Sunday, April 17, 2011

Write-down Comedy

I recently happened to be reading, at random, some pages from The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand (her best work of fiction, in my opinion) and I found some myself chuckling at some rather good jokes. Now, we don't think of Ayn Rand as a funny writer (of the ha-ha variety, I mean). Philosophical, combative, polemical, controversial, even implacable perhaps, but never funny. And yet she was. Here are a few jokes from Chapter 3 ("Gail Wynand"), randomly selected of course, in keeping with the random motif:
  • The Banner was permitted to strain truth, taste and credibility, but not its readers' brain power.
  • When a newspaperman received an invitation to call on Wynand, he took it as an insult to his journalistic integrity, but he came to the appointment. He came, prepared to deliver a set of offensive conditions on which he would accept the job, if at all. Wynand began the interview by stating the salary he would pay. Then he added: "You might wish, of course, to discuss other conditions--" and seeing the swallowing movement in the man's throat, concluded: "No? Fine. Report to me on Monday."
  • The succession of his mistresses was so rapid that it ceased to be gossip. It was said that he never enjoyed a woman unless he had bought her--and that she had to be the kind who could not be bought.

No comments: