During World War II, Ernest Scribbler, a British "manufacturer of jokes", creates "the funniest joke in the world" and promptly dies laughing. His mother reads the joke and dies. A Scotland Yard inspector retrieves the joke, but despite somber music to create a depressing mood, also dies laughing.
The British Army test the joke on Salisbury Plain, then translate it into a German version "over 80,000 times as powerful as Britain's great pre-war joke", a reference to Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and the Munich Agreement. The nonsensical German translation is used for the first time on 8 July 1944 in the Ardennes, causing German soldiers to fall dead from laughter:
|Wenn ist das Nunstruck git und Slotermeyer? Ja! Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput!”|