Will and Guy are convinced that humour, laughter and jokes have been
with us since the beginning of human life on earth, and we would like to
share some jokes with you that have an historical background.
Aristotle felt that laughter was a distinctive trait of humanity and
one that distinguished humans from the animals.
Harty Tarty Did you know that the eighth Duke of Devonshire, known to his friends
as "Harty Tarty", was told off by Queen Victoria for picking his nose at
dinner. A poor shot, he once killed a pheasant and his gun-dog, and wounded
two bystanders [one of whom was his chef] with a single cartridge.
Cunning Balduf Baldulf, the medieval soothsayer, prophesied to the king that his
favourite mistress would soon die. Sure enough, the woman died a short
time later. The king was outraged at the soothsayer, certain that his
prophecy had brought about the woman's death. He summoned Baldulf and
commanded him, 'Tell me when you will die!'
Baldulf realized that the king was planning to execute him
straightaway, no matter what answer he gave. 'I do not know when I will
die,' he cleverly answered finally. 'I only know that whenever I do die,
you will die two days later.'
Guy's Favourite History Funny
A bus load of tourists arrives at Runnymede*. They gather around the
Robin, the guide, who explains, 'This is the spot where the Barons forced
King John to sign the Magna Carta.'
A fellow at the front of the group asks, 'When did that happen?'
'1215,' answers Robin the guide.
The man looks at his watch and says,
'Gee, hey everybody - we just missed it by a half hour.'
*The Runneymede meadows are on the banks of the river Thames, in the
county of Berkshire, England. Fortunately, the land is now owned and
preserved by the National Trust.
Mary Pembarthy, a guide
at Windsor Castle, told Will and Guy this allegedly true story about what
she heard last month when 'on duty'.
Mary was struggling to make herself
heard over the roar of low flying aircraft coming into land at nearby London
Heathrow Airport, one of the busiest in the world.
She was interrupted by
an elderly American tourist who demanded what was wrong with the town
planners, and why had they built the Royal Castle so close to the airport.
The Ministry Of Mirth - A
You may be further amused to learn that in 1953 Australia created
Ministry of Mirth as part of their government structure. Their role was to
find humour in the changes brought about by government and present that
information to the public in an amusing and acceptable way.
We have managed to find an old photo of the Ministry of Mirth at work. Don't they look happy?
Short, True, Funny Story
from 19th Century London
Robert Devonshire, a middle aged Londoner from Hackney, was faced with
a difficult decision when choosing between two lovely ladies, Anna and
Mary, both willing to join him in matrimony.
Although not particularly a religious man, Robert Devonshire found his
way into St Martin's church and, kneeling down to pray, he asked God for
advice on whether he should have Anna or Maria for his wife.
When Mr Devonshire got up he was most pleased to see that the Almighty
had put the answer right before his eyes: 'Ave Maria.'
He left the church a delighted man.
A Witty and Funny Old Joke
from a History Lesson in the USA
In an American history discussion
group, Professor Langer was trying to explain how society's ideal of
beauty changes with time. 'For example, he said, 'take the 1921 Miss
America. She stood five-feet, one-inch tall, weighed 108 pounds and had
measurements of 30-25-32. How do you think she'd do in today's version of
The class fell silent for a moment. Then Freddie
piped up, 'Not very well.' 'Why is that?' asked Professor Langer.
'For one thing,' Freddie added, 'She'd be way too old.'
The sun never set on the British Empire
because the British Empire is in the East and the sun sets in the West.
Queen Victoria was the longest queen. She sat on a thorn for 63 years. Her
reclining years and finally the end of her life were exemplatory of a
great personality. Her death was the final event which ended her reign
During the Renaissance America began. Christopher Columbus was a great
navigator who discovered America while cursing about the Atlantic. His
ships were called the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Fe. Later the Pilgrims
crossed the Ocean, and that was called the Pilgrim's Progress. When they
landed at Plymouth Rock, they were greeted by Indians, who came down the
hill rolling their was hoops before them. The Indian squabs carried their
cabooses, which proved very fatal to them. The winter of 1620 was a hard
one for the setters. Many people died and many babies were born. Captain
John Smith was responsible for all this.
France was in a very serious state. The French Revolution was
accomplished before it happened. The Marseillaise was the theme of the
French Revolution, and it catapulted into Napoleon. During the Napoleonic
Wars, the crowned heads of Europe were trembling in their shoes. Then the
Spanish gorillas came down from the hills and nipped at Napoleon's flanks.
