The Joe Pyne Show was one of the first confrontational interview shows on radio and TV. Obviously, his style caught on. Among other things, Joe Pyne was an ex-Marine who suffered a leg injury which, due to other complications, led to his having a wooden leg.
So one time Frank Zappa was on his show. Joe says to him, “You have long hair. Are you a girl?” Zappa says in turn, “You have a wooden leg. Are you a table?”
I don’t know about you, but somehow my wits always leave me when I need a good comeback. Or I can think of a really good one, but it takes until the next week.
A fellow named Melvin Wise wasn’t that way. Melvin was in my city at Boys State one summer when we were in high school. Boys State is a program of the American Legion whereby a group of boys are selected from various high schools around the state to learn more about government in an intensive one-week experience. Our experience was at New Mexico Military Institute during their summer break.
We had meeting after meeting and election after election over the course of one week. After one such gathering, our counselor said, “Let’s take a break. Get you drink of water. Go to the bathroom. Wash your hands. See you back here in ten.”
Melvin said, “Sir, I’m from Artesia. They teach us not to go on our hands. Can I just skip that part?”
Every once in a while I can imagine a fun retort, but not one I’m ever going to be able to use. Say, Jesus is on TV being interviewed by some reporter. The reporter asks, “Now that you look back on it, which of your miracles was the most difficult?” Jesus answers, “Now that I watch the news every night and think about it, nothing was harder than finding guys with names like Matthew, Andrew, Paul, James, Thomas, Philip, John, Bartholomew…in the Middle East.”
Winston Churchill was great with a comeback. One time Lady Astor said to him, “Winston, if you were my husband, I’d put poison in your coffee.” Churchill replied, “Nancy, if you were my wife, I’d drink it.”
Speaking of marriage, once a therapist was trying to help two bowling pins with their marriage. They were skeptical, so he said, “Look, I know it seems like your marriage is over, but I’ve picked up countless bowling pins from the gutter of seemingly lost marriages and put them back together.” One of them said, “Yeah, but have you ever picked up a 7-11 split.”
A fellow goes to a psychic. “Look in your crystal ball and tell me if I’m going to become a best-selling author.” She looks in the crystal ball and says, “I see Chapter 11.”
A televangelist says to his wife, “I wonder how many great preachers there are today.” She says, “One less than you think.”
Even Calvin Coolidge was better with a retort than I am. A woman once said to him, “A fellow bet me that I can’t get more than two words out of you.” Coolidge replied, “You lose.”