Have You Heard The One About…?

A few days ago I heard the most brilliant joke of all time. I say it was the most brilliant because I remember laughing harder than I ever have before or after. Since then, I’ve tried to recreate it and I still chortle helplessly, but I’m not sure if I’m laughing at the joke itself or just remembering how much I enjoyed it the first time round. Let me put you in the picture…


Sheen and I were round at Soraya’s and she was chatting on Yahoo with a strange Lithuanian called Egregious or something. Her webcam delivers a perversely distorted image at the best of times (I suspect this is deliberate – her idea of humour includes stuff like preferring blurred wavy pictures in distasteful colours that have as little bearing on the real world as possible. And notice I use the expression “idea of humour”, not “sense of humour”; Soraya’s sense of humour is a whole category unto itself that I don’t want to go into right now) but this Latvian guy looked exceptionally bizarre. I suspect he had a worrying case of goitre and jaundice, and I prefer to think the cyclopoid feature in the centre of his forehead was a tattoo or a misunderstood bindi rather than an ocular appendage, and that he was sporting a novelty wig.


My Estonian has never gone beyond the “low intermediate” mark, and  Effluvious was clearly going out of his way to get his message across, sprinkling his entertaining anecdote with dabs of English and Russian (fairly useful – we could translate bits for Soraya as well as follow the story ourselves) and unhelpfully smearing his tale with asides in Finnish which I pretended to understand because that’s what I always do.


The Latvian joke itself involved a bishop ( or a cardinal?), a dwarf and something that could have been a petrol pump attendant or a prostitute. The three of them were trapped in either a lift or a mine shaft or a small car, it was claustrophobic anyway, wherever they were, and the only way out was by smashing the glass or the door or something, using the midget’s head or a rolling pin or somebody’s wooden leg (not too sure about the details here; the Lithuanian didn’t seem to think this bit was very important) but before they could do that they each had to make a promise that if they escaped alive they would tell the world something that I couldn’t make out: it might have been their favourite recipe, or what they thought of their dead comrades, or who they’d voted for in the last elections or something along those lines. Anyway, our Estonian friend Etherious was really getting it into it at this stage, leaping around on the webcam, managing to giggle and scream at the same time, and we just about got the gist.


The bishop said something about sausages, or it might have been The Great Wall of China, and the dwarf replied with a plea about global warming or possibly anchovy paste (the similarity in Lithuanian is overwhelmingly confusing) and then it was the petrol pump attendant’s turn, and instead of saying anything, he pulled out an ancient Egyptian calendar or an old shopping list or some notes he’d taken during a recent lecture on Sartre, and started to read it very very slowly.


At this point, Sheen had a Tena Lady moment and scuttled off to the bathroom, guffawing irredeemably. I had another gulp of the “Fascist Widow” cocktail that Soraya had prepared for us and tried to keep up with the garbled hilarity that Estemious was narrating, translating into Spanish for Soraya, who was rolling around on the floor in an Eristoffian seizure.



Going back to the joke… The petrol pump attendant’s annoying litany met with little favour among his two fellow-travellers, and the midget remarked that time was running out. And then the bishop says:….


I have to confess that what I understood at this point makes little sense. What I thought I had heard at first was: “You should have aimed at the second pocket”, which isn’t exactly sidesplitting; then I realised that Elverious had actually said, “There’s a curious mauve tone in the air”, which reminded me of a song by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils. But then it dawned on me that, in fact, he could have said, “Just because you don’t care for my cooking, you don’t have to repair that unbroken carburettor”. Now, none of these rejoinders is particularly appropriate but, amazingly, when I heard this freaky Latvian announce the punch line, I nearly passed out. It was the funniest thing I had ever heard in my life.


It was evidently the funniest thing that Ephemious had ever said, also, because he was practically foaming at the mouth, laughing inordinately, beating his chest like a gorilla on speed.


Sheen raced back in and asked him to repeat the punch line but our Estonian pal was in no fit state to say anything articulate.


As I say, I have remembered this joke several times and I laugh uncontrollably every time. It may not be particularly amusing to anyone else, but I can assure you it’s the best joke I’ve ever heard in my life.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Nigel on October 5, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    I don’t find the joke very funny. It’s all too easy nowadays to make fun of minority groups like bishops and petrol pump attendants. And you made up that cocktail – it doesn’t exist and I should know because I’m a barman.


  2. Posted by zaragozatwins on October 5, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    Sorry if I offended your particular minority, Nigel. I’ll be more careful next time. And by the way, a Fascist Widow cocktail is 2 parts Nicaraguan rum, 1 part Bombay gin, 1 part Apricot Brandy. Enjoy. Heen


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