Victorian humor was based on wordplay and slapstick. Here are a few examples of what made people giggle in 1848.
Why is a dog like a tree? Because they both lose their bark once they're dead.
"See here, wait, I've found a button in my salad." "That's all right, sir, it's part of the dressing"
Marriage is an institution intended to keep women out of mischief and get them into trouble.
Why are circus horses the slowest breed? Because they are taught horses.
Who is the greatest chicken-killer in Shakespeare? Macbeth, because he did murder most foul.
If William Penn's aunts kept a pastry shop, what would be the prices of their pies? The pie-rates of Penn's Aunts.
Why should the number 288 never be mentioned in company? Because it is two gross.
"There's a man at Camberwell so fat that they grease the omnibus-wheels with his shadow."
HE: "I am a millionaire. Haven't I got money enough for both of us?'" SHE: "Yes, if you are moderate in your tastes."
Doesn't it make you dizzy to waltz? Yes, but one must get used to it, you know. It's the way of the whirled.
WIFE: "You loved me before we were married!" HUSBAND: "Well, now it's your turn!"
Pawnbrokers prefer customers without any redeeming qualities.
Moving in unfashionable circles: wearing a crinoline.
Why is a manuscript always called a MS.? Because that is the state in which the editor finds it.
If all the seas were dried up, what would Neptune say? I really haven't got a notion.
A lady wrote the following letters at the bottom of her flour barrel: O I C U R M T.
Why is the devil riding a mouse like one and the same thing? Because it is synonymous.
"I have the best wife in the world," said the long-suffering husband. "She always strikes me with the soft end of the broom."
SERVANT: "Ma'am, your husband has eloped with the cook!" WIFE: "Good! Now I can have the maid to myself, once in a while."
This, however is my all-time favourite Victorian joke:
What is the difference between a tube and a foolish Dutchman? One is a hollow cylinder and the other a silly Hollander.