The season of misrule

From Wikipedia:

“In England, the Lord of Misrule – known in Scotland as the Abbot of Unreason and in France as the Prince des Sots – was an officer appointed by lot during Christmastide to preside over the Feast of Fools. The Lord of Misrule was generally a peasant or sub-deacon appointed to be in charge of Christmas revelries, which often included drunkenness and wild partying.

With the rise of the Puritan party in the 17th century Church of England, the custom of the Lord of Misrule was outlawed as it was deemed “disruptive”; even after the Restoration, the custom remained banned and soon became forgotten.

From the website

Gesta Grayorum 1594

The Gesta was Gray’s record of their “law sports” — their misruly entertainments. This volume happened to be preserved because it mentions a performance — possibly the first — of Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors.

Gray’s Inn would never be outdone by mere City men. Every year when the Michaelmas term ended (Saturday, Dec. 3 in 1586), they elected a court of Misrule, led by the Prince of Purpoole. (Purpoole was the name of a lane east of Gray’s Inn Road.)…”

From “Nooks and Crannies” at

What is the origin of the ‘Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup’ joke?

A NUMBER of ‘Waiter …’ jokes are attributed to the notoriously rude waiters at Lindy’s Restaurant in New York, whose replies include: ‘It’s possible. The chef used to be a tailor’ and ‘Don’t worry. How much soup can a fly drink?’ Lindy’s was started in August 1921 by Leo Lindemann and was as famous for the backchat of its waiters as for its clientele of comics, gangsters, show-biz stars and other celebrities. Among examples of repartee recorded on their menu (always entailing criticism of the customer and/or the food) are some which have gone on to become almost traditional: ‘Waiter, do you serve shrimps here?’ Lindy’s waiter: ‘Sure. We don’t care how tall you are. Sit down.’ and ‘Waiter, this coffee tastes like tea.’ Lindy’s waiter: ‘Forgive me, sir. I must have given you the hot chocolate by mistake.’
Stuart Mealing, Talaton, Exeter.

IN HER anthology, One Hundred Renaissance Jokes, Barbara Bowen identifies a Latin epigram by Sir Thomas More as a likely forerunner. At a banquet, a guest removes some flies from the loving-cup, drinks, then replaces them, before passing it on with the remark: ‘I don’t like flies myself, but perhaps some of you chaps do’.
Mike Heath, Alton, Hants.”

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