Old Jokes

My Twitter profile describes me as a connoisseur of old jokes, and the Daily Mail took me at my word today. They asked me to deliver a page of jokes about geriatrics, following the comments of veteran TV and radio presenter Nicholas Parsons, who at 88 is getting ready to launch a new series of the panel game Just A Minute. "Nowadays you don’t make jokes which are sexist, racist or about disability," he told the Radio Times this week, "but you can make as many jokes about age as you want."

Opinion on this subject is divided among Nicholas's fellow comics. His great friend, the Carry On actor Kenneth Williams, believed, "Nobody should live past 65, because nobody should have to face deterioration."

But Kenneth did a marvellous "old man" voice – his catchphrase at one time was, "I've been doing it for 35 years!" And on his radio show Stop Messin' About, he and Carry On co-star Joan Sims played two pensioners, Meg and Tone, having a furtive affair: "If you can't come to the boil after 59 years, either your gas has gone out or you've got fur in your kettle."

It's plain that whether they're your golden era or the forgotten years, the last decades of life can yield some of its biggest laughs. Who should know better than scriptwriters Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, the men who invented British sitcom back in the Fifties and who are working together in their 80s.

"We still complement each other," Alan says. "He helps me up the stairs, and I tell him what day it is."

Here’s a few of the jokes that I couldn’t squeeze into my Daily Mail piece today:

George Burns said...
If I'd known I was going to live this long, I would have looked after myself better.
At my age, flowers scare me.
When I order a 3-minute egg, they ask for the money up front.

Hilda, Eliza and Betty were the oldest of the girls at Woodviews Home for Gentlemen and Gentleladies and they'd been friends for many years. In the evenings, Hilda took her bath first because she was 96 and the eldest. One Wednesday, she ran the hot water, and then took the bathplug out. Standing there on the mat, feeling puzzled, she called out, "Eliza! Betty! Was I getting in the bath just now, or getting out?"
Her friends sighed and shook their heads. "I'll go and see," said Eliza, who was 94. She shuffled out of the room, and half a minute later Betty heard her plaintive voice... "Was I going up the stairs or coming down?"
"Oh dear," murmured 92-year-old Betty. "I hope I never get that forgetful, knock on wood." And she rapped her knuckles on the arm of her chair and called out, "I'll come and help you both, as soon as I've seen who's at the door."

Harry and Hilda met at Woodviews, and they didn’t hang around. After two weeks, they had decided to get married. Harry promised to make all the arrangements, and on his rather flash mobility scooter he trundled down to Boots the chemist on the high street. "Do you stock oral sprays for angina?" he asked. "And those purple tablets for hypertension?" The pharmacist told him that they did.
"What about oxygen masks? And spare tubes for the cannister? And painkillers? And those big multi-vitamins, and laxatives, and anti-depressants, and liver tablets?" The chemist assured him these were all in stock. "Marvellous," said Harry. "We'll have the wedding reception here."

On their honeymoon, Harry and Hilda went to the seaside. It was a glorious sunny day, and Hilda was wearing a new bathing costume and sandals. As they sat on a tartan rug on the sands, Hilda nudged Harry and said, "How do you like my flip-flops?"
Harry nearly had a heart attack. "Hilda!" he said. "Act your age and put your bikini top back on!"

Norman lived at Woodviews, but he still did his own shopping. One Thursday, on pension day, he hobbled to the supermarket checkout. He was walking slowly and painfully, nearly doubled over, and put his shopping on the conveyor belt. The till assistant scanned the items through: "Sprouts... apples... and I see you've got a butternut squash today."

"No," said the old boy. "It's arthritis."