Doing the normal internet procrastination rabbit hole thing, I came across an old article on ancient jokes. Apparently this is the oldest known joke (Sumerian, 1900 BC – 1600 BC):
Something which has never occurred since time immemorial: a young woman did not fart in her husband's lapHowever, the one that caught my eye was from the Philogelos (oldest known joke book) 4th/5th century AD:
Wishing to teach his donkey not to eat, a pedant did not offer him any food. When the donkey died of hunger, he said "I've had a great loss. Just when he had learned not to eat, he died."I think this is a pretty wicked little one-liner. The black humor and brevity even feels pretty modern. In fact, it instantly reminded me of one of my favorite jokes from one-liner king Mitch Hedberg (1968-2005).
I bought myself a parrot, but it did not say "I'm hungry", and so it died.