Very Witty Wilde
Don't know why this Monty Python skit came to mind, one of those archived bits of information that randomly surfaces from time to time, but surface it did. Perhaps the whole culture blogging thing and Terry Teachout's recent comments on the blogging community, which I commented on here.
So without further ado...
The Oscar Wilde Sketch
London 1895... The residence of Mr Oscar Wilde
(In WILDE's drawing room. A crowd of suitably dressed folk are engaged in typically brilliant conversation, laughing affectedly and drinking champagne)
PRINCE OF WALES: My congratulations, Wilde. You latest play is a great success. The whole of London's talking about you.
OSCAR: There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that it not being talked about.
(There follows fifteen seconds of restrained and sycophantic laughter)
PRINCE: Very very witty... very very witty.
WHISTLER: There's only one thing in the world worse than being witty and that is not being witty.
(Fifteen seconds more of the same)
OSCAR: I wish I had said that.
Whistler: You will, Oscar, you will.
OSCAR: Your majesty, have you met James McNeill Whistler?
PRINCE: Yes, we've played squash together.
OSCAR: There is only one thing worse than playing squash together, and that is playing it by yourself.
I wish I hadn't said that.
WHISTLER: You did, Oscar, you did.
(A little laughter)
PRINCE: I've got to get back up the palace.
OSCAR: Your Majesty is like a big jam doughnut with cream on the top.
PRINCE: I beg your pardon?
OSCAR: Um... it was one of Whistler's.
WHISTLER: I never said that.
OSCAR: You did, James, you did.
(The PRINCE OF WALES stares expectantly at WHISTLER)
WHISTLER: ... Well, You Highness, what I meant was that, like a doughnut, um, your arrival gives us pleasure... and your departure only makes us hungry for more.
Your Highness, you are also like a stream of bat's piss.
WHISTLER: It was one of Wilde's. One of Wilde's.
OSCAR: It sodding was not! It was Shaw!
SHAW: I... I merely meant, Your Majesty, that you shine out like a shaft of gold when all around is dark.
PRINCE (accepting the compliment): Oh.
OSCAR (To WHISTLER): Right.
(To PRINCE)Your majesty is like a dose of clap. Before you arrive is pleasure, and after is a pain in the dong.
PRINCE (Loudly): WHAT?
WHISTLER and OSCAR: One of Shaw's, one of Shaw's.
SHAW: You bastards. Um... what I meant, Your Majesty, what I meant...
OSCAR: We've got him, Jim.
WHISTLER and OSCAR: Come on, Shaw-y.
SHAW: I merely meant...
OSCAR: Come on, Shaw-y.
WHISTLER: Let's have a bit of wit, then, man.
SHAW: (Blows raspberry)
(The PRINCE shakes SHAW's hand. Laughter all around)