The key to a good compliment is originality. Clive James was, according to The New Yorker, “a brilliant bunch of guys.” That’s so much better than call…
Benjamin Errett
“What ho!” I said.“What ho!” said Motty.“What ho! What ho!” “What ho! What ho! What ho!”After that it seemed rather difficult to go on with the convers…
Benjamin Errett
Edith Sitwell was an English poet of the early 20th century, part of a famous family, and a revolving door of quippery. She described herself as an “un…
Benjamin Errett
Enough already, Oscar Wilde. Pipe down, Dorothy Parker. Put a sock in it, Winston Churchill. Any collector of witticisms sees the same names over and o…
Benjamin Errett
Once upon a time when newspapers were a thing, obituary writers would use clever euphemisms to tell you what the recently deceased was really like. The…
Benjamin Errett
It’s been said that the devil has all the best lines, and the best tunes, too. So as you lose your face, lose your name, and get fitted for a suit of f…
Benjamin Errett
After last week’s issue on the loquacious Tallulah Bankhead, a perceptive reader — alright, you’re all perceptive — asked after her opposite. If Bankhe…
Benjamin Errett
Did Tallulah Bankhead actually exist, or was she some sort of Jazz Age fever dream? It’s hard to be sure because the actress made a career out of being…
Benjamin Errett
If you’re reading (or writing) this, you’re already witty and wouldn’t mind becoming more so. Why? What advantages does wit bring? This seems like an o…
Benjamin Errett
So you have a bunch of friends over, it gets late, and the conversation dies down. In a certain place and time, that would have been the cue to put on …
Benjamin Errett
Imagine you are a profoundly unhappy man. You cheat on your wife and drink heavily, finding no solace in either vice. You see yourself as a failure, li…
Benjamin Errett
What is the mark of a truly superior human? Courage? Kindness? Being prepared to do the right thing, no matter the cost? Or is it possessing the intest…
Benjamin Errett