At a recent Christmas party, our host commented that you are the funniest person he knows. On our way home I told you that I didn’t find you to be unusually funny. You responded,
“It’s a dry humor. Perhaps it is mundane to you because you’re British.”
“Hmm,” I said, “now your brother has the dry part down pat. Do you remember…”
I didn’t have to say any more as we chorused his punchline of some five years ago and we both laughed. I laughed so hard that tears rolled down my cheeks.
Afterwards I wondered why we found the memory of this innocuous, not very funny, punch-line so hilarious. I postulate that, like all good humor, it was timing and delivery. To this day I recall the set-up. It was the weekend after Thanksgiving when both our brothers were visiting. As the day was balmy as Austin, Texas can be in November, you three men had taken up residence on my sister’s patio. Ostensively, you were slow-cooking a brisket on the BBQ although I recall that large quantities of beer were being imbibed. Your brother sat on the right, mine in the middle, draped rather than sitting, with his feet upon the wrought-iron patio table. You sat on the left, rising from time to time to baste the brisket or to get more beer. We, women, were inside chatting and preparing accompaniments for the brisket.
Then my brother began to laugh. A good rich belly rumble of a laugh. His feet came off the table and he rocked back and forth in his mirth. You echoed his laughter and your brother, who looked somewhat surprised at the reaction to his joke, joined in. It was at least half an hour before we, women, could get one of you to stop laughing long enough to share the cause of your mirth. My brother pointed at yours,
“Out of the blue he asks, ‘What did the mother turkey say to her disobedient children?’ No warning, nothing.” At this point you all three took up laughing again. We wondered what that punch line could be, and waited for you to regain composure. At last you spoke to your brother,
“Go on tell them!”
Your brother, in his dead pan voice gave us the line “If your father could see you now, he’d turn over in his gravy!”
Of course, the mirth resumed again and, we, the women, joined in, chuckling, not at the joke, but at our men-folk.