It may surprise you to learn that Abraham Lincoln, widely regarded as one of the best, if not the best, Presidents in American History, was a big fan of crude humor. He was also apparently a good storyteller - it was said he "could make a cat laugh." I heard this joke of his re-told today and it brought me to tears. Apparently it's not close to the crudest he told (one contemporary referred to him as "possibly the most obscene individual ever"), but it is, in my estimation, gut-bustingly hilarious:
There was a party once, not far from Springfield, and among the crowd was one of those men who had audacity. Cheeky, quick-witted, never off guard on any occasion. The audacious man, chosen to be the carver of the turkey at the dinner table, whetted his great carving knife and got down to business carving the bird. The man of audacity expended too much force and let a fart, a loud fart, so that all the people heard it distinctly. It shocked all.If you don't think that's funny I really don't know what to tell you. And if you don't think I'm going to share this joke with every single history class I teach from now on you don't know me very well.
A deep silence reigned.
However, the audacious man was entirely self-possessed. He pulled off his coat, rolled up his sleeves, spat on his hands, whetted the carving knife again, never cracking a smile or moving a muscle on his face. It became a wonder in the minds of all the men and women how the fellow was to get out of his dilemma. He squared himself and said loudly and distinctly, “Now, by God, I’ll see if I can’t cut up this turkey without farting!”