Stop me if you’ve heard this one before

“Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:”

Last Saturday was the 150th anniversary of Lincoln presenting the Emancipation Proclamation to his cabinet. However, according to historian Harold Holzer, Lincoln didn’t just jump right to the main dish at that momentous wartime cabinet meeting. Instead, Lincoln opened the session with a reading from his favorite joke book. !LoL! ENDING SLAVERY ICE-BREAKER, anyone?! Lincoln was ROTFL; Secretary of War Edwin Stanton was less amused. Jah tracked down the humorous reading at the library… can’t even tell what level it’s on! Maybe I like it!? 1860s Laffs…

From Artemus Ward, His Book

High-Handed Outrage at Utica

In the Faul of 1856, I showed my show in Uticky, a trooly grate sitty in the State of New York.

The people gave me a cordyal recepshun. The press was loud in her prases.

1 day as I was givin a descripshun of my Beests and Snaiks in my usual flowry stile what was my skorn disgust to see a big burly feller walk up to the cage containin my wax figgers of the Lord’s Last Supper, and cease Judas Iscarrot by the feet and drag him out on the ground. He then commenced fur to pound him as hard as he cood.

“What under the son are you abowt?” cried I.

Sez he, “What did you bring this pussylanermus cuss here fur?” and he hit the wax figger another tremenjis blow on the hed.

Sez I, “You egrejus ass, that air’s a wax figger–a representashun of the false ‘Postle.”

Sez he, “That’s all very well fur you to say, but I tell you, old man, that Judas Iscarrot can’t show hisself in Utiky with impunerty by a darn site!” with which observashun he kaved in Judassis hed. The young man belonged to 1 of the first famerlies in Utiky. I sood him, and the Joory brawt in a verdick of Arson in the 3d degree.

Speaking of (aspirational) presidential humor, me found amusement in a recent WSJ op-ed asserting that Romney is, in fact, funny. Rule of thumb: If someone has to write an op-ed [in The Wall Street Journal] explaining that humor is “natural to you”, it probably isn’t.

He must use humor, for three reasons. One is that wit breaks through and sharpens all points. Another is that it is natural to him. Before the voting in Iowa, he wryly told a friend that the caucuses were like the LaBrea Tar Pits: ‘No one comes out the way they went in.’ On a conference call recently, he asked a question of his staff. No one answered. Mr. Romney waited. ‘Bueller? Bueller?” he said, in a perfect imitation of Ben Stein.

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