When something annoying is done or said to us, we’d love to come back with an immediate witty put-down, but most of the time we can’t think of the right words.
Legendary “Fools and Horses” writer John Sullivan created hilarious insults – real comedy zingers – between Del Boy Rodney and Uncle Albert. Down the Nag’s Head, everyone insulted Boycie.
But even John said that in real life, when someone annoyed him, he was rarely able to come back with a fast and witty response. He’d work on the insults he wished he’d thought of at the time and put them into his scripts.
A friend of mine who works in the comedy field (the one next to the comedy farm) once landed a well-deserved zinger when a married couple he hadn’t seen for a while came to stay with him and his wife for the weekend.
From the moment the guests arrived on the Friday, their behaviour was unbelievably rude. On the first evening, they shared bottles of Chardonnay provided by my friend. The next night, they all went out to dinner at a local restaurant, where the male guest, being a wine expert, ordered a very expensive bottle of vino, which they all polished-off before the main course.
As my friend then ordered a bottle of the same Chardonnay they’d sipped the night before, the wine expert’s wife pulled a face and said “Oh we don’t want that rubbish!”
My friend, his hackles already raised having suffered 24 hours in their company, replied “You quite happily drank it last night!” to which the obnoxious female guest said snootily… “I didn’t say I enjoyed it!”
Not the subtlest thing to say to someone who’s house you’re staying in!
He has no idea how he did it, but my friend immediately came back with a zinger that silenced her for the rest of the evening. “Yet you didn’t refuse a second glass!”
The master of the witty insult was Noel Coward who once remarked of Winston Churchill’s son Randolph… “There goes Randolph. Completely unspoilt by failure!” Now that’s what I call a zinger!