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Image: A performer playing the role of Britain's Queen Elizabeth parachutes from a helicopter during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Fabrizio Bensch  /  Reuters
A performer playing the role of Britain's Queen Elizabeth parachutes from a helicopter during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games July 27.
By
NBC News
updated 8/11/2012 6:42:40 AM ET 2012-08-11T10:42:40

Queen Elizabeth jumping out a helicopter; the Mongol Empire topping the medal table; tens of thousands of people singing and dancing to "YMCA" by the Village People; and sneaky British cyclists using "specially round wheels."

The London Olympics began with an opening ceremony noted for its humor with actor Rowan Atkinson, aka Mr. Bean, among the stars, but there have been a few notably funny moments and string of jokes, good and bad, ever since.

The Queen later told London Mayor Boris Johnson that her opening ceremony stunt — in which she appeared to parachute into the main stadium with James Bond, played by Daniel Craig — had been "a bit of a laugh."

Video: Meet Queen Elizabeth's skydiving stunt double (on this page)

Johnson, known to play up his buffoonish side for comic effect, was then caught on film as he slid mostly backward down a zip wire — dressed incongruously in a gray suit — while waving two British flags. Then he got stuck about halfway along.

"Get me a rope, get me a ladder," he was heard shouting to the amusement of people on the ground.

Image: London Mayor Boris Johnson dangles in the air after getting stranded on a zip wire during an Olympics party at Victoria Park
Rebecca Denton  /  Reuters
London Mayor Boris Johnson waves two British flags after his slide down a zip wire ended short, stranding him about halfway along. "Get me a rope," he pleaded.
Video: London mayor left hanging on zip line (on this page)

Another leading Conservative politician, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, also caused laughter when he took part in a bell-ringing event across London to mark the start of the Games. He rang his bell so "enthusiastically" that the ringer snapped and flew off, ITV News reported.

It narrowly missed a group of people and a clearly flustered Hunt said, "My goodness me, are you alright? That was a terrible moment. Health and safety. Are you OK? Disaster averted."

Napoleon triumphs over Romans
Britain and France have a rivalry going back centuries and the U.K.'s recent success at cycling — Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France in July and then helped Team GB win eight cycling golds to France's none at the Games — sparked a few jabs.

Amid suggestions in French newspapers that the British were somehow cheating, British Cycling's director Dave Brailsford quipped that they had been using "specially round wheels."

Image: British cyclist Bradley Wiggins celebrates winning gold in the 44km Men's Individual Time Trial 
Ian Langsdon  /  EPA
British cyclist Bradley Wiggins was said to have won gold in the 44km Men's Individual Time Trial with a little help from some "specially round wheels."

U.S. talk show hosts have also being weighing in on the subject of the Games.

"Some people are saying that the reason Michael Phelps isn't doing so well is because he let himself get too out of shape. I just have to say that I have been watching the Olympics, and if that guy is out of shape, I have been dead for five years," Conan O'Brien said.

Day at Olympics well worth $1,000 for family of four, NJ fans say

Stephen Colbert explained China's presence at the top of the medal table. "Naturally the U.S. trails in gold medals because every time we win one, we hand it over to the Chinese to pay off our debt," he said.

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Some of the humor has been particularly inventive with one historically minded Olympics fan, Jason Chown, creating "Ye Oldelymics Medal Table"  showing how empires throughout history would have fared if they still existed today.

He said he was a "reasonably avid war-gamer" and the idea dawned on him while watching the flags being raised at medal ceremonies.

The Mongol Empire from the year 1280 topped the table with 79 gold medals, thanks mainly to China's strong performance at the London Games, with the 1910 British Empire second, followed closely by Napoleonic France of 1810. The Roman, Spanish and Austro-Hungarian empires also featured on the table.

Slideshow: Olympics Opening Ceremony (on this page)

Chown, who works for an analytics company in Liverpool, England, said he'd faced some tricky decisions. "I've had a few people saying 'What about America, couldn't you put them in [to the British Empire's score]?" he told NBCNews.com, adding that he had stuck to his guns. "The 13 colonies were long gone by 1910."

Tweeters pile on
The crowds have also being getting in on the act. The party atmosphere in the 80,000-seater main stadium combined with loud music and an hour-long break between events Thursday saw large numbers of people taking to their feet to perform the actions to the Village People song "YMCA."

"Things I didn't expect at #Olympics: 80,000 people of all nations dancing (with actions) to YMCA," wrote one Twitter user, Ewan Phillips.

Read more from NBC News about the Olympics

Other Twitter humorists couldn't resist the chance to have their say.

"Everyone in my timeline very jolly about canoeing and shooting. Sort of the opposite of [the film] Deliverance," comedy writer Simon Blackwell tweeted.

U.S. satirist Lizz Winstead quipped that "I am sorry, Dressage is like watching a lost horse that won't stop and ask for directions."

AndTony Cowards, who describes himself on Twitter as a "The Pun-osaurus," offered up: "Respect to China's Yi Siling winning Gold in the 10-metre Air Rifle event, I don't think I could even pick up a 10-metre air rifle."

But for one Twitter user, Ted Rock, of Glasgow, it was all getting a bit much.

"I for one am getting sick of the constant stream of Olympics-themed jokes," he wrote. "How does everybody else feel about this? Discus."

