A new study from Oxbridge University has shown that when it comes to comedy, it can never be too soon.
The study, which was conducted in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, examined the reactions of 150 parents when told a joke about their newborn's life-threatening condition. It was found that 72% of the time the parents smiled, 'looked on the bright side', or even laughed.
The Oxbridge boffins then aimed to nail down the fastest possible 'tragedy to joke' turnaround and uncovered a startling forty second delay between miscarriage and one-liner (delivered by staff nurse, Claire Bellamy). The mother was said to be pleased to have the ice-breaker in what had been a long and tiring day.
The link between humour and tragedy has long been suspected and the aim of the study was to find whether some subjects were off limits to humourists. Later this week they are expecting to print a wallet-sized guidebook with some tips such as: 'When to bring up that affair?' and 'Wakes are a tough crowd - ten tips to lighten the mood'.
This report comes in the wake of an exclusive in Somerset on the weekend where our entertainment reporter writes that the new "'M5 Fringe Festival' is going down a storm with fire crew and rescue workers chuckling along with the large crowd that have gathered in the comedy tent".