Napoleon became ill with bladder problems and was very tense and
unrestrained. he wanted an heir to inherit his power, but since Josephine
was a baroness, she couldn't bear him any children.
In medieval times most of the people were alliterate. The greatest
writer of the time was Chaucer, who wrote many poems and verse and also
wrote literature. Another tale of William Tell, who shot an arrow through
an apple while standing on his son's head.
In the Olympic Games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled the biscuits,
and threw the java. The reward to the visitor was a coral wreath. The
government of Athens was democratic because the people took the law into
their own hands. There were no wars in Greece, as the mountains were so
high that they couldn't climb over to see what their neighbours were doing.
When they fought the Parisians, the Greek were outnumbered because the
Persians had more men.
Michelangelo's Mother: Can't you paint on walls like other children? Do
you have any idea how hard it is to get that stuff off the ceiling?
Paul Revere's Mother: I don't care where you think you have to go,
young man, midnight is past your curfew.
Mona Lisa's Mother: After all that money your father and I spent on
braces, that's the biggest smile you can give us?
George Washington's Mother: The next time I catch you throwing money
across the Potomac, you can kiss your allowance good-bye.
Mary's Mother: I'm not upset that your lamb followed you to school, but
I would like to know how he got a better grade than you.
Columbus's Mother: I don't care what you've discovered, you still could
Napoleon's Mother: All right, if you aren't hiding your report card
inside your jacket, take your hand out of there and show me.
Thomas Edison's Mother: Of course I'm proud that you invented the
electric light bulb. Now turn it off and get to bed.
Abraham Lincoln's Mother: Again with the stovepipe hat? Can't you just
wear a baseball cap like the other kids?
Albert Einstein's Mother: But it's your senior picture. Can't you do
something about your hair? Styling gel, mousse, something...?
An extra laugh for posterity: Jonah's Mother: That's a nice story. Now
tell me where you've really been for the last forty years.
Witty 'Punch' History Cartoon
Hitler and Stalin in a Punch cartoon meeting over the prostrate body of
Poland which Germany and the USSR invaded in 1939.
Jack and Jill Went up the Hill to Fetch a Pail of Water
Jack fell down and broke his crown And Jill came tumbling after.
Up got Jack, and home did trot As fast as he could caper He went to bed
and bound his head With vinegar and brown paper.
The roots of this child's nursery rhyme is in France and the Jack and
Jill referred to are Louis XVI who was beheaded [lost his crown] followed
by his Queen Marie Antoinette [who came tumbling after]. The words and
lyrics were made more palatable for the nursery by giving it a happy
ending and has further been altered by the passage of time. The actual
beheadings occurred in 1793. The first publication date for the lyrics of
this nursery rhyme is 1795 which tie-in with the history and origins
The Knight and the King
A knight and his men return to their castle after a hard day of
'How are we faring?' asks the king. 'Sire,' replies the knight. 'I
have been robbing and pillaging on your behalf all day, burning the towns
of your enemies in the west.'
'What?' shrieks the king. 'I don't have any enemies to the west.'
'Oh,' says the knight. 'Well, you do now.'
The Romans ate lead as a cure for diarrhoea. Lead is poisonous and
thus killed off the entire Roman upper class within two centuries.
George Washington's "wooden" dentures were reputedly made from
hippopotamus ivory and were mounted on gold.
Queen Elizabeth I of England was completely bald. She lost her
hair after suffering from smallpox at the age of 29. To disguise her
loss she always wore a wig.
After failing to cure the daughter of the Emperor Yizong [860-874]
of a fever, the 20 best doctors in China were all beheaded.
William Pitt the Younger [1759-1806], former British Prime
Minister, was advised by his doctors to cure his gout by drinking a
bottle of port a day. He died from cirrhosis of the liver, aged 46.
When the grey exterior of the Presidential mansion was painted
white to cover the fire damage caused by British forces in the War of
1812, the change in colour brought about the change in name of the
building to the White House.
The designer of the Statue of Liberty, French sculptor Frederic-Auguste
Bartholdi, used his wife as the model for the body and his mother as
the model for the face.
In the nursery rhyme *Jack and Jill, Jack represented the French
King, Louis XVI and Jill, his wife, was Marie Antoinette.
In 1912 the Titanic was sailing at 22 knots when she hit the
George Washington wrote in 1774 that 'no thinking man' in America
wanted independence from England?