A new study has found what some of us have always known: the youngest sibling in the family is most often the funniest. I can’t wait to tell my older brother. It’ll be hilarious.
Some might argue (looking at my big brother again) that the older siblings have the most opportunity to be funny – they have a captive audience in their younger siblings, who were tormented endlessly as children with “funny” plays and stand-up performances. But research from YouGov confirms it’s us younger folk that come out on top.
YouGov found the oldest sibling is usually weighed down with the responsibility of achieving, looking after others, and being helpful around the house. And it’s the youngest that gets to act the clown, shirk that responsibility and make people laugh.
The UK study found there are significant differences in the personality traits of the youngest and oldest siblings in families. Most significant is the burden of responsibility, with 54% of oldest siblings saying they felt it, while only 31% of last born siblings felt the same.
Younger siblings, on the other hand, are more likely to think of themselves as funny, more easy going, and more relaxed, compared with their siblings (46% compared with 36% of older siblings).
Youngest siblings also felt more favoured by their parents, while older siblings considered themselves more successful, more organised, more self-confident and more family-oriented.
So what we can ascertain from this research is that oldest siblings will go on to have a stable home life and a successful career, but us youngest siblings won’t care because we’re so hilarious, we’ll keep ourselves in stitches all day long.
We asked some readers what they thought of the poll. Here’s what they had to say:
“There is no way my little brother is funnier than me. He’s annoying. He always has been. He’s definitely better at whingeing than me! Honestly, please don’t show him this. He’ll be unbearable.”
Sandy, 36 (oldest of two siblings, her “little” brother is 33)
“I’m quite certain that’s true in my family. I’m the youngest and I’m hilarious.”
Jai, 29 (youngest of two siblings)
“You have to take studies like this with a grain of salt. Who were they asking? And what does it matter if they ‘consider themselves’ to be funny? What if they’re not funny at all and they just think they are? That’s the most insufferable sort of person on the planet. So perhaps what this study has found is that youngest siblings are the most insufferable. Now THAT I would believe.”
Marnie, 42 (oldest of three siblings)
“Who needs to be funny when you’re successful? It’s like a consolation prize for the loser of the family. Like, ‘sorry your life sucks so hard and you’re an abject failure, but here’s a bone: we’ll patronise you by laughing at all your jokes just to make you feel better’. Ha ha ha, enjoy that, losers!”
Jess, 33 (oldest of two siblings)
“Of course we’re the funniest! While my big sister was saddled with Mum and Dad caring about her ballet lessons, French classes and manners, by the time I came along I was allowed to run amok, ride my BMX everywhere and just be home in time for dinner. My sister still acts like she’s got a stick up her butt most of the time.”
Amy, 28 (youngest of five siblings)