Sunday, 2 May 2010

Funny Old Business: the Circulation of Jokes

Did anybody watch Ashes to Ashes (BBC1) on Friday? The Roy Hudd character (a sleazy stand up comedian, hopefully not based on yours truly) was in Geno's restaurant and delivered a joke that might well have struck a familiar note with some of you in its awful punfullness: Yes, it was 'my' innuendo joke. Though quite how it ended up (uh! oh!) there is anybody's guess.

To the best of my knowledge and belief (as far as any writer can be sure of these things) that was an Oscar original. It dates back more than twenty years to the days when my wife, Freda, (then a district nurse) first arrived in my life and many of our friends were (indeed, still are) associated with medical professions. Another of similar vintage that springs to mind was: 'Until I met Freda I didn't have an enema in the world'... get the idea? (Look, I didn't say they were good jokes, okay?).

I can't prove the origins that far back – yet – but I have found the first written version that I'm aware of, from a 2005 Watford Writers' newsletter (I was editor - bad business - don't ask). Due to an excess of apathy in the submission department, I took to filling in the final column with the witterings of two of my imaginary friends (Sad? Oh, yeah, that's me).

So I've dug out the relevant newsletter, and there - sure enough - is the innuendo joke. How does it go? I thought you'd never ask: 'I have this friend who's a nurse. She's not very bright. She thinks innuendo is Italian for suppository.'

Okay, okay... I was just leaving.

Oh, before I do go. I don't suppose I shall ever get acknowledgment for the innuendo joke, but I have had one minor success. A very silly story published in Everyday Weirdness. If you're really bored, you can find it here.

As usual, help yourself to tea an bickkies. But do turn out the light when you leave.