrates that “I get colic, then the stew sets to rumbling like thunder and finally bursts forth with a terrific noise,” and wrote more simply that “the rump is the trumpet to the gnats.”

Later, Seneca the Younger wrote a satire called The Pumpkinification of the Divine Claudius, in which he described the dead emperor’s last words: “At once he bubbled up the ghost, and there was an end to that shadow of a life. The last words he was heard to speak in this world were these. When he had made a great noise with that end of him which talked easiest, he cried out, ‘Oh dear, oh dear! I think I have made a mess of myself.’”

Geoffrey Chaucer: A Thonder-Dent From Ammyd the Arse

You may have missed it in middle school, but there are some hilarious — and at times brutal — jokes about butt biscuits hiding in The Canterbury Tales. The student Nicholas taunts his rival, Absolom, by saying (more or less), “Hey, did anybody hear that bird?,” then sticking his ass out a window and farting:

‘Sing, sweet bird, I kneen nat where thou art!’
This Nicholas anon let fle a fart
As greet as it had been a thonder-dent
That with the strook he was almost yblent (blinded)

Absolom gets swift revenge, however, by shoving a red-hot fire poker in Nicholas’ ass:

And he was ready with iron hoot
And Nicholas ammyd the ers he smoot

Another one of the Tales is about a guy, Thomas, who’s sick of getting visits from clergymen asking for donations. One tenacious friar wears him down, and Thomas agrees to donate — as long as his donation is divided evenly among all the other friars. Thomas tells the guy to reach into his pocket, and then rips an air bagel into his hand:

And down he thrust his hand right to the cleft,
In hope that he should find there some good gift.
And when the sick man felt the friar here
Groping about his hole and all his rear,
Into his hand he let the friar a fart.
There is no stallion drawing loaded cart
That might have let a fart of such a sound

The friar runs to their lord to tell on him, but the lord only ponders the best way to evenly divide a fart: 

How every man should have an equal part
Of both the sound and savour of a fart?
O scrupulous proud churl, beshrew his face!

If you’re wondering, he recommends having the gaseous man squat at the center of a large wheel, while the clergymen gather around and spin it like a game of fart roulette:

Let the nose be laid firmly of a friar.
Your noble sir confessor, whom God save,
Shall hold his nose upright beneath the nave.
Then shall this churl, with belly stiff and taut
As any tabour- let him here be brought;
And set him on the wheel of this same cart,
Upon the hub, and make him let a fart.
And you shall see, on peril of my life,
With proof so clear that there shall be no strife,
That equally the sound of it will wend,
And the stink too, to each spoke's utter end

William Shakespeare: Buzz Buzz, Crack Your Cheeks

The Bard himself was no stranger to the stink torpedo. From A Comedy of Errors: “A man may break a word with you, sir; and words are but wind; Ay, and break it in your face, so he break it not behind.”

There’s also this stinky little pun from Othello:

Clown: Are these, I pray you, wind instruments?
Musician: Ay marry are they, sir.
Clown: O, thereby hangs a tail.
Musician: Whereby hangs a tail, sir?
Clown: Marry, sir, by many a wind instrument that I know.

This line from Hamlet is thought to be a masterful double-double entendre, with both “buzz” and “ass” meaning exactly what you think they do:

Polonius: The actors are come hither, my lord.
Hamlet: Buzz, buzz.
Polonius: Upon mine honour —
Hamlet: Then came each actor on his ass.

Finally, there’s this quote from King Lear which, even if it is only meant to describe a gale, is the perfect euphemism for a fart: “Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage, blow!”

Ben Franklin: The Royal Academy of Farting

While he was living in France as the U.S. ambassador, Franklin grew tired of the rigorous demands of the stiffs inside of Europe’s academic societies. 

When the Royal Academy of Brussels put out a call for academic papers, Franklin drew up a detailed, academic description of a fart: “It is universally well known, that in digesting our common food, there is created or produced in the bowels of human creatures, a great quantity of wind. That the permitting this air to escape and mix with the atmosphere, is usually offensive to the company, from the fetid smell that accompanies it. That all well-bred people therefore, to avoid giving such offence, forcibly restrain the efforts of nature to discharge that wind.”

He went on to describe how the Royal Academy might scientifically test different foods and their effect on the stench of a toot, with the ultimate goal of developing a drug that makes farts smell “agreeable as perfumes.” He concluded that the Academy should focus exclusively on this drug, saying that any other academic study, by comparison, was “scarcely worth a FART-HING.”

He was so pleased with himself that he printed a bunch of copies and sent them around to all his buddies, making it essentially go viral in 1781.

Le Pétomane: World’s Greatest Fart Clown

The purest form of a fart joke is, naturally, slapstick. Roman Emperor Elagabalus was a big fan of whoopee cushions in the third century BC, for example. But the undisputed champion of the fart joke was 20th century French flatulist Le Pétomane, aka “The Fart-o-Maniac.”

As a kid, Le Pétomane went swimming one day and absolutely freaked out when he felt cold water shoot up into his ass when he held his breath. He soon faced his fears and recognized this as a unique gift. As a young soldier, he would boost morale by turning himself into a Super Soaker, sucking up a pan full of water and geysering it several yards out of his b-hole. 

Naturally, he figured out how to get air up in there, too. On a lark, he put together a little stage show where he’d impersonate various musical instruments and animals, blow out candles from across the stage and play a modified ocarina, all with his ass.

He was so successful, he took his show to Paris and performed for thousands, including royalty and the top academic minds of his day. He had a residency at the Moulin Rouge, which was cut short when the theater sued him over a benefit fart show he put on for a friend who had hit hard times.

He eventually got out of the fart game, and opened up a bakery in Toulon, where he spent the rest of his life cutting literal biscuits.

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