Men make more gags than women and their jokes tend to be more aggressive, Professor Sam Shuster, of Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, says.
The unicycling doctor observed how the genders reacted to his "amusing" hobby.
Women tended to make encouraging, praising comments, while men jeered. The most aggressive were young men, he told the British Medical Journal.
Professor Shuster believes humour develops from aggression caused by male hormones.
He documented the reaction of over 400 individuals to his unicycling antics through the streets of Newcastle upon Tyne.
Almost half of people responded verbally - more being men. Very few of the women made comic or snide remarks, while 75% of the men attempted comedy - mostly shouting out "Lost your wheel?", for example.
Mocking and sneering
Often the men's comments were mocking and intended as a put-down. Young men in cars were particularly aggressive - they lowered their windows and shouted abusively.
This type of behaviour decreased among older men however, who tended to offer more admiring comments, much like the women.
"The idea that unicycling is intrinsically funny does not explain the findings," said Professor Shuster.
The simplest explanation, he says, is the effect of male hormones such as testosterone.
And initial aggressive intent seems to become channelled into a more subtle and sophisticated joke, so the aggression is hidden by wit, claims Professor Shuster.
Dr Nick Neave is a psychologist at the University of Northumbria who has been studying the physical, behavioural, and psychological effects of testosterone.
He suggested men might respond aggressively because they see the other unicycling man as a threat, attracting female attention away from themselves.
"This would be particularly challenging for young males entering the breeding market and thus it does not surprise me that their responses were the more threatening."
Whatever they are paying this guy it's not enough. The learned professor is at the forefront of critical research and can't afford a car. It's scandalous!
Actually I think it might be more than a wheel that Professor Shuster has lost.