Humour Magazine

Why Are You Asking Me This?

We asked a host of eminent minds a series of inane questions.

As part of a very important ongoing series, The Fence asks some very important questions of some very important people. (With immense thanks to Ian Martin for his contributions to this piece).

do you think kylie minogue drinks her own wine?

Not a chance.
Annie Mac

is it ever worth adjusting the car clock to british summer time?

No, leave it well alone. It is a very good way of introducing some gentle mental arithmetic into your day.
Richard Osman

I think so. I once arrived an hour late for an audition after failing to re-adjust my car clock, and missed out on playing the hunchback in a new musical that later became an enormous hit.
Michael Palin

do you prefer mechanical lawnmowers or electric?

Ian Rankin

should time be decimal?

Dammit, it’s worth a try.
Hugh Laurie

does the cost of picture framing still surprise you?

I belong to an etching workshop so the cost of picture framing matters to me and is, to my mind, exorbitant.
John Carey

do you reckon horses used in films know that they’re in a film?

I think we underestimate animals in general. I think horses are eye rolling behind our backs and calling us cretins.
Annie Mac

My answer to this question is: no.
Werner Herzog

salt and pepper clearly won the household spice wars, but what would you nominate as a third go-to condiment?

It’s a polite no from Anna.
The Office of Anna Soubry MP

what’s the best flightless bird?

Roast chicken.
Ian Rankin

Anyone who doesn’t answer ‘penguin’ to this should be reported to the authorities.
Richard Osman

Caitlin Moran

Caitlin Moran.
Marina Hyde

Oh shit – can I go back and put ‘Marina’, instead?
Caitlin Moran, on being told Marina Hyde had, entirely unprompted, answered the same as her

how many belts do you own?

Between us? Five.

Actually, in total, its about 10 belts; a few leather, 1 cotton, 1 posh one, an old classic, and one Andy got on tour when he forgot his normal one.
Bicep, several days later

what’s your favourite thing to eat at mcdonalds?

I never eat there.
Niall Ferguson

how long do you think it’ll be until gillette go six blades?

I’m going to keep out of this one!
Melvyn Bragg

do you keep a large bag under your sink filled with other, smaller plastic bags?

Armando Iannucci

Of course I do. Doesn’t everyone?
I have a box filled with smaller boxes too. I buy those tupperware boxes that fit inside each other and when I hold them in my hands I feel at peace with the world.
Annie Mac

what’s the difference between a turtle and a tortoise?

Not really my thing I’m afraid. I pondered this and realised I am basically not funny.
Rory Stewart

do you think the queen has ever had a coke zero?

[Buckingham Palace declined our invitation to respond.]

do you miss anything from the 20th century?

I miss my grandparents and the SAS storming the Iranian embassy siege.
Richard Osman

Oh yes. I miss the availability of public toilets. That and Cole Porter.
Michael Palin

have you ever saved someone’s life?

Yes, on holiday in Scotland my mother decided to go for a swim, donned a wetsuit and went in. She lost consciousness in the water and I ran into the sea in jeans and a wooly jumper and pulled her out. cpr, ambulance, hospital, dripping wet all the way. Crazy day!
Jackie Weaver

have you ever been witness to a public marriage proposal that was rebuffed?

Sadly no.
Jolyon Maugham 

what is the maddest substitution you’ve ever received for an online shop?

I have never had an online shop delivery substitution worthy of comment. I could make one up but that would demean us both.
Marina Hyde

A bible.
Michael Palin

is the whole ‘never swim just after eating’ thing true or a myth?

[Mr Motivator declined to comment.]

do dogs’ barks constitute language?

I believe dogs operate in a world unburdened by national boundaries and prescribed language. They construct their affiliations not through collective cultural history, but rather through pre-ordained anatomical aromas. A passing bum sniff replacing the absurdity of a citizen test. This canine class system has been developed over millions of years of ‘good boy’ evolution and can be readily witnessed at any dog park by those keen to enjoy the glorious wonder of nature.
Chris O’Dowd

There’s no ‘Yes or No’ about analogies. I can jump. Is it like an eagle? From some points of view.
Noam Chomsky

if you were absolutely put on the spot, what would be your best explanation of how a television works?

Someone with an idea films it, sends it in and then finds it replaced by a worse one.
Armando Iannucci

what’s something you don’t enjoy but are quite good at?

Oral advocacy in Court.
Jolyon Maugham

what standard of evidence would you require to believe in the existence of alien craft within earth’s stratosphere?

A peer-reviewed paper by reputable scientists describing in detail the structure and propulsion of the craft and providing compelling evidence that it could not be of terrestrial origin or a meteor.
Niall Ferguson

Like the comedienne Fran Lebowitz, I don’t believe in anything you have to believe in. If there were alien craft within the earth’s stratosphere, I suspect the evidence would be overwhelming.
Steven Pinker

is prune juice the juice removed from plums to turn them into prunes, or is it juice further removed from prunes?

[The Estate of T S Eliot declined to respond.]

what is the biggest dog you have ever seen in your life?

The biggest dog I have ever seen was on a walking holiday in Normandy. Fortunately it was chained up. But in my dreams it is the size of a small horse and its bark is like the crack of doom.
John Carey

why does a golf ball travel further than a tennis ball?

For the same reason that a stiletto heel makes more impact on a wooden floor than an elephants foot.
Jackie Weaver

have you ever met a man who admits to being five foot ten?

Again, a polite no from Anna
The Office of Anna Soubry MP

do you save those little bags of dessicant you sometimes get in electrical goods packages?

I save them for my grandchildren, who don’t get enough dessicant.
Michael Palin

Threw one away only yesterday, though it had been in the suitcase several years.
Robert Webb

if dinosaurs were still around, would you eat one?

Birds are dinosaurs, and I’ve eaten chicken, duck, goose, squab and pheasant, so as long as they were farmed and slaughtered humanely and sustainably, and the meat was not too gamey, I would.
Steven Pinker

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