Why things are funny (1): Custard

CustardAs half-heartedly implied by the ”(1)” in the title, this is intended to be the first in a recurring series explaining why things are funny. It’s not going to be an ontological exercise in categorising all things as funny or not funny; that would be ridiculous. This is just a resource for those who frequently find themselves wondering what all the fuss is about while their peers fall about laughing (falling itself is very funny indeed, and will be covered in a later post). I have decided to start with custard.

Custard is funny for several reasons, most of which have to do with its name, and none of which have anything to do with being poured in to people’s trousers. That is not funny. Here are the reasons:

  1. Named in 1407, not after its maker but for the first person to die from it, custard was originally administered topically, with a skilled custardier earning more than two and a half groats per swannytide (excluding tips). This is about the same as a modern-day footballer at League Two level.
  2. Modern-day footballers consume 36% of the world’s custard output, applying it to their scrotums to maintain flexibility in the tackle.
  3. Long before the concepts of police oversight and accountability were born, the phrase “quis custardiet ipsos custardes?” was muttered sotto voce by many a rich family’s personal custardee, reflecting disquiet at the fact that the retainer in question would surely be facing a meal of gruel and hair while the lords of the manor feasted on the fruits of his labour.
  4. Custard has been responsible for numerous armed conflicts since its invention. The Boston Tea Party was originally intended to involve crème anglaise, but this was abandoned at the last minute in favour of a more robust clotted cream.
  5. Made thick enough, it no longer goes “splat”, but rather, “bonk”.
  6. It is reputed that if one holds a carafe of custard to the ear, stifled giggles can be heard, as one might at the funeral of Noel Edmonds.

Next week, old people: funny, or merely funny-smelling? We investigate.

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