14 Gleeful Jokes From Yesteryear

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14 Gleeful Jokes From Yesteryear

Sick of today’s jokes about cancel culture, and endless reels of crowdwork? Why not indulge in some top-notch comedy from dead people?

The Oldest Known Bar Joke, Written in Ancient Sumerian, Has Kind of Lost Its Luster

“A dog walks into a bar and says, ‘I cannot see a thing. I’ll open this one.’”

Journalist and Musician Miles Kington on Knowledge Versus Wisdom

“Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.”

From the Fourth-Century Greek Joke Anthology Philogelos

“A student dunce went swimming and almost drowned. So now he swears he’ll never get into water until he’s really learned to swim.”

Comedy Writer and Newspaperman Robert Benchley Had This Exchange with a Navy Admiral

Benchley: My good man, would you please get me a taxi?

Some Guy: I’m not a doorman. I happen to be a rear admiral in the United States Navy.

Benchley: All right then, get me a battleship.

Mozart Was a Cocky Jerk

Some Guy: I am thinking of writing symphonies. Can you give me any suggestions as to how to get started?

Mozart: Perhaps you should begin with some simple lieder and work your way up to a symphony.

Some Guy: But you were writing symphonies when you were 8 years old.

Mozart: Yes, but I never asked anybody how.

Muhammad Ali Had Major Beef with Joe Frazier

“Joe Frazier is so ugly he should donate his face to the U.S. Bureau of Wildlife.”

Henry Clay, Who Famously Never Became President, Squared Off with Speaker Thomas B. Reed

Clay: I would rather be right than be president.

Reed: The gentleman need not trouble himself. He’ll never be either.

Another Thinker from Philogelos

“An intellectual came to check in on a friend who was seriously ill. When the man’s wife said that he had ‘departed,’ the intellectual replied: ‘When he arrives back, will you tell him that I stopped by?’”

A Little Messed-Up, But You Might Want to Keep This Zinger from P.G. Wodehouse in Your Back Pocket

“She looked as if she had been poured into her clothes and had forgotten to say ‘when.’”

When a Drunk Guy Whipped Out His Junk and Insisted Truman Capote Sign It, Capote Said

“I don’t know if I can autograph it, but perhaps I can initial it.”

Writer Edna Ferber Had a Killer Comeback to a Sexist Comment from Playwright Noel Coward

Coward: You look almost like a man.

Ferber: So do you.

Joan Rivers on Exercise

“I don’t exercise. If God had wanted me to bend over, he would have put diamonds on the floor.”

One More Brutal Zinger from Philogelos

“A miser writes his will and names himself as the heir.”

English Radical John Wilkes Lashed Out at the Earl of Sandwich

John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich: Sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox.

Wilkes: That depends, my lord, whether I embrace your lordship’s principles or your mistress.

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