Why is 'Why did the chicken cross the road' a joke?

Jokes are valued for the exciting little sense of shock, the new twist to your viewpoint, that comes with the answer. That is what makes us laugh. Or groan!

A person asks you, 'Why did the chicken cross the road?' Of course you assume it is a joke.

You try to think of a clever, complicated answer.

Then the answer is given, "To get to the other side."

Well, duh. Anyone should know that.

You have been tricked into discarding the obvious answer and pursuing complex and convoluted solutions because you assumed that was what was expected.

This joke is especially valued in our contemporary oral heritage because it teaches a lesson that applies to business, politics, and all human endeavors: "Keep it simple. Don't assume a complicated solution is needed for every problem. The obvious one may work just fine."

The joke is also a joke because it can connect with practically anything. For example, you can say a person or shop on the other side and what man is doing or what shop is selling. It could change the answer but some are just weird. In this case, the joke is re-usable and simple to change.