As the thatcher said to the bishop

Posted by The Professor on May 09, 2000

In Reply to: As the thatcher said to the bishop posted by Bob on May 08, 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.

At last, at long last, someone else has happened upon my theory of the origin of jokes. Now what's worrying is that most new jokes are either recycled old ones or resemble fragments from older, more rounded and laugh delivering jokes. I believe that the last major joke struck earth in Eastern Siberia at the beginning of the 20th century, flattened loads of trees and left a bit of a crater. However, the major part of that particular joke hit the headlines later when we had 70 years of Communism (that was a big one) and a last echo was Boris Yeltsin - he was born in the eastern Siberian region of the then USSR near the joke's earth fall. Minor jokes hit the earth on an occasional basis, usually disguised as part of the Leonoid meteor showers which, as all good sky gazers know, strike the earth every year. President Clinton's been struck by one of these (remember the incident with cigars, a stained dress and the impeachment trial).

Compared with these world events what the actress may have whispered in the ear of the bishop during a close encounter whilst she was resting between jobs in her first profession is neither here nor there.

I usually leave Yiddish out of jokes as a mark of respect.