[Ads-l] Joke: "What do you think of his execution?" "I'm in favor of it"

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Thu Sep 3 06:36:37 UTC 2015


On Thu, Sep 3, 2015 at 1:33 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole wrote:
>
> Barry Popik asked me off-list to explore a quip attributed to the
> football coach John McKay. After a poorly played game McKay was asked
> about his team's execution, and he replied with comic harshness, "I'm
> in favor of it."
>
> I decided to broaden the topic and look for general instances of the
> joke. Below are five selected citations. In 1907 the barb was aimed at
> an individual instead of a team. The U.K. humor magazine Punch was
> acknowledged. This joke appeared in several periodicals.
>
> [ref] 1907 March 19, San Diego Union, The Extreme Penalty (Filler
> item), Quote Page 6, Column 5, San Diego, California.
> (GenealogyBank)[/ref]
>
> [Begin excerpt - two hyphens are used for a dash]
> The Extreme Penalty.--She (to fellow listener at musicale)--"What do
> you think of his execution?" He--"I'm in favor of it,"--Punch.
> [End excerpt]
>
> The same joke was presented in the form of a caption to a one panel
> comic depicting a woman and man exchanging lines while a pianist
> played in the background.
>
> [ref] 1907 April 13, Trenton Evening Times, Section: Comics, (Caption
> of single panel comic titled "The Extreme Penalty"), Quote Page 12,
> Trenton, New Jersey. (GenealogyBank)[/ref]
>
> [Begin excerpt]
> She: "What do you think of his execution?"
> He: "I'm in favor of it."
> [End excerpt]

The one-panel cartoon originally appeared in the Feb. 13, 1907 issue
of Punch (p. 113):

https://books.google.com/books?id=tggIAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA113

(Of course, it's spelled "favour" in the original.)

--bgz

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The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


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