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If this isn't Steve Allen, you're stealing my bit

Victorian ringmasterThe author of a recently discovered book of Victorian jokes doesn’t have to worry though. And not just because he’s dead.

Dr Anne Featherstone, a lecturer in performance history at the University of Manchester, uncovered the material of a Victorian clown (apparently stand-up comedians actually wore clown gear) is an interesting look into what the Victorians found funny.

According to Dr. Featherstone the Victorians liked clever word-play and punning.

For example:

“Bad husbands are like bad coals – they smoke, they go out, and they don’t keep the pot boiling.”

“What’s the difference between a rowing boat and Joan of Arc? One is made of wood and the other is Maid of Orleans.”

Then there’s this classic:

Tom: Did you hear of that accident today? Three men run over by a railway train?
Ringmaster: Killed?
Tom: No, they were saved by a miracle – the train was going over the bridge and they were going under it.

Nobody’s mentioned the hand-written notes in the margins yet, such as, “this bombed,” and “Gadzooks this caused a giant sucking sound.”

BBC story: Victorian comic’s material