Claim: Opera singer reads embarrassingly misprinted lyrics.
Example: [Healey and Glanvill, 1994]
A friend had landed his first big role as an opera singer, even if it was in a Gilbert and Sullivan show. It had been a struggle for him to find anything prestigious before because his memory was so bad. I'll tell you another thing: he had a terrible memory.
But in this case his voice was sufficiently
On the opening night, the bass crooner paid more than the standard number of visits to the toilet facilities, but his voice was in good shape. On cue, he strolled confidently onstage and positioned himself in front of his idiot board. The band struck up his theme, and a deep, rich timbre filled the theatre.
Sadly, hazards lie in wait for the unwary. The words of the song go, 'My stately pen is never
as English abounds with puns that play on the homophony of
numerous bits of humor turn on the slight difference in orthography between the very different concepts 'penis' and 'pen is.' A favorite proofreading joke with many variations employs a punchline that has the familiar phrase "The pen is mightier than the sword" being rendered as "The penis, mightier than the sword." The piece featured here comes from a collection of urban legends but is really more joke than legend, its convoluted "opera singer with a really bad memory" set-up a bit too far-fetched for a true belief tale. (For the record, the lyrics quoted don't correspond to any genuine Gilbert and Sullivan opera.)
An item in our Photo Gallery also plays on the orthographic similarity of
Last updated: 15 March 2014
Healey, Phil and Rick Glanvill.
Urban Myths Unplugged.
London: Virgin Books, 1994. ISBN 0-86369-897-2 (p. 170).