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Heard the one about my disastrous first date?

Get your laughing gear ready. It's official: men are funnier than women, according to a new study from the University of California. The problem is the tests (I won't even bother explaining the conditions) also concluded the results were 'sad for the guys'; in that men believed being funny was the way to impress the ladies.

Now let me share my earliest experience of that. A long, long time ago in a school far away, I fancied the socks off a girl and finally managed to get a 'first date', which was in a seaside shelter on our lunch break.

I, too, believed that being funny was the way to impress the opposite sex and told her my favourite joke at the time, which was one of those 'shaggy dog stories' that has an endless narrative and a pointless punchline.

In this case, the narrative concerned the contents of a letter and in the end (the joke takes about 20 long minutes) the letter blows away before the contents are revealed. It didn't work and she gave me the elbow that weekend.

Now you could argue that the joke just wasn't funny, full stop. But other blokes found it funny.

Then you could argue that other blokes find jokes about female body parts funny, too, but that doesn't mean you rattle them off in the company of women like that bloke 'Finchy' from The Office. But then you could argue that Finchy, and blokes like him with the 'while you're down there, love' wisecracks always end up with the women for the night.

But the reason for that, apparently, is that men, when competing with other men in the company of women, use humour to jockey for position. And the one seen to be funniest comes out on top. For the night. But that's all we want, isn't it?


Good Sense of Humour is now such a sought-after trait it even has its own acronym -- GSOH -- on dating sites. But how much does it count for, really? For any man on a dating site, probably in the lower scale after all the physicals are ticked off. I mean, there is an FA acronym for Fat Acceptance. But who is going to believe that?

For men, humour probably counts for nothing. Jo Brand is hilarious. Joan Rivers is hilarious. Dawn French. Jennifer Saunders -- although what about her Absolutely Fabulous co-star Joanna Lumley?

As a schoolboy I used to have depraved thoughts about her when she played Purdy in The Avengers. She wasn't funny back then, she could just kick ass. Ellen DeGeneres . . . well, she's a lesbian. But you get my point. And to make one for the ladies, well, it's like what Chris Rock said: "Women don't like men with a sense of humour, they just like it when the guy they want to f*** happens to be funny."

So should we all agree on that now? A good sense of humour is just a bonus?

I don't know. I did tell that shaggy dog story to my wife.