Monday, May 28, 2007

The world's simplest 'bar joke'

A man walks into a bar...... and falls down unconscious.

Well, it was an iron bar.

I wonder how well that one reads. It probably depends too much on the delivery. It is a classic piece of deadpan surrealism from the great British vaudevillian, Tommy Cooper - a glum, husky-voiced giant of a man who always wore a crumpled dinner jacket and a red fez, and who did a shambling - mostly disastrous - conjuring act (although he could make it work any time he chose; he was actually a very capable magician as well as a comedian).

He was also quite a notorious drinker, so I suppose I could enrol him as one of my 'unsuitable role models' - although I idolise him not for being fond of the sauce (which did become a terrible problem in his career and his private life), but for his glorious comic timing and for his relentlessly worldweary demeanour.

However, my main reason for tossing in this mention of the great TC - and that joke - today is to remind readers of my ongoing quest to collect favourite jokes of yesterday here. Please go and contribute something.

Actually, the following is my favourite ever line of his; probably in fact the most perfect joke I have ever seen/heard...... but I solicit other nominations from my readers.

Tommy was fumbling about with the props on his conjuror's table. He suddenly produced an electric light bulb from one of the pockets of his suit and set it down in the panier of an antique pair of balance-scales on the table. "Light bulb," he announced matter-of-factly.

Then he fished another one out of his pocket, and put it in the other panier of the scales - which immediately descended, as its companion rose into the air. "Heavy bulb."

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