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

David Barnhart dbarnhart at HIGHLANDS.COM
Thu Sep 3 17:44:21 UTC 2015

Is it shocking?

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
Cohen, Gerald Leonard
Sent: Thursday, September 03, 2015 1:11 PM
Subject: Re: Joke: "What do you think of his execution?" "I'm in favor of

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Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Poster:       "Cohen, Gerald Leonard" <gcohen at MST.EDU>
Subject:      Re: Joke: "What do you think of his execution?" "I'm in favor

This sounds like one of Mark Twain's quips.=0A= Gerald Cohen=0A= =0A=
From: ADSGarson O'Toole [adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM],Thursday, September 03,=
 2015 12:33 AM:=0A=
Barry Popik asked me off-list to explore a quip attributed to the=0A=
football coach John McKay. After a poorly played game McKay was asked=0A=
about his team's execution, and he replied with comic harshness, "I'm=0A= in
favor of it."=0A= =0A= I decided to broaden the topic and look for general
instances of the=0A= joke. Below are five selected citations. In 1907 the
barb was aimed at=0A= an individual instead of a team. The U.K. humor
magazine Punch was=0A= acknowledged. This joke appeared in several
periodicals.=0A= =0A= [ref] 1907 March 19, San Diego Union, The Extreme
Penalty (Filler=0A= item), Quote Page 6, Column 5, San Diego,
California.=0A= (GenealogyBank)[/ref]=0A= =0A= [Begin excerpt - two hyphens
are used for a dash]=0A= The Extreme Penalty.--She (to fellow listener at
musicale)--"What do=0A= you think of his execution?" He--"I'm in favor of
it,"--Punch.=0A= [End excerpt]=0A= =0A= The same joke was presented in the
form of a caption to a one panel=0A= comic depicting a woman and man
exchanging lines while a pianist=0A= played in the background.=0A= =0A=
[ref] 1907 April 13, Trenton Evening Times, Section: Comics, (Caption=0A= of
single panel comic titled "The Extreme Penalty"), Quote Page 12,=0A=
Trenton, New Jersey. (GenealogyBank)[/ref]=0A= =0A= [Begin excerpt]=0A=
She: "What do you think of his execution?"=0A=
He: "I'm in favor of it."=0A=
[End excerpt]=0A=
In 1916 an elaborate meta version of the joke using dialectical=0A= spelling
was published in a Pennsylvania newspaper. The character "Ma"=0A= found the
joke in a humor book, but she presented it incorrectly,=0A= initially. The
character "Pa" stated that he had heard the quip about=0A= two thousand
times.=0A= =0A= [ref] 1916 August 03, The Patriot, Little Benny's Notebook,
Quote Page=0A= 6, Column 7, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
(GenealogyBank)[/ref]=0A= =0A= [Begin excerpt]=0A= WILLYUM, I red a good
joak today, ma sed to pop after suppir yestidday.=0A= =0A= Well then I avize
you to keep it a secret, the joaks you dont tell are=0A= very funny, sed
pop.=0A= =0A= O, is that so, sed ma, well jest for that Im going to tell it
and make=0A= you laff, its about a gerl playing the piano, and one man ses
to=0A= anuther one, Wat do you think of her enunciation? and the uther
man=0A= ses, Im in favor of it. . . .=0A= =0A= I gess I dident git it
ixactly rite, it seems to me perhaps=0A= enunciation izent the ixact werd,
sed ma. . . .=0A= =0A= And ma thawt a wile longer, and then she sed,
Execution, thats it,=0A= execution, wat do you think of her execution? Im in
favor of it, izent=0A= that a good joak.=0A= =0A= It serteny is, and it was
jest as good wen Noah brawt it over in the=0A= ark, sed pop.=0A= =0A= Do you
meen to say youve herd it before? sed ma.=0A= =0A= O, not more than 2000
times, sed pop . . .=0A= [End excerpt]=0A= =0A= In 1936 an audience that was
being entertained by Groucho and Chico=0A= Marx recited the punchline.=0A=
=0A= [ref] 1936 January 31, Daily Illinois State Journal, Hollywood
Chatter=0A= by Hubbard Keavy, Quote Page 6, Column 3, Springfield,
Illinois.=0A= (GenealogyBank)[/ref]=0A= =0A= [Begin excerpt]=0A= Groucho
Marx said he knew a Berlin song that was even worse. He'd=0A= forgotten the
title, but he knew the words. Chico Marx remembered the=0A= music and played
while Groucho sang this wartime lament. One line=0A= went, "The war makes
butchers out of brothers." After he sang, Groucho=0A= asked the audience
what they thought of his execution. And, almost in=0A= chorus, a dozen
voices shouted: "We're in favor of it."=0A= [End excerpt]=0A= =0A= The jest
continued to circulate for decades. In 1961 a Congressman=0A= named Emanuel
Celler presented a version.=0A= =0A= [ref] 1961 June 28, State Times
Advocate, Short Stories Reported from=0A= Capital Scene by Vernon Louviere
(State-Times Washington Bureau),=0A= Quote Page 8C, Column 5, Baton Rouge,
Louisiana. (GenealogyBank)[/ref]=0A= =0A= [Begin excerpt]=0A= He tells
friends, "When I was a little fellow, I used to play the=0A= violin. My
father invited Fritz Kreisler in to listen to me play one=0A= day and when I
finished playing the third movement of the Mendelsohn=0A= Violin Concerto my
father turned to Kreisler and said, 'How do you=0A= like his execution?', to
which Kreisler replied, 'I am in favor of=0A= it.'"=0A= [End excerpt]=0A=
=0A= Garson=0A= =0A=
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org=0A=

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

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

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