Pulling a fast pun: Cheetah gag wins ‘funniest joke’ at Edinburgh Fringe

A joke about a cheetah has raced into first place as Edinburgh Fringe’s “funniest joke” of 2023.

Comedian Lorna Rose Treen is this year’s recipient of the Funniest Joke at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, making her only the second woman to win in the award’s 14-year history.

Every year, the public votes on a shortlist of one-liners heard at the Scottish arts festival as selected by a panel of comedy judges.

Treen won the annual Dave’s Funniest Joke of the Fringe prize with her one-liner: “I started dating a zookeeper, but it turned out he was a cheetah.”

Treen’s gag was voted the best joke by 44 per cent of respondents.

Reacting to the news of her win, Treen described herself as “blooming chuffed” at the achievement, while calling the joke itself “stupid”.

“Are you kidding? I can’t wait to tell my mum!” the comedian said.

“It is already such a wonderful joy to be debuting at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, and this is a lovely thing on top. A huge thank you for awarding my stupid joke with this title!” she added.

Her winning joke is taken from Skin Pigeon, Treen’s first show at the Fringe, about a customer who turns up to a bar and tells the barkeepers (the audience) her life story.

Treen is also the reigning champion of the prestigious Funny Women comedy award.

The Funniest Joke prize was founded in 2008 and was first won by Zoe Lyons. Treen is the first woman to win the prize since then.

Last year, the comic Masai Graham won the award for the second time with: “I tried to steal spaghetti from the shop, but the female guard saw me and I couldn’t get Pasta.”

Graham finished in fifth place in this year’s contest.

Dave’s 10 best jokes at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2023 are as follows:

1. I started dating a zookeeper, but it turned out he was a cheetah – Lorna Rose Treen

2. The most British thing I’ve ever heard? A lady who said “Well I’m sorry, but I don’t apologise.” – Liz Guterbock

3. Last year I had a great joke about inflation. But it’s hardly worth it now – Amos Gill

4. When women gossip we get called bitchy; but when men do it’s called a podcast – Sikisa

5. I thought I’d start off with a joke about The Titanic – just to break the ice – Masai Graham

6. How do coeliac Germans greet each other? Gluten tag – Frank Lavender

7. My friend got locked in a coffee place overnight. Now he only ever goes into Starbucks, not the rivals. He’s Costa-phobic – Roger Swift

8. I entered the ‘How not to surrender’ competition and I won hands down – Bennett Arron

9. Nationwide must have looked pretty silly when they opened their first branch – William Stone

10. My grandma describes herself as being in her “twilight years” which I love because they’re great films – Daniel Foxx