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.)
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.
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:
- Bishop Daley’s Sermon
One of the greatest jokes: how a little priest achieved his life’s ambition
- The Umbrella and the Ten Commandments
A tale of what thou shalt not do
- Abu Hasan
An earthy tale from One Thousand and One Nights
- First Smile
An old tale which shows who smiles more, men or women
- Spelling Broccoli
A joke with one of the greatest punchlines
- Blood-Covered Vampire
A new recording of an ever-popular tale, and not just for Hallowe’en
- The Cobbler in the Convent
A man who did exactly what he was told – an irreverent and bawdy tale from Greece
- Parrot’s Prayer
A favourite tale for adults, showing the power of prayer
- The Wife’s Letter
A tale from Surinam which shows the power of the written word
- Worm in the Whisky
One of the many great tales about Scotland’s national drink
- The Tailor and his Wife
Not enough money in your pocket? This bawdy Scottish tale has one answer
- Travelling Man and the Bed
A tale of temptation
- Missing a Moral
A great encore for an adult audience
- The Box under the Bed
Ever thought of the difference between a joke and a story?
- The Widow of Ephesus
From ancient Rome, one of the great satires on marital fidelity
- Pig with the Wooden Leg
A tale which explains why I am the cold-hearted man I have become
- Greatest Pickpocket
A great tale – and one of the best punchlines
- Nasruddin looking for a Wife
Many men wish to find the perfect wife, but Nasruddin found there was always a problem
- Why Cats live with Women
An African tale: the title says it all
- Cow, the Pig and the Politician
In Nov. 2016, with politics in the air, I chose this story as an encore for a recent performance
- Boys and God
A tale all parents will understand
Showing why every man needs a good tailor
- King’s Three Delicate Wives
An Indian folk tale showing the dangers of when a man has foolish ideas of what a woman should be
- Nasruddin’s Daughter
A tale which shows the dangers of having only one story to tell
- Nasruddin’s Cat
Another wonderful Hodja story
- Reason to Beat your Wife
A tale in which one person really does know the secret of how to have a happy marriage
View video gallery for all the tales to watch
View all tales for a complete alphabetical list of tales (audio, text and video format)
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.
Go here for tales to watch
Go here for a list of all tales included on this site
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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