Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Questions Shakespeare gets asked all the time

INTERVIEWER:  Did you write all the plays yourself?   


INTERVIEWER:  Can you prove it? 

SHAKESPEARE:  I could have, if the Globe hadn’t burned down in 1613 and destroyed all the accounts.   

INTERVIEWER:  So you can’t prove it. 

SHAKESPEARE:  I could show you the house they bought.  Except that got torn down after I died. 

INTERVIEWER:  So you can’t prove it. 

SHAKESPEARE:  Next question?
INTERVIEWER:  What exactly is the correct spelling of your name?
SHAKESPEARE:  What is this “spelling” of which you speak?  I lived in an age when a man like Christopher Marlowe could be called Marley, Morley and Merlin, and everybody would still know you were talking about that hot-tempered kid from Canterbury.
INTERVIEWER:  Who was the Dark Lady of the Sonnets? 

SHAKESPEARE:  Her name was Audrey. I put her in As You Like It, gave her a wooer named Will, and played the part myself.  Got some big laughs in 1599, let me tell you.  But it started to go stale in 1600, so I rewrote it. 

INTERVIEWER:  Really?  What did you replace it with? 

SHAKESPEARE:  I can’t remember.  But it got a laugh.  And then when it didn't, I rewrote it again.  Like a lot of the topical stuff, I had to rewrite it whenever it fell flat.  The final version was in the master copy of the script that burned up in the Globe fire. 

INTERVIEWER:  Did you do a lot of rewrites? 

SHAKESPEARE:  All the time. And I got paid for every one.  Except Macbeth.  That's why it's cursed. 

INTERVIEWER:  So what about that second-best bed? 

SHAKESPEARE:  You should have seen the third-best bed. 

INTERVIEWER:  Are you a Catholic? 

SHAKESPEARE:  Is anybody, really?  Especially in America.  

INTERVIEWER:  So you are not Catholic? 

SHAKESPEARE:  I was Church of England from my birth to my dying day, because it was against the law to openly be anything else. 

INTERVIEWER:  And in private? 

SHAKESPEARE:  We didn’t have privacy back then.  Not the way you have it here. 

INTERVIEWER:  Are you gay? 

SHAKESPEARE:  How can I be gay?  I had one more child than Oscar Wilde. 

INTERVIEWER:  What’s the best biography you’ve ever read about yourself? 

SHAKESPEARE:  That’s the thing.  There hasn’t ever been a biography written about me—only novels using my plays as a scaffolding upon which to hang my life. 

INTERVIEWER:  So what's the best one of those? 

SHAKESPEARE: They're all crap.

INTERVIEWER:  What about the worst one? 

SHAKESPEARE:  Oh that would have to be anything by Harold Bloom.  I can particularly un-recommend his last three exercises in fiction: Shakespeare Had Nothing To Do With Theatre!, Hamlet Is A God Damn Poem, Not A Play!, and Didn’t You Hear Me? I Said ‘Shakespeare was Not A Fucking Actor!’ Okay? 

INTERVIEWER:  If you had to write your own epitaph, what would it be? 

SHAKESPEARE:  I did write my own epitaph:


INTERVIEWER:  Oh, yeah, right, sorry.  Okay, uh—well if you had to do something a little more, uhm— 

SHAKESPEARE:  “Entertaining?”  “Clever?” 

INTERVIEWER:  Twitterish. 

SHAKESPEARE:  You mean as if I were some kind of twit? 

INTERVIEWER:  No—something snappy and clever that can be repeated endlessly by people who are incapable of being either clever or snappy. 

SHAKESPEARE:  Ah; okay.  Hmm. How’s this? 

Here lies the corpse of Billy Shakes,
A guy who always got the breaks:
Kit Marlowe knifed before his time,
Bob Greene a stroke while in his prime,
Tom Nashe the plague, Tom Kyd the rack.
This is the way you raise a hack
From last place to the top position—
Just murder all the competition. 

INTERVIEWER:  One final question.  What are you working on now? 

SHAKESPEARE:  A lawsuit to retrieve back royalties dating from1900.


Happy 450th birthday, Mr. S.

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