BTW, that's Spike above in a sketch about the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee. He's playing Sir Mervyn King. John Bluthal (to Spike's left) is playing Alistair Darling, and David Lodge (to Spike's right, and a star of the famous British war film Cockleshell Heroes), is playing Gordon Brown.
So let's test the theory outlined above. Below I've pasted Spike's funniest ever joke. It contains all of the elements needed in a top quality joke, including anxiety, superiority, and surprise. But is it funnier than the situation behind the headline above; Mortgage costs rise despite Bank rate cut. I'll let you decide. Here we go:
Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn't seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy whips out his phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps, "My friend is dead! What can I do?". The operator says "Calm down. I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead." There is a silence, then a shot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says "OK, now what?"It's close. But then, there is a lot of it about. Pip pip!!
UPDATE: If you look to the extreme right of the photograph (to John Bluthal's left), you may also spot Sir Mervyn King himself, in a cameo role. He is of course, playing a feckless idiot.