They tend to provoke a loud communal groan around the Christmas dinner table.
So trying to pick the funniest cracker jokes would seem a thankless task. But TV channel Gold has tried, helped by quips taking advantage of topical subjects such as lockdown and the pandemic.
There are also references to Donald Trump, Prince Andrew and footballer Marcus Rashford among the top 20 jokes. The winning gag is one of two that target Boris Johnson‘s former chief adviser Dominic Cummings – who broke lockdown rules in the spring to travel to his parents’ farm in Durham – joking that his favourite festive song is Driving Home For Christmas.
The runner-up is: ‘Did you hear that production was down at Santa’s workshop? Many of his workers have had to elf isolate!’
The winning gag is one of two that target Boris Johnson’s former chief adviser Dominic Cummings (pictured)
Other entries make reference to video conferencing service Zoom, the Government’s Eat Out To Help Out campaign and the R rate at which Covid-19 is spreading.
Manchester United and England star Rashford appears courtesy of his free school meals campaign, which inspired the quip: ‘Who dresses in red and gives to the children this Christmas? Marcus Rashford.’
Gold asked viewers to tweet their entries, from which comedy critic Bruce Dessau drew up a shortlist that was then put to a public vote. The author of the winning entry won £1,500 towards a holiday and a box of Christmas crackers containing his joke.
Why can’t Boris Johnson make his Christmas cake until the last minute? He doesn’t know how many tiers it should have
What do the Trumps do for Christmas dinner? They put on a super spread
Dessau said: ‘Among one of the strangest and most turbulent years yet, we can always rely on British humour to pull us through.
‘With subjects ranging from Zoom and self-isolation to Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings, there are jokes here to tickle everyone after a challenging year.’
The competition is in its eighth year. Last year’s winner was at the expense of the outgoing US President: ‘Why does Donald Trump have his Christmas dinner on a plastic plate? He doesn’t get on with China.’
BEST JOKES OF 2020: PROOF YEAR HAS BEEN NO LAUGHING MATTER?
1. What is Dominic Cummings’ favourite Christmas song? Driving Home for Christmas.
2. Did you hear that production was down at Santa’s workshop? Many of his workers have had to elf isolate.
3. Why didn’t Mary and Joseph make it to Bethlehem? All Virgin flights were cancelled.
4. Why are Santa’s reindeer allowed to travel on Christmas Eve? They have herd immunity.
5. Why did the pirates have to go into lockdown? Because the ‘Arrrr!’ rate had risen.
6. Why is it best to think of 2020 like a panto? Because eventually, it’s behind you.
7. Why couldn’t Mary and Joseph join their work conference call? Because there was no Zoom at the inn.
8. Why can’t Boris Johnson make his Christmas cake until the last minute? He doesn’t know how many tiers it should have.
9. What do the Trumps do for Christmas dinner? They put on a super spread.
10. Which Christmas film was 30 years ahead of its time? Home Alone.
11. How do you play Dominic Cummings Monopoly? Ignore the rules, move anywhere on the board you like, and never Go To Jail.
12. Why won’t Santa lose any presents this year? He’s downloaded Sack and Trace.
13. How is the pandemic like my stomach after Christmas? It’ll take ages to flatten the curve.
14. How is Prince Andrew coping with the stresses of Christmas this year? Fine. No sweat.
15. Why wasn’t Rudolph allowed to take part in vaccine trials? Because they only wanted guinea pigs.
16. Which Government scheme supports Christmas dinner? Eat Sprout To Help Out.
17. How can you get out of talking to your boss at this year’s staff Christmas party? Put him on mute.
18. How does Santa keep track of all the fireplaces he’s visited? He keeps a logbook.
19. Who dresses in red and gives to the children this Christmas? Marcus Rashford.
20. Why did Mary and Joseph have to travel to Bethlehem? Because they couldn’t book a home delivery.