Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

March Books 36) Pass the Port

36) Pass the Port: The Best After-Dinner Stories of the Famous

A collection of humorous anecdotes in aid of Oxfam assembled in the mid-1970s, and very much of its time (21 index entries for "Irish stories" but only 8 for "Jewish stories"). The "famous" assembled here are a peculiar bunch and say something very odd about who Oxfam thought would appeal to the connoisseur of after-dinner humour (also, this being a later edition, a number of the original contributors had died). Here, for instance, are the entries for a couple of random pages:
  • The Late Lord Inman, P.C., J.P., President of Charing Cross Hospital; Liveryman of London; Author; Former Cabinet Minister and Chairman of the B.B.C.
  • Fergus Munro Innes, C.I.E., C.B.E, Chairman, India General Navigation and Railway Company, 1973-78.
  • The Late Air Chief Marshal Sir Ronald Ivelaw-Chapman, G.C.B., K.B.E., D.F.C., A.F.C., Vice-Chief of the Air Staff, 1953-57 (Prisoner of War, 1944-45).
I'm relieved to report that one or two of the jokes were actually funny. Here's one I rather liked, though I think the delivery could be sharpened up a bit, though possibly Keith S. Showering (Chairman and Chief Executive, Allied Breweries Ltd.) was able to make it sing:
There were two Belgians and two Dutchmen who used to travel to work together on the same train.

After a while it became apparent to the two Dutchmen that the two Belgians had only one ticket between them, and on enquiring how they managed to achieve this, they explained that when the conductor was hear approaching from the other end of the carriage, the two of them left their seats, went into the toilet, and locked the door. When the conductor knocked on the door of the toilet saying, "Tickets please", they pushed one ticket under the door, which was duly stamped and pushed back under the door again.

The Dutchmen thought this was a very good idea and the following morning bought one ticket between them, only to find that in their usual carriage there was only one Belgian. They told him what they had done and also told the Belgian that they presumed he must have a ticket as he was travelling on his own.

He said, he did not have a ticket at all and in answer to their enquiry as to how he proposed to manage to travel free of charge, he told them they would have to wait and see until the conductor arrived, but he had no doubt that he would manage it without difficulty.

As soon as the conductor was heard approaching the two Ducthmen immediately went to the toilet and locked the door.

A few moments later the Belgian followed them down the corridor and knocked smartly on the toilet door saying, "Tickets please".

One Dutch ticket appeared under the door.
Sure, it plays to national stereotypes, and it would be difficult to get away with a joke about two men going into a public lavatory these days; but I travel enough on Belgian trains that it struck a chord.
Tags: bookblog 2008, jokes
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