Two men go into a pub. Trouble is this is a three man sketch so they order a couple of pints and sit down and wait for the third guy. I say a couple of pints in fact one had a pint of Old Squelchmongercumsome and the other had a Bud having a partiality for single-syllable, reductionist North American breweries.
About half way down their drinks in walks Larry. ‘Hello mate’ they say, ‘What you been up to?’
‘Got a message from Jim’ says Larry. ‘Thing is he can’t make the joke tonight seeing as how his missus has pleaded with him to stay in while she dresses in a succession of titillating and dominatrix outfits.’
‘Poor feller,’ they say ‘What shall we do about the gag?’
‘Well could I have a go?’ says Larry. ‘It’s been a while but I could help you out. How does it go?’
‘Well it starts with three men going into a bar.’
‘That’s stuffed it up hasn’t it. We’re already in the bar. We’d better go out and start again.’
So they go out and Larry, who has a bad memory gets distracted by a guy selling tortoises. ‘Scuse me,’ he says ‘but aren’t you in the wrong gag?’
‘Yes mate,’ he says, ‘But tell you the truth my gag only really works at closing time so I have to hang around outside other gags and wait for everyone to come out. It’s not easy making your living in tortoise gags. It’s OK for you with your ‘Three men go into a pub’ stuff because there’s loads of them and you can get regular work.’
At this point I can’t help noticing that some of you are restless because I have leaned heavily on the comic tradition of one Mr Bill Bailey jolly talented comedian – and indeed that is true. Bill Bailey is the champion of the intellectual pub gag with a philosophical twist. I’m not just leaning but he is taking all the weight and frankly buckling under the pressure of having so much talentlessness to support. But you didn’t boo when I said ‘Two men go into a pub’ which borrows much more broadly and indeed liberally from generic comic history so I put it to you that you are a very inconsistent audience. If you think it is wrong for me to borrow so heavily you may as well leave and if you don’t understand what I’m on about you won’t enjoy the rest of the set frankly so the bar is definitely the place for you which leaves you madam – two men go up to the bar and the one says can I have a pint and a mop the third blokes dead after a nights excess with his missus and his bone structure will be along for a pint in a minute but he can’t hold his drink these days. Old gag new twist my name’s not Bill Bailey goodnight.