The French call it “l’esprit d’escalier,” or “staircase ghost.”

To the rest of us, it is known simply as the comeback, that divine and tender coincidence of all the universe’s comedic forces at the perfect moment.

A truly good comeback can instantly turn tables, elevate the terminally zinged to the status of champion, and reduce the zinger to a stuttering fool.

Sadly, many of us will go our entire lives without scoring a decent comeback, doomed to pause awkwardly and mutter some pathetic variation of “your face” for the rest of our miserable lives.

For us, it must be enough simply to marvel at the comebacks of the better equipped, and possibly memorize them for later personal use. After all, you never know when you’re going to have to take that bitch Lady Astor down a peg.


#10. John Wilkes vs. John Montagu (AKA The Earl of Sandwich)

The Players:

Most sources credit this exchange to John Wilkes and John Montagu, the Earl of Sandwich, although occasionally it’s also credited to British Prime Ministers Benjamin Disraeli and William Gladstone.

I’m going to assume Sandwich said it, because it’s less satisfying to make fun of a guy who is considered the precursor of the modern politician than a guy who invented putting stuff in bread.

Setting the Scene:

When not revolutionizing the consumption of sliced meats and cheeses, Montagu was known for his incompetence, cruelty, lechery, and Satan-worshipping.

The Earl was a member of The Hellfire Club, a “satanic” group dedicated to amoralistic hedonism, which totally explains all the sandwiches.

There’s not a lot more seductively evil than a hot pastrami on rye.

He was also responsible for commanding the British navy at the time of the American Revolution, and his incompetence at doing so is considered by historians to have been a large deciding factor in the war, so much so that when he died a popular proposed epitaph was “Seldom has any man held so many offices and accomplished so little.” Posthumous zing!

Basically, the Earl of Sandwich was exactly like that Jack in the Box commercial made him out to be.

John Wilkes, another politician and member of The Hellfire Club, apparently pointed this out to him at some point, because the two were mortal enemies for most of their lives.

Wilkes even famously Punk’d him by releasing a baboon dressed in a cape and horns at a meeting of THC while Sandwich was “invoking Satan.”

It’s said to be this incident that inspired Sandwich to clutch his fear-soiled robes about himself and declare–

The Zing:

“Sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox.” To which Wilkes replied–

The Comeback:

“That will depend, my lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress.”

Then the baboon clawed Sandwich’s face off while the real Satan appeared and congratulated Wilkes on the burn.


What We Would Have Said:

“Well I do know. I will die on the gallows…for murdering thee–in the face!”


#9. Winston Churchill vs. Lady Astor


The Players:

Winston Churchill, one of Britain’s best-loved Prime Ministers, helped lead the nation to victory in World War II by sitting on his fat ass, smoking cigars, and delivering more quotable lines than an entire staff of Simpsons writers. Churchill was such a powerful force in English politics that his death ensured work for ugly British actors for at least the next millennia.

During his time in Parliament, he often had the occasion to square off against the conservative Lady Astor, first female member of Parliament and renowned wit.

Whether Astor’s penchant for attacking Churchill was due to his being a heavy drinker, occasionally sexist, or simply a worthy sparring partner, their scuffles proved that if there’s anything politicians do well, it’s talk some serious shit.

Setting the Scene:

I should actually say “scenes.” Astor, who eventually became a Christian Scientist, didn’t much cotton to Churchill’s habit of smoking cigars by the case while double-fisting whiskey sours.

Churchill may have started the rivalry when he compared Astor’s election to Parliament to be “like being intruded upon in the bathroom.” To which Astor replied “you’re not handsome enough to have such fears.”

Reportedly Churchill then choked on a lungful of cigar smoke, eyed her through the haze, and muttered “it’s on now.” And on it was, with such exchanges as:

Churchill: “What disguise would you recommend I wear to your costume ball?”
Astor: “Why don’t you come sober, Prime Minister?”

Astor: “If you were my husband, I’d poison your tea.”
Churchill: “Madam, if you were my wife, I’d drink it.”

But perhaps the best-loved Astor/Churchill battle is the following, made doubly impressive by the fact that, by the admission of both parties, Churchill was visibly drunk at the time–

The Zing:

“Mr. Churchill, you are drunk!”

The Comeback:

“Yes, and you, Madam, are ugly but tomorrow I shall be sober and you will still be ugly.”

What We Would Have Said:

“I won World War II, Ass-turd, so shut it. You know, Nazis? Hitler? Your face.”


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Author: mesmerX | Category: News | Views: 4598

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Comments: 2

stolen from crzcked

hahaha loved it... nice one cognition.... that churhill one is fuckin epic

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