• Americans can be incredibly ignorant about other countries. When he was a young man, comedian Lewis Black traveled throughout Europe, and unfortunately in France he was able to speak very little French. He asked about the location of a bathroom, but the French proprietor of the very inexpensive lodgings simply pointed to an odd contraption that looked like a toilet without a seat but with running water. Mr. Black crapped in the contraption, and he learned that it is a bad idea to crap in a bidet because you have to clean the crap up. Of course, people from other countries can also be ignorant about the United States. Mr. Black’s grandfather emigrated to the U.S., where he once got in trouble because he had not paid his taxes. When the tax people informed him, “You have to pay taxes every year,” he replied, “Really? I didn’t know.”
• Life on the road can be hard for a stand-up comedian. For a while, Margaret Cho was so busy that she often woke up not knowing in which city she was performing. Whenever that happened, she would look for a telephone book to find out where she was. While sleeping in her own home, she occasionally had a nightmare about missing a flight. She would wake up, quickly get dressed and pack a bag, then realize that this was a rare day off and she didn’t have to travel anywhere.
• Comedian Rita Rudner once rented a house in the Kensington area of London, England. On her first morning in the house, she went to her terrace and looked out over the neighborhood, where she saw a group of horses sunning themselves. This sounds normal — but the horses were on the top-story balcony of a high-rise. No, this was not a drug-induced hallucination. The horses belonged to the Queen, and she kept them in this horses-only apartment building.
• In 1939, the Three Stooges were invited to perform in London at the Palladium. They did not pay for first-class passage on the ship that took them to England, but the captain of the ship was a fan, so he upgraded them to first class at no cost to them. Moe Howard, the leader of the Stooges, remembers with amusement a newspaper headline that he saw when they arrived: “STOOGES ARRIVE IN LONDON — QUEEN LEAVES FOR AMERICA.”
• Humorist Frank Sullivan used to dream about sailing overseas, but unfortunately, he never did because he suffered from seasickness. He told a friend, “I doubt that I’ll ever be cured, but I’ll still hoping eventually to go abroad. Every day I’m stepping over larger puddles.”
• Jack E. Leonard, a much-overweight comedian, once squeezed into a taxicab and ordered the driver, “Take me to a larger cab.”
• Wikipedia is completely written by its users — volunteers all. Of course, as you may expect, some users try to post incorrect information. Often, this is funny misinformation. For example, in late October 2006, this information appeared in the entry for Essex High School: “At EHS students are free to do whatever they wish in their time after school. This policy has led to the creation of the Zombie Killing Squad, the Pro-Zombie Acceptance Committee, the Zombie Hate Club and the Debate Team.” Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately), this misinformation was quickly noticed and quickly deleted.
• Back in the Vietnam War era, comedian Jackie Mason made fun of reports that we were winning the war. For example, to make fun of reports that we were bombing 500 bridges a week in Vietnam, he would say that he had recently returned from Vietnam, and there weren’t but eight bridges in the whole country. Does that mean that we should disbelieve military reports? Not necessarily. Mr. Mason said that apparently the military first airdropped the bridges in Vietnam and then destroyed them.
• David Letterman is known for his wit. As a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, he once talked a fellow fraternity member into shaving his head and painting it blue. Mr. Letterman then pointed out the fraternity member to other people and said that he was the world’s biggest ballpoint pen. And as a weather broadcaster in Indiana (early in his career), he once announced the temperatures of two cities — “Muncie, 42; Anderson, 44” — then said, “Always a close game.”
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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