categories: Cocktail Hour
Well, now that Bill has taken the IQ level of the blog down a a few notches, I feel it is up to me to really drive us into the cellar.
For Christmas I gave my brother Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Writers and Artists Who Made the National Lampoon Insanely Great by Rick Meyerowitz.
The book is great, brilliant, and full of the high culture–crude joke variety of humor that I like to think of as the Socrates-steps-in dog-shit-school. But one thing is missing, and that’s Michael O’Donoghue’s The Churchill Wit. So after scrounging around on line for a while I found it and here it is. I’ve changed the order slightly, putting my two favorites first.
And, um, to you sensitive folk I’m sorry for the language. I hope we don’t lose subscribers….do we have subscribers?
The Churchill Wit
The celebrated American author Christopher Morley has written, “It’s all very easy to become a legend. The difficult thing is not to lose your humanity in doing it.” He goes on to conclude that “there are far too many legends as far too few men.” Statesman, politician, soldier, orator, sportsman, writer, and amateur artist, in a lifetime that spanned ninety years, Winston Spencer Churchill wore many hats besides the traditional black homburg in which he was so photographed, and yet the legend never overshadowed the man. Perhaps that is because, whether the fate of nations hung on his words or merely the fate of a dinner party, Sir Winston never lost the precious gift of humor. Just as the history books will record his deeds, we of the National Lampoon would like to recall the wit that tempered those deeds. For is not part of greatness the ability of a man to laugh, not only at himself, but, more importantly, at others?
* * *
When the noted playwright George Bernard Shaw sent him two tickets to the opening night of his new play with a note that read: “Bring a friend, if you have one,” Churchill, not to be outdone, promptly wired back: “You and your play can go fuck yourselves.”
* * *
At an elegant dinner party, Lady Astor once leaned across the table to remark, “If you were my husband, Winston, I’d poison your coffee.”
“And if you were my wife, I’d beat the shit out of you,” came Churchill’s unhesitating retort.
* * *
While serving as a subaltern in the Boer War, the young Churchill was asked by a superior officer to give his opinion of the Boers as soldiers.
“They’re assholes, sir,” he ventured, then paused briefly and added, with a whimsical smile, “They’re assholes.”
* * *
Churchill was known to drain a glass or two and, after one particularly convivial evening, he chanced to encounter Miss Bessie Braddock, a Socialist member of the House of Commons, who, upon seeing his condition, said, “Winston, you’re drunk.” Mustering all his dignity, Churchill drew himself up to his full height, cocked an eyebrow and rejoined, “Shove it up your ass, you ugly cunt.”
* * *
During the darkest days of World War II, when each night brought waves of Luftwaffe bombers raining death and destruction on a near-defenseless London, Prime Minster Churchill went on the air to address the British People. “I read in this morning’s paper that Herr Hitler plans to wring England’s neck like that of a chicken,” he began, “and I was reminded of what the Irish poacher said as he stood on the gallows. It seems the poor fellow as approached by a well-meaning if somewhat overzealous priest who, in horrific detail, described the unfading torments of Hades which awaited him if he did not repent his misdeeds. The condemned man listened patiently to all that the priest had to say, and when he was done, grinned broadly and replied, ‘Eat it raw, fuzz-nuts.'”
* * *
Shortly after Churchill had grown a moustache, he was accosted by a certain young lady whose political views were in direct opposition to his own. Fancying herself something of a wag, she exclaimed, “Mr. Churchill, I care for neither your politics nor your moustache.”
Unabashed, the young statesman regarded her quietly for a moment, then wryly commented, “Suck my dick.”
* * *
Sir Winston carried on a life-long feud with Labour party leader Aneurin Bevin and, on one occasion, while Mr. Bevin was delivering an unusually long speech to the House of Commons, Churchill slumped into his seat and appeared to doze off. When Bevan noticed this, he inquired in his loudest voice, “Must the right honorable gentleman fall asleep during my speech?” Receiving no reply, Mr. Bevan continued until, a few minutes later, the sound of snoring was distinctly audible to all present. This time Mr. Bevin slammed his hand on the rail and shouted, “Until now, the Conservative party had usually managed to conceal the fact that it was asleep.” Without even opening his eyes, Churchill quipped, “Flake off, touch-hole” and unconcernedly resumed his nap.
* * *
Churchill was given to reading to reading in the bathtub and, while staying at the White House, he became so engrossed in an account of the Battle of Fonteney that he forgot President Roosevelt was due to drop by to discuss the upcoming conference in Yalta. At the appointed hour, the president was wheeled into Churchill’s quarters only to be informed that the prime minister had not finished bathing. Roosevelt was about to apologize for the intrusion and depart when Churchill, puffing his customary cigar, strode into the room stark naked and greeted the nonplussed world leader with a terse, “What are you staring at, homo?”