Just another joke about cheating husbands? Wait for the punchline.

I enjoy telling the full range of traditional stories, and that includes jokes like this one. The challenge involves stripping the narrative to the essentials, structuring, and timing.

The joke is included as “Father and Mother both Fast” in Angela Carter’s wonderful collection of feminist stories, The Second Virago Book of Fairy Tales. (She cites Richard Dorson’s Buying the Wind; Regional Folklore in the United States as her source.)

Max Miller

But I first heard this told over 50 years ago by an old friend, Ken Pollock. Ken grew up steeped in the legacy of the great English comedian, Max Miller. This audio recording of the “cheeky chappie” includes the joke at 06:27.

Max Miller, though famous (indeed notorious) for his risqué, adult jokes, neither swore nor actually said anything “smutty” on stage. His humour relied on innuendo and double entendre – and above all his complicit rapport with the audience.

Homepage of the Max Miller Appreciation Society.

More tales like this one

The video gallery has become very extensive. So if you would enjoy more tales like this, here are a few suggestions:

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The video clips here are all amateur quality, shot in various theatres or, as here, in my home studio.

Their intention is just to show the range of my storytelling and give a flavour of a live performance.

Permission is granted for use in non-commercial educational contexts.

The videos are © Richard Martin.

Professionally recorded CDs and DVDs are available here.

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Permission to tell outlines my views on copyright

For those who are teachers: Telling stories in the classroom: basing language teaching on storytelling