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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Gracie Allen

There was a classic joke. Gracie says "The people in the movie theater wanted me to talk louder." George Burns says, "Why do you think that?" She says: "Because they said, 'Lady, don't whisper.'"

Much of her humor is based on taking things literally or missing pragmatic cues. George asks her if she wants to read a magazine by saying, "Have you seen the new Variety?" She answers, "are you blind, it's right there on the table." There, with two pragmatic meanings of the same question, she goes for the less appropriate one. "Have you seen it" means "where is it."

1 comment:

Thomas said...

"Why do we feel a grammatical joke to be deep?" asks Wittgenstein. "That is what the depth of philosophy is". And here's e.e. cummings position on technique: "I can express it in fifteen words, by quoting The Eternal Question And Immortal Answer of burlesk, viz. "Would you hit a woman with a child?--No, I'd hit her with a brick." Like the burlesk comedian, I am abnormally fond of the precision which creates movement."