Thanks to the recent movie The King's Speech, King George VI is now best known as the king who stuttered. But apparently he also occasionally told jokes. Several of them are reproduced below. They're not bad, for a royal. [Milwaukee Journal — Apr 25, 1937]
[In response to a speaker who was praising him in extravagant terms]. "I am reminded," he said, "of the woman who went to her husband's funeral service. The couple had never got on well together, but the minister devoted his long sermon to a panegyric of the husband's virtues. So glowing a picture did he paint that the widow completely failed to recognize her late husband. 'Milly,' she nudged her friend and whispered loudly, 'is there another corpse about?'"
There was a petrol dump where men sent a canary down into the empty tank to see if the atmosphere was safe for them to go down and clean it out. One day the foreman saw a man walking about in the bottom of the tank before the canary had been let down. "Hey, what are you doing there?" he yelled. In all seriousness the man below shouted back: "I'm just seeing if it's all right for me blinkin' canary."
This joke was found in a manuscript now preserved in the British Library. The language of the joke (Old Irish) indicates that it was written about a thousand years ago. The text is translated by Dennis King. So were those medieval Irish monks funny or not?
Three monks turned their back on the world. They go into the wilderness to repent their sins before God.
They did not speak to one another for the space of a year. Then one of the men said to another at the end of the year, "We are well," said he.
Thus it was for another year. "It is well indeed," said the second man.
They were there after that for another year. "I swear by my habit," said the third man, "if you do not allow me some quiet I will abandon the wilderness entirely to you!"
Yes, in the 1950's every husband and father had to be emasculated in every possible way. Imagine trying to conduct some kind of Tennessee Williams-inspired affair with your local Liz Taylor of the suburbs while wearing these. The laughter would be heard from one end of the motel to the other!