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Interview

Bennett Cerf

Bennett Cerf (1898-1971) was an American author of joke books and collections of humorous anecdotes, and co- founder of Random House publishers. He frequently appeared on US tv game shows like What’s My Line?

 One of his big sellers was Bennett Cerf’s Vest Pocket Book of Jokes, originally published in 1956.

He writes: An attorney journeyed to California to try an important case, promising to wire his partner the moment a decision was announced. At long last the wire came and it read, “Justice has triumphed.” The partner in New York wired back, “Appeal at once.”

Try and Stop Me (1944) was “A Collection of Stories and Anecdotes, Mostly Humorous”.

He writes: Jane Addams, the famous social worker and founder of Hull House, told this story on herself. She met an old friend on a train one afternoon, and greeted her cordially, but simply couldn’t remember her name. “The conversation is bound to give me a clue,” she thought., but for a half-hour she got nowhere. Then the friend said, “My poor brother is working himself to death these days.” Miss Adams felt that her moment had come. “Ah, yes, your dear brother,” she exclaimed. “And what is he doing now?” Her companion glared. “He is still President of the United States,” she remarked coldly.

In his book Anything for a Laugh (1946) he writes: What’s your candid opinion of my new novel?” asked an author anxiously. “It’s worthless,” was the blunt reply. “I know,” persisted the author, “but I’d like it anyhow.”

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