Saturday, March 21, 2015
OLD JOKE: A tourist passed violinist Mischa Elman on Fifty-seventh Street, Manhattan.
"Excuse me," said the tourist, noticing his violin case, "Could you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?"
"Yes," Elman said, continuing on his way. "Practice!"
OLDER JOKE: Bacchus wanted to retrieve the recently deceased poet Euripides from the underworld but wasn't quite sure how to go about it. Without a better plan, he decided to adorn himself with a lion's skin and club in a feeble attempt to appear like Hercules, who had successfully travelled to the underworld to wrestle Cerberus. Then he sought the strongman's advice.
He arrived at his half-brother's door, where the heroic Hercules mocked the effeminate Bacchus for his ill-suited disguise until the god of wine and theater revealed his serious intent.
"How may I soonest arrive at Hades below?" Bacchus asked.
Hercules, put out by his annoying sibling, replied, "A rope and a bench."
(Taken from Aristophanes' The Frogs, 405 BC)