Vintage Humor for Wine Loversby Malcolm Kushner
Malcolm Kushner and Associates
168 pages, paperback, $9.95
Wine should be a joyous subject. Too often, it’s not—at least not in this country. In Vintage Humor for Wine Lovers, Malcolm Kushner offers levity, instead of tedium.
Organized into 13 chapters, the collection features writings of the author/editor, quips from persons well known and otherwise, and some anecdotes and jokes that may have been rewritten to make the situation fit in a wine context. Sometimes this doesn’t work, as in the case of the reference to a pricey old bottle of “Mouton Lafite Rothschild” found in storage in the Chicago Cubs clubhouse (presumably waiting forever for a pennant winning celebration). However, there are plenty of comments on wine and drink not lost in non sequitur.
Champagne references I liked were:
“The House of Lords is like a glass of Champagne that has stood for five days.”--Clement Attlee
“You’ve forgotten those June nights at the Riviera . . . the night I drank Champagne from your slipper—two quarts. It would have been more but you were wearing inner soles.”--Groucho Marx
Some of the comments are more fun for those who have some wine knowledge:
“The wine seems to be very closed-in and seems to have entered a dumb stage. Sort of a Marcel Meursault.”--Paul Winalski
Some have some depth or pith:
“I’ve taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has ever taken from me.”--Winston Churchill
“Not all men who drink are poets. Some of us drink because we aren’t poets.”--Unknown
Others just made me laugh:
“A mind of the caliber of mine cannot derive its nutriment from cows.”--George Bernard Shaw
“Every time I learn something new it pushes some old stuff out of my brain. Like that time I took that home wine-making course and forgot how to drive.”--Homer Simpson
“My uncle was the town drunk and we lived in Chicago.”--George Gobel
Longer pieces don’t lend themselves to description here. Some of them were pretty funny; others seemed to be trying too hard. A wonderful touch is the inclusion of many cartoons on the subject from The New Yorker.
There will be some who take offense at parts of his collection of wine-related humor, and not just at the jokes that involve drunkenness. Those people would be the ones with little sense of humor. What’s funny to one person may not be so to another, humor being a very personal matter. It gave me enough amusement to easily justify its price. Ten bucks could otherwise buy you a fairly pedestrian bottle of Chardonnay. And how many smiles would that put on your face?
Vintage Humor for Wine Lovers is available at Amazon.com,independent bookstores, and directly from the publisher.
--Reviewer Dan Clarke writes about wine and food and appreciates a good laugh about either.