by Ashley Lister
My father was a music hall comedian. I’m not saying his material was bad but, on the night variety died, his act was held for questioning.
Actually, that’s unfair.
He was very good at making people laugh. I remember his last words to me. “Don’t turn the machine off. Please. Please, for the love of God. I’m sure I’ll recover. I don’t want to die.” How we all chuckled.
But I’m not sure if it’s because of father’s influence that I’ve developed my lifelong passion for humour.
In poetry, the form most commonly associated with humour is the limerick. This is a format with which we’re all familiar. The limerick manages to combine vulgar humour with something that’s often sexual in nature. To illustrate:
There was a young fellow named Dave
Who took a dead whore from her grave.
He said, “It’s disgusting,
But she only needs dusting
And think of the money I’ll save.
There once was a man from Madras
Whose balls were both made out of brass
In stormy weather
They’d both clang together
And sparks would fly out of his ass!
The limerick, as I’ve probably mentioned before, has a rhyme scheme of aabba. It’s supposed to consist of anapaestic feet (that is, with two short beats followed by a third, longer beat) and the ‘a’ rhymes have three feet, whilst the ‘b’ rhymes have only two. However, to put it in more simplified terms that allow for the lack of formality in this form, the ‘a’ rhymes should have roughly eight or nine syllables and the ‘b’ rhymes should have five or six. Below is a final example.
There was a young woman from Leeds
Who swallowed a packet of seeds
With half an hour
Her arse grew a flower
And her clunge was a bundle of weeds
Now it’s your turn. Please share a limerick in the comments box below.