Friday, February 3, 2017

Just one more.


Of course, this is a tribute to the great Jimmy Durante:


As I mentioned yesterday, though, when you write a punch line you like it's hard to let it go, especially if you don't have an editor or director making you let it go. This elephant thing turned into one of those contests where you have a drawing and have to come up with the gag, and I was all the contestants.

I think sometimes editors who run those contests know what gag they want, and they just wait until someone submits it. Like, you might see:


And he's just waiting for something like:

"Dan's on the juice."
Unless of course something funnier actually does come in.

Well, the four elephant jokes were the only ones I had that I liked, so it will be on to something else tomorrow. It will have nothing to do with elephants. But I will leave you with some of the best thoughts on the military application of elephants ever written. I refer of course to the Hannibal chapter from Will Cuppy's The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody:

Hamilcar also told Hannibal about elephants and how you must always have plenty of these animals to scare the enemy. He attributed much of his own success to elephants and believed they would have won the First Punic War for him if things hadn't gone slightly haywire; for the war had turned into a naval affair. But even when the fighting was on land, the Romans did not scare nearly so well as expected. The Romans had learned about elephants while fighting Pyrrhus, whose elephants defeated him in 275 B.C., and even before that, in Alexander's time, King Porus had been undone by his own elephants. Thus, if history had taught any one thing up to that time, it was never to use elephants in war.
Then Hamilcar … was drowned in 228 B.C. while crossing a stream with a herd of elephants.
Taking elephants across the Alps is not as much fun as it sounds. The Alps are difficult enough when alone, and elephants are peculiarly fitted for not crossing them.
Whenever a thousand or so of his men would fall off an Alp, he [Hannibal] would tell the rest to cheer up, the elephants were all right. If someone had given him a shove at the right moment, much painful history might have been avoided.
Most of the original group [of elephants] succumbed to the climate, and he [Hannibal] was always begging Carthage for more, but the people at home were stingy. They would ask if he thought they were made of elephants and what he had done with the elephants they sent before. Sometimes, when he hadn't an elephant to his name, he would manage to wangle a few from somewhere, a feat which strikes me as his greatest claim to our attention.
And he [Hannibal] probably believed, up to the very end, that everything might still come out right if he only had a few you-know-whats.

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