[Ads-l] Request help tracing a joke in =?UTF-8?Q?=E2=80=9CMcClure's_Magazine=E2=80=9D_?=in 1927

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sun Dec 30 11:12:26 UTC 2018

Here is some further progress. A more elaborate instance from the same
family of jokes was circulating in 1883. The humor again hinged on the
phrase “enjoying yourself” and subject-object ambiguity.

[ref] 1883 January 8, The Times, Midwinter Mirth, Quote Page 3, Column
2, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Newspapers_com) [/ref]

[Begin excerpt]
Wrapped in his own originality: Young Goldy sat by himself in the
corner, meditatively twirling his moustache, not noticing anybody and
noticed by none. He was finally spied out by Brown, who approached and
said, "You don't seem to be enjoying yourself, Goldy, my boy." "Oh,
yes, I am," replied Goldy in a languid manner: enjoying myself hugely,
old fellow; but kill me if I am enjoying any of these people, you
know."—Boston Transcript.
[End excerpt]

Here is a shorter instance in 1893:

[ref] 1893 January 28, New England Farmer, Strained Milk, Quote Page
7, Column 2, Boston, Massachusetts. (Newspapers_com) [/ref]

[Begin excerpt]
At the Reception. Brown (to Theodore, sitting by himself, twirling his
moustache)—"You seem to be enjoying yourself, old boy."
Theodore—"Enjoying myself hugely, but hang me if I'm enjoying any of
these people."—Boston Transcript.
[End excerpt]

Feedback and further progress welcome; thanks
Garson O’Toole

On Fri, Dec 28, 2018 at 10:13 AM ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> This request has been satisfied. Many thanks to those who contacted me
> off-list. The October 1927 citation information was correct.
> Garson
> On Fri, Dec 28, 2018 at 9:31 AM ADSGarson O'Toole
> <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > Quotation expert Nigel Rees just published the January 2019 issue of
> > “The ‘Quote...Unquote’ Newsletter” which contains the following
> > fascinating challenge:
> >
> > [Begin excerpt]
> > [Hostess to Oscar Wilde:] ‘Are you enjoying yourself, Mr Wilde?’
> > ‘Enormously, Madam, there’s nothing else to enjoy.’
> > Curiously, I cannot find a source for this before 1995.
> > [End excerpt]
> >
> > Rees’s implicit challenge is to find earlier evidence, and to work
> > toward tracing this egocentric joke to its origin. Two famous
> > quotation magnets, Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw, have been
> > assigned authorship of the quip. The phrasing is variable, so I have
> > found this task difficult.

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