List obsessives vote again

Apparently the British public has spoken.  The public has (or rather the contributors to the UK Gold poll have) voted Peter Kay’s line, “Garlic bread, it’s the future, I’ve tasted it” the funniest one-liner of all time…

It isn’t.  

In third place was,

“If you were to ask me to name three geniuses, I probably wouldn’t say Einstein, Newton… I’d go Milligan, Cleese, Everett, Sessions…”. 

from The Office.

Now I’d suggest that it’s not the funniest one-liner of all time either.

However, the poll was based on lines from British comedy shows. 

Any suggestions for the funniest one-liner (within this constraint) are gratefully received.  If limited simply to British comedy shows I’d go with 

“When we first captured Gerald he was completely wild.”
“Wild? I was absolutely livid.”

About loveandgarbage

I watch the telly and read when not doing law stuff and plugging my decade and a half old unwatched Edinburgh fringe show.
This entry was posted in garlic bread?, gorilla interview, the nature of comedy, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to List obsessives vote again

  1. Oh god. Depends on my mood.
    “In… as you say…. the mud.”
    “HA! Missed both my legs!”
    “Don’t tell him, Pike.”
    Most of Yes, Minister.
    “Alright Terry” “Alright Wang-wang!”
    “Cake – it’s a made up drug – it’s got chemicals in it!”
    “What are we going to do now? What are we going to do now?”
    “Are you now or have you ever been a practicing homosexual?” “Wiv these
    feet? ‘Oo’d ‘ave me?”
    “Herds of WILDEBEESTE sweeping MAJESTICALLY?”
    “Is it on t’trolley?”
    “Only got one felching-pen left, got some frotting pencils though…”
    …and many, many more. I might even make an allowance for “Put big light on!”
    Actually one of the lines that reduced me to tears was balding standup Mick Miller on a crap gameshow called “Make Me Laugh” where the punter had to resist laughing at a standup for two minutes. Most of the comics used a barrage of one-liners. Mick ambled up to the mic, smiled gently at the punter, waited about half a minute, and casually said “Ahhh…. aren’t plums dear?” – which had my entire family rolling about.

    • surliminal says:

      See these are more catch phrases (mostly) than one liners to me. Maybe we need a definition.

      • I forgot two Morecambe and Wise lines:
        “I’m playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order.”
        And the ambulance passes outside with
        “He won’t sell many ice creams going at that speed.”

    • I do like the Fletch sequence in the first episode of Porridge.
      Brass Eye, The Day Today, and On the Hour (radio, I know but it had some cracking lines on it) are responsible for lots of the great one-liners. I remember “Cake is a made-up drug. It is made up in kitchens by sick bastards” read by one B Manning as he appealed to Britain’s youth. I also really like, “Troubled Leeds United have today sold Gordon Strachan to Mr Peter Jones a retired headmaster from Birkenhead. Gordon will have to perform various household tasks about the home and will be unable to display the footballing skills for which he became famous” on On the Hour.
      There are two Partridge lines, “Ah, Sunday, bloody Sunday. That’s exactly how I feel on a Sunday” and his comment on the potato famine, “Well that’s the price you pay for being a fussy eater.”
      Re: Mick Miller I was in a class at school with a boy called Andrew who laughed at anything. We believed he would laugh at a swinging gate. We tested this in one English class as we discussed Ambulances by Larkin and were in the midst of a lengthy discussion about mortality. I leaned over and whispered, “Swinging gate” enunciating each syllable. He cracked immediately.
      I now realise that fake gameshow Trigger Happy must have been subliminally based on Make Me Laugh. My apologies for the representation. I guess most of the shows are actually drawn from crap gameshows I have viewed.

    • I expect there are a lot of Alexei Sayle lines – which a quick viewing of STuff would bring back to mind. I remember,
      “Oh that’s God moving in a mysterious way” – a punchline carefully set up with a protracted consumer affairs based sketch which begins when a meek person complains that he has not inherited the earth. But as surliminal notes re: the gorilla sketch the visual element is what makes the line funny.

  2. tanngrisnir says:

    There is still something about:
    A pint? That’s very nearly an armful!

    • My favourite Galton and Simpson lines for Hancock are
      “Does Magna Carta mean nothing to you? the brave young Hungarian girl. Did she die in vain?”
      and to Griselda in Sunday afternoon at home
      “At least my mother’s gravy used to move around the plate” (not wholly accurate I think but you’ll know the sequence)

      • tanngrisnir says:

        Yes, both classics. They crack me up every time, even having heard them many times.
        Another line which has come to mind, completely different provenance, is, “Knock knock knock at the window. And who do you think it was? Bloody Greta Garbo!”
        Oh, and from the Goons there is the immortal: “I haven’t got a knob on my side!”

  3. andrewducker says:

    My favourite comes from Smith & Jones.
    Griff Rhys Jones wanders on, dressed in gown and mortarboard.
    “The philosophy exam was a piece of cake. Which was odd, as I’d been expecting a piece of paper.”

  4. surliminal says:

    I love that line too but it’s not really what I’d call classic one liner material – the jopke depends on seeing the gorilla speak; a one liner should be quotable. I suspect all my best ones are by Woody allen and not to hand right now..

    • I use it regularly in lectures, usually to a good reaction. šŸ˜‰
      Fortunately most of the classes are so much younger than me and have never heard of Not the Nine O’clock news, never mind watched any of it, that it’s treated as some kind of Wildean remark.

  5. pigeonhed says:

    I believe there was a version of the Parrot Sketch done ata Secret policeman’s Ball that went…
    ‘I wish to register a complaint. This parrot is dead’
    ‘Oh yes, so it is, I’ll get you another one.’

  6. Anonymous says:

    Peter Cook saying “My dear lady wife, whose name for the moment escapes me….” has been killing me for the best part of 40 years

    • It is the usual problem with these public vote based lists – anything further back than last week gets forgotten.
      It reminds me of the Channel 4 musician of the millennium (sic) vote (those gregorian chants from the first half of the millennium were never in with a chance) where Robbie Williams triumphed over Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Ellington, Charlie Parker, Elvis &c.

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