Victorian joke book proves that the old ones aren't best
Sunday 21 January 2007
I say, I say, I say - have you heard the one about the Victorian gags that hadn't been aired for 130 years? Well, when you hear them you'll probably understand why.
A long-neglected stash of jokes will this week be revived for the first time since their 19th-century prime. The material was gathered in two notebooks by the touring clown Thomas Lawrence to perfect and preserve his pioneering stand-up routines. This Victorian equivalent of Bob Monkhouse's joke book will by performed at the spiritual home of variety - Blackpool.
It might not be sufficiently sophisticated or bawdy to tickle the audience of today, but in their time, this material would have reduced the crowd to peals of laughter.
The books contains such gems as: "What's the difference between a rowing boat and Joan of Arc? One is made of wood and the other is Maid of Orleans."
Academic Ann Featherstone came across the volumes when she helped a friend's family research.
The two books had been passed through subsequent generations of his family, but no one was entirely sure what they were. Further research revealed that her friend's great-great-great-great grandfather was Thomas Lawrence.
The jokes will be performed by Manchester University students on Thursday at the Blackpool Grand Theatre, where Dr Featherstone will also talk on Victorian clowns
Easter egg hunt horror as mother finds dead body under deck of house
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Wreckage could be found within a week as search reaches 'very critical juncture', says minister
The new people’s republic of east Ukraine
Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
Royal Tour 2014: Is the Duchess of Cambridge the only person ever to climb into a fighter jet wearing a dress and high heels?
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave
- 1 Easter egg hunt horror as mother finds dead body under deck of house
- 2 'Natural' energy drink banned for containing erectile dysfunction drug
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
- 5 Kingdom Tower: Construction of 1km high new world’s tallest building to begin next week in Saudi Arabia
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...