Henny YoungmanAccording to the New York Times, Henny Youngman was the king of the one-liner:
A man says to another man, "Can you tell me how to get to Central Park?"
The guy says no.
"All right," says the first, "I'll mug you here."
Two guys are in a gym, and one is putting on a girdle.
"Since when have you been wearing a girdle?" says his friend.
"Since my wife found it in the glove compartment of our car."
"I played in places where the check-out girl's name was Rocco, and the owner would stab me good night."
But the anthropologist Gregory Bateson said that Youngman's greatest joke, because of the Existential angst it implied, was:
"How's your wife?"
"Compared to what?"
In the realm of jokes, Bateson himself was no slacker. He took Heraclitus' famous dictum, "No man can step into the same river twice," and transformed it into,
No man can go to bed with the same girl for the first time twice.--- From Understanding Gregory Bateson
Noel G. Charlton
© 2008 New York University Press