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A Feast of After Dinner Jokes
Author: Bill Stott (1944 - )
Publisher: Exley Publications Ltd - 1991
*Including many famous guest anecdotes*
This book's character is a craft of quips, marks and swishes of ink; depicting After Dinner events and concepts to the arena of satire, and cartoon expressions. Bill Stott, cartoonist, lecturer, and experienced After Dinner speaker, effortlessly conveys a 64 page blend of total entertainment. From wise quotations, bold, new visions, connoisseurs of the written word say their part as guests in this book: 'A Feast of After Dinner Jokes.' - The size of it almost will go unnoticed in an inside pocket of a Smoking Jacket. The width of three joined 'beer mats.' Delightful illustrated in Bill Stott's endearing broken dash style, with a brazen water colour splash, and a dab, giving clarity to the crimson red cheeked faces of those poor decrepit After Dinner speakers, who are so often out of sorts and out of their depth. Stott's book is a triumph for a sobering occasion that needs the injection of humour; the humour is refreshing like a swig of champagne from a crystal flute, after a 'Death by Chocolate' desert, choking the arteries.
How I came across this gem, stems from my perusing slow walk around the book section of a 'Table Top Sale,' in a small dozy village near Banbury. It was hiding under a huge map of Great Britain book, almost too scared to show its face. I recognized Bill Stott's style and asked how much it was? Twenty pence was the answer, and without hesitation gave the gent a fifty pence piece. I think the seller must have had enough of these formal dinner parties going by the sound of his creaking trouser belt. Maybe it is because I see myself as a Gyles Brandreth type whose an award winning after dinner speaker, stroke entertainer. Not the kind of entertainer who does the comedy circuit such as 'Glee,' but one whose voice is as polished as a Rolls Royce engine purr, and invites guests for VIP presentations. It's fine for some who get paid for eating, drinking, and gallantly delivering anecdotes that hangs in the air like floating chocolate bubbles waiting to be gobbled up, by the star-struck pilgrims.
Toast to the Bride and Groom - Well that's all they could afford.
A collection of the funniest quips and jokes, are created admirably by simple caricatures, drawn by Stott's unique hand. Cut from the same cloth of Gerald Scarfe (1936 - ) reknown for his quick ink sketches in the ST (Sunday Times) Stott has an inquisitive nature in conveying situation comedy in after dinner speeches, usually linked to the over bureaucratic methodology modern work-places seem to engineer, or general quirky observations, for example: what would an Ofsted inspector see if he looked in a mirror?- Stott will draw on the spot sketches, illustrating and churning out the jokes simultaneously in a mechanical foray with speed; doing an impression of a manic printer randomly spitting out loads of spooled images. Bill Tidy would do the same type of performance sketch while on Channel Four's TV program, Countdown, way back in the early 1990's.
Each page in the collection of cartoons embraces an ode, or a verse or funny story of some sort relating to an after dinner speech. Simple use of words used such as: 'BORED!' in capitals at the bottom of a cartoon that shows a lady in a red dress who looks like the Queen Mother at a table behind the speaker juggling her cutlery, with a glass of red wine half empty. Simple visuals depicting hilarious analogies, and I can bet they're all true. You know what the proverb says: "Truth is stranger than fiction!"
Another simple concept sketch of a door half open into a very dark room with a couple of eyes: Punch-line: "Shy Person's and introverts Annual Dinner." Skilled pen and ink sketch, with a sporadic flick of felt-tip colour. So you get the type of idea of the style and satire. There is an essence of Bob Gill style naturalism to each visual. Bob Gill (1931 - ) is an American Graphic designer who specializes in basic communication formulas to convey a message. Though Bill Stott has a completely different medium and visual style and satirical stance; the same practices are deployed while conveying messages back to the viewer.
"It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech." - Mark Twain.
This innocently small hardback, equipped to the hilt with wisdom and scholar type wordings, made me sit up and realize that after dinner speeches has been around for hundreds of years. Mark twain has several mentions, and this was from the mid to late nineteenth Century. Ernest Bevin (1881 -1951) a Labour Politician has been chosen for his intellectual oratory one-liners. All of which expresses a satirical message whether intellectually garnished, silly little quips, or just blatantly hilarious, no stone has not been unturned. What Bill Stott has managed with his splendidly illustrated book of fun is to embrace all types of satire; so that it will appeal to practically everyone. I can guarantee you will hear a muffled snigger in the corner of the room from the most sober of people. Stott surely can reach and tickle the parts that most comics miss. Stott claims he isn't funny. He says his children are wittier than he is, in fact he states on his website his cat has more wisdom and wit than he does as well. Apparently, just one twitch of the whiskers and you'll be in hysterics. It's all in the timing.
I know I got a bargain, paying fifty pence for this fabulously funny book. It'll come in useful whenever I get an invite to perhaps do an after dinner speech at an 'Online Community Annual Dinner.' I'll start the proceedings off by saying - "How lovely it is to see you all in 3D." - Others such as Sir James Paget, or Winson Churchill's oratories may be completely different if this wonderful, satirical, offering was published a hundred years earlier. The audiences then would choke on their own tongues in absolute outrage. A respite from the tedious pompous tones that echo off the pine walls resembling the shipping forecast.
Stott marks, for a hilarious edition to my bookcase.