© 2013 NBCNews.com  Reprints

Video: London mayor left hanging on zip line

Photos: Emotional Moments: Opening Ceremony

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  1. Fireworks light up the night over the Olympic Stadium and the Aquatics Arena during the Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Park on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Mike Hewitt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Steve Redgrave, right, holds up the Olympic torch after entering the stadium during the Opening Ceremony. (Cameron Spencer / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Spectators are illuminated during the Opening Ceremony. (Cameron Spencer / Pool via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Sir Paul McCartney performs during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics. (Mark Humphrey / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, left, officially opens the London Games during the Opening Ceremony. (John Stillwell / Pool via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Fireworks burst above the Olympic Stadium during the Opening Ceremony. (Michael Regan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Jamaica's flagbearer Usain Bolt leads his country's delegation during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. (Ben Stansall / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Boxing legend Muhammad Ali, seated, takes part in the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium. (Mike Segar / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Members of Iran's delegation parade during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. (Olivier Morin / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. The Olympic cauldron is lit during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics. (Mark Baker / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Professional basketball player LeBron James takes pictures with members of Team USA during the Opening Ceremony. (Matt Slocum / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. U.S. Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, left, and his wife Ann applaud as the USA team enters the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics. (Jae C. Hong / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Members of Team USA celebrate as they walk in Opening Ceremony. (Frank Gunn / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. The speedboat, bottom left, carrying the Olympic flame, heads to Tower Bridge during the Opening Ceremony. (Vadim Ghirda / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Members of Spain's delegation take part in the athlete's parade in the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. (Mike Segar / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Danny Boyle, the director of the Opening Ceremony for the 2012 Olympic Games, watches his work unfold. (Toby Melville / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. A performer takes part in the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. (Phil Noble / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, applaud during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. (Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Performers take part in the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. (Adrees Latif / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Performers flying with jet packs take part in the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. (Dylan Martinez / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Performers during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. (Ian Langsdon / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Members of Spain's delegation take part in the athlete's parade during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. (Suzanne Plunkett / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Britain's flag bearer Chris Hoy leads the contingent in the athletes parade during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. (Dylan Martinez / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Performers dance in a scene in tribute of The Great Ormond Street Hospital for sick children and the NHS during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. (Lars Baron / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Performers take part in the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. (David Gray / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Spectators attend the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics. (David Goldman / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Journalists, with their computer terminals covered to protect them from the rain, watch the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. (Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Performers illustrate fairy tales during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. (Andy Rain / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. Members of the Australia team parade into the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. (Lars Baron / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. Performers dance in a scene depicting the struggle between life and death during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. (Michael Regan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. Spectators wave their national flags at Trafalgar Square in downtown London to watch a clock countdown before the Opening Ceremony the 2012 Summer Olympics. (Sergey Ponomarev / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. Actors perform during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics. (David J. Phillip / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. Artists perform as a chimney emerges from the ground to symbolize the industrial revolution. (Odd Andersen / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. Performers take part in the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. (Suzanne Plunkett / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  35. Actors lying on beds meant to represent Britain's National Health Service (NHS) perform during the Opening Ceremony. (Jae C. Hong / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  36. Performers take part in the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, with the large figure representing Lord Voldemort from the Harry Potter books. (Dylan Martinez / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  37. British actor Rowan Atkinson, in his role as Mr. Bean, takes pictures with his phone during a musical number in the Opening Ceremony. (Cameron Spencer / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  38. David Beckham passes under Tower Bridge driving a speedboat named 'Max Power' which carries the Olympic Torch with its torchbearer. (Matthew Lloyd / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  39. Performers take part in the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. (Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  40. Actors perform in a sequence meant to represent Britain's National Health Service (NHS) perform during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics. (Jae C. Hong / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  41. A general view of a preshow at the Olympic Stadium before the opening ceremony. (Pawel Kopczynski / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  42. A drummer performs during the opening ceremony. (Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  43. Performers dressed as the character Mary Poppins descend to the ground during the opening ceremony. (Mike Blake / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  44. The Red Arrows, the Royal Air Force aerobatic team, fly over Olympic Park during the Opening Ceremony. (Hannah Johnston / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  45. Actors stand under the rain during a British meadow scene prior to the opening ceremony. (Leon Neal / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  46. Spectators shelter from the rain with newspapers ahead of the Opening Ceremony. (Matt Dunham / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  47. Singh Sodhi, left, Vijay Kumar Malhotra and Krishna Malhotra wear 3D-glasses before the Opening Ceremony. (Christian Charisius / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  48. Britain's Prince Charles, left, and his wife Camila, Duchess of Cornwall, arrive for the Opening Ceremony. (Jae C. Hong / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  49. Performers stand during a scene showing a pre-industrial rural England at the pre-show of the Opening Ceremony. (Mike Blake / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  50. Rings representing both the Olympics and the Industrial Revolution are lit during the Opening Ceremony. (Quinn Rooney / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Image: Olympics - Opening Day
    Mike Hewitt / Getty Images
    Above: Slideshow (50) Olympics Opening Ceremony
  2. Image: Lighting Ceremony of the Olympic Flame
    Orestis Panagiotou / EPA
    Slideshow (50) Olympic torch carries the flame to London 2012 - Torch relay
  3. Image:
    LOCOG via AP
    Slideshow (31) Olympic torch carries the flame to London 2012 - Venues
  4. Image: security check
    Michael Kappeler / EPA
    Slideshow (15) Olympic torch carries the flame to London 2012 - Security
  5. Image: London 2012 - Famous Landmarks Of Iconic London
    Oli Scarff / Getty Images
    Slideshow (36) Olympic torch carries the flame to London 2012 - City sights

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