Jeer Joker: Английский юмор и ему сопутствующее

Sir Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill often dined with friends, dignitaries and celebrities at Chartwell, his beautiful country home in Kent. His wit on such occasions was legendary.

On one such occasion, he asked Charlie Chaplin what his next role would be.

"Jesus Christ," Chaplin explained.

Churchill's reply: "Have you cleared the rights?"

Gilbert Keith Chesterton

When the notoriously absentminded G. K. Chesterton became engaged, such was his desire to share the happy news with his mother that he went directly home and wrote her a long letter.

While Mrs. Chesteron was delighted with the missive, its delivery hardly came as a surprise: she had been in the room with him when he wrote it.

William Faulkner

While hunting one day with director Howard Hawks and William Faulkner, the acclaimed actor Clark Gable asked Faulkner to enumerate the five best authors of the day.

"Ernest Hemingway, Willa Cather, Thomas Mann, John Dos Passos," - Faulkner replied, - "and myself."

"Oh," - Gable maliciously replied, - "do you write for a living?"

"Yes," - Faulkner retorted, - "and what do you do?"

Mark Twain

One night a group of Mark Twain's friends in New York, having recognized the date as that of his birth, decided to send him a suitable greeting.

Unfortunately, the globe-trotting traveller was away and no one knew where he might be reached.

After some deliberation, a letter was simply sent off with the address: "Mark Twain, God Knows Where."

Several weeks later a letter arrived from Twain: "He did."

Mark Twain

Mark Twain was visited one day by Reverend Joseph Twitchell, who invited him to come along for a walk. Twain declined, explaining that he was pressed for time.

"Well, now, you come to hear me preach every Sunday," Twitchell persisted, "and you say you believe what I read out of the Bible is true. Now, if I could prove to you, from the Bible, that you ought to come and walk with me, would you go?"

"Yes, of course," Twain declared, "but it isn't there."

"Yes it is," Twitchell replied, "for the Bible says, 'And whoso ever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him, twain.'"

Jonathan Swift

Lady Carteret, wife of the Lord Lieutenant, said to Jonathan Swift one day, "The air of Ireland is excellent and healthy."

"For God's sake, madam," said Swift, - falling down before her, - "don't say so in England, for if you do they will tax it."

Oscar Wilde

While dying of cerebral meningitis in a Parisian hotel room, Oscar Wilde was offered a glass of champagne.

His final toast was: "I am dying as I have lived, beyond my means."

Isaac Asimov

Once my editor Horace Gold went too far. He rejected a story of mine which he called "meretricious".

The word is from the Latin "meretrix", meaning "prostitute," so that the implication was that I was prostituting my talent and was writing a bad story that would get by on my name alone because I was too lazy to write a good one. This was not true, by the way. This particular story was sold elsewhere and received considerable acclaim.

Swallowing my annoyance, I said mildly, "What was that word you used?"

Obviously proud at knowing a word he felt I didn't know, Horace enunciated carefully, "Meretricious!"
Whereupon I said, "And a Happy New Year to you."

Al Capone

The U.S. Bureau of Internal Revenue astounded Capone by demanding millions of dollars in back taxes.
"They can't collect legal taxes from illegal money," he objected.
But they could; in 1931 Capone was imprisoned for tax evasion.
Al Capone once said: "You can go a long way with a smile. You can go a lot farther with a smile and a gun."

Charles Spencer Chaplin

The playwright Charles MacArthur had been brought to Hollywood to do a screenplay, but was finding it difficult to write visual jokes.

"What's the problem?" asked Chaplin.

"How, for example, could I make a fat lady, walking down the Fifth Avenue, slip on a banana peel and still get a laugh? It's been done a million times. What's the best way to GET the laugh? Do I show first the banana peel, then the fat lady approaching, then she slips? Or do I show the fat lady first, then the banana peel, and THEN she slips?"

"Neither," said Chaplin without a moment's hesitation. "You show the fat lady approaching; then you show the banana peel; then you show the fat lady and the banana peel together; then she steps OVER the banana peel and disappears."

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