In dark and uncertain times like these, we need to laugh.
Winston Churchill was the greatest leader of the free world in times as dark, or darker, than these. He never missed an opportunity to make people laugh.
Here are a few.
When Lady Astor at a dinner told him, “Winston, if I were your wife I’d poison your soup,” Churchill replied, “Nancy, if I were your husband I’d drink it.” After he had crossed swords with John Foster Dulles, Churchill called him “the only bull who brings his own china shop with him,” and coined the progression, “dull, duller, Dulles.”
Churchill maintained a long rivalry with Clement Atlee, Labour Party leader who defeated Churchill in the 1945 election to become Prime Minister. When Atlee went to Moscow and left his fellow Labour politicians behind, Churchill quipped, “When the mouse is gone, the cats will play.” Churchill called Atlee “a sheep in sheep’s clothing” and “a modest man with much to be modest about.”
When a young MP had delivered an emotional appeal for unilateral disarmament and asked Churchill after what he thought, the latter replied, “Why, I thought it was very good. It must have been good, for it contained, so far as I know, all the platitudes known to the human race, with the possible exceptions of ‘Prepare to meet thy God’ and ‘Please adjust your dress before leaving.’”
On Churchill’s seventy-fifth birthday a photographer said, “I hope, sir, that I will shoot your picture on your hundredth birthday.” The old man replied, “I don’t see why not, young man. You look reasonably fit and healthy.”
These are from a chapter on Churchill in Famous Stutterers.