As the thatcher said to the bishop

Posted by Bob on May 08, 2000

In Reply to: As the thatcher said to the bishop posted by Antony Smythe on May 07, 2000

: : : Just caught this as a throw away remark on an English program on TV the other night. Sorry can't even offer any context for it. But is does sound interesting.

: : : Any ideas what is meant ?

: : Did you hear that correctly? It's usually 'as the actress said to the bishop'. I've never been entirely sure what it means, although it does imply some kind of naughty business - actress used to be a euphemism for prostitute.

: : Gary

: Whether my contribution is disregarded or not the comment in the programme in question referred to some disagreements between the Archbishop of Canterbury and PM Thatcher in the 1980s. Yes it was a play on the better know expression "as the actress said to the bishop" but, with due respect, that was not the question.

So now I'm curious: does anyone know the original joke "as the actress said to the bishop..."? It sounds like an old chestnut. Edwardian perhaps?
There's an American equivalent: "so the farmer says to the chicken..." usually done in a Yiddish accent. I don't know what follows that, either. Maybe there was a cosmic Joke Explosion at one point, and random fragments have been falling to earth ever since.