The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.1203 Monday, 30 November 1998.
Date: Monday, November 30, 1998
Subject: A Tribute to Flip Wilson
I am sure that many are wondering how SHAKSPER could possibly be a venue
for a tribute to the African-American comic Flip Wilson, who died last
week. Well, Flip Wilson used to tell what I thought was the funniest
Shakespearean spin-off joke I ever heard.
The joke itself is one of those formula stories that last up to twenty
minutes. I cannot possibly do justice to it, but the whole point of the
joke is the punch line. So with my sincerest apologies to Flip Wilson,
I will attempt to relate the sense of the story.
Once upon a time in ancient Rome, there lived a Roman named Herman and
so and so on.
During these times, berries were highly praised and so on and so on.
As it turns out, poor Herman grew the biggest, most fabulous berry that
Rome had ever seen and so on and so on.
This berry was so spectacular that Herman got an idea and began to
charge admission for the Romans to come and admire his magnificent berry
and so on and so on.
The authorities heard of the berry and the profits this once poor man
was making and so on and so on.
A troop of Roman guards appeared at Herman's door.
Herman, thinking they had come as others had to see his berry said,
"Have you come to praise my berry?"
The leader of the guards replied, "No, we have come to seize your berry
not to praise it."