Funniest Scenes In English Literature...

I was thinking about the category "Throw the radio in the bathtub" we apply to off-topic posts and it struck me that, given our recent difficulties with posts and comments, some may think it a general expression of unhappiness.

Not at all. It's a reference to one of the funniest scenes in American fiction.

There are funny books (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court), there are routinely funny writers (P.G. Wodehouse), and there are insanely funny scenes. Among the funniest scenes in English fiction are the stories in James Thurber's My Life and Hard Times--especially "The Day the Bed Fell." Nothing beats an insanely funny scene. Sometimes they're by funny authors. More often, they're by great authors in the midst of mordant observations of human character. My choice for the funniest scene in recent English literature is this of the upended Toad sitting by his ruined caravan at the side of the road...

The Toad never answered a word, or budged from his seat in the road; so they went to see what was the matter with him. They found him in a sort of a trance, a happy smile on his face, his eyes still fixed on the dusty wake of their destroyer. At intervals he was still heard to murmur `Poop-poop!'

The Rat shook him by the shoulder. `Are you coming to help us, Toad?' he demanded sternly.

`Glorious, stirring sight!' murmured Toad, never offering to move. `The poetry of motion! The real way to travel! The only way to travel! Here to-day -- in next week to-morrow! Vil-lages skipped, towns and cities jumped -- always somebody else's horizon! O bliss! O poop-poop! O my! O my!'

`O stop being an ass, Toad!' cried the Mole despairingly.

(Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows)

Comments

"Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)" has to be quite near the top. Howlingly funny.

Wodehouse it is, especially when the players are that wonderful husband and wife team of John Alderton and Pauline Collins.

It's not the funniest thing ever recorded, but one of my favorite movies has long been, "American Dreamer" with JoBeth Williams, Tom Conti and Coral Browne (whose husband once kissed me on the cheek!)

Kamilla

I'm dense -- I don't get what that has to do with "throw the radio in the bathtub"?

I used to re-read The NIGHT the Bed Fell annually, as "best medicine." Throw the radio in the bathtub is a suicidal reference; don't understand either, Michelle. Unless there is some scene in a cartoon or movie where a person is electrocuted by radio-in-tub and instead of being horrible, the scene is over-the-top hilarious. Other than that I have seen some quotes about 'throwing the radio in the tub when the white rabbit peaks' but that's saying, "Kill me when I'm high." Not noticeably funny.

Looks like it might be from a scene from the film Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas--either that or from the book Charged with Guilt by Gloria White. I'm afraid to watch the movie to find out, so I'll probably just continue to take it to mean something that's funny and ridiculous.

Good dads always have their quirks, and part of knowing and loving them is knowing (and accepting, and in time, loving) those quirks. I say let's accept this category name as one of Tim and David's quirks, because it would be sad if they changed it to something bland like Funny or Funny/ridiculous.

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