The old ones are the best ones! Joke voted best at Edinburgh Fringe is actually eight years old

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
Adam Rowe’s prize-winning gag is actually several years old (PA)

This year’s top joke at the Edinburgh Fringe may have got everyone laughing – but it’s not as fresh as you might expect.

Adam Rowe won the 11th annual award for Dave’s Funniest Joke Of The Fringe with the line: ‘Working at the Jobcentre has to be a tense job – knowing that if you get fired, you still have to come in the next day.’

The joke from former bartender Rowe’s show Undeniable won with 41% of a public vote on a shortlist of gags picked by comedy critics.

The comedian’s joke about Jobcentres was voted the best at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe (Rex)

However, it appears the joke is at least eight years old, with the line being used on Twitter as far back as 2010.

Rowe himself commented on the age of the joke, and screen grabbed his first use of it from Facebook in 2013.


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He wrote: ‘Had a few replies saying similar jokes have been done a couple of years ago on Twitter.

Here’s my original post from 5 years ago.’

However, eagle-eyed tweeters pointed to the same joke being told three years earlier than that:

Rowe said of the same joke being used by others: ‘It’s not uncommon that ideas and jokes develop in parallel… clearly others have come up with something similar independently.’

Following his Fringe win, Rowe explained how he came up with the punchline, saying: ‘I actually wrote it when I was on stage when I was hosting a gig in Liverpool.

‘It was a bit of crowd work that stayed with me. I was doing the usual compering thing, asking people what they do for a living.

‘A guy said he worked in the Jobcentre and I said the joke that has now won the award.

‘Because it got such a nice reaction on the night I thought I had to do something with it as a line.’

The award, which was voted on by 2,000 people, lists jokes anonymously to avoid any bias towards well-known comedians.