Book – In Praise of Humour: an Anthology of Enjoyment. Edited by Neville Hilditch.

This book is full of delightful cartoons, funny writing and writing on humour. Following the foreword is a quote that sets the tone:

A WARNING – There is no more dangerous literary sympton than a temptation to write a book about wit and humour. It indicates the total loss of both. BERNARD SHAW

In a section written by E.V.Knox, the editor of “Punch” in 1958, when this book was published, the author writes about sense of humour and how some people miss the point of a joke completely. An example being a picture of two hippotomi in a swamp with one turning to the other and saying “I keep thinking its Tuesday”The story surrounding this picture goes as follows..

‘One day, when I thought the storm had blown over, i heard a loud puffing on the stairs, and a very large, redfaced man, with eyes bulging from his head, came into my room. He made a few remarks about the weather, and then said:

“There was one thing that I particularly wished to see you about. You had a picture about two hippopotamuses.”

“Hippopotami,” I said nervously to gain time.

“What is the point of it all?”

I shifted in my chair. I took up a ruler and put it down. I gazed at the windows, the walls.

“Well, you see,”I said, “It’s like this. Here are these two animals out there in an African swamp far away from civilization, wallowing, if you understand what I mean  —”

“Precisely.”

“And one says to the other as I might say to you, or you to me here in London – here in this room, ‘I keep thinking it’s Tuesday’ — the sort of thing one does say at times, and —-”

” I see. But why hippopotamuses?”

“Oh well. I don’t know. But –”

“And why Tuesday?”

“I can’t tell you” I said desperately. I think they must have got into the paper by accident”

“Ah! he said with great satisfaction, “I thought so. That’s all I wanted to know.” And he went, puffing, away.

 

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