Jokes about Mark Twain

One of Mark Twain’s friends was very fond (увлекался) of playing golf and once he asked Twain to go with him to the local golf links, Mark Twain went there with his friend and watched him play, but he had never seen a poorer game.

His friend kept missing the ball and hitting the soil instead. Once when he missed the ball he hit the soil so hard that bits of it flew up in to Twain’s face and even got into his mouth.

When the game was over and they were on their way home, Twain’s friend asked: “Well, and what do you think of our local golf links?”

“Oh, I’ve never tasted a better one,” Mark Twain replied.


Once Mark Twain’s friends in San Francisco asked him to give a lecture on the interesting things he had seen in the Hawaiian Islands. The author had never given a lecture before and the very idea (сама идея) of speaking to a large audience frightened him. However, he agreed at last when his friends promised the new lecturer to place themselves at strategic points among the audience and to laugh often as well as loudly during his lecture.

When Mark Twain came out (вышел) on the platform, his knees were shaking so much and he looked so frightened that his friends thought he would not be able to say a word.

But the lecturer needed no help from his friends after all, for he won the day by his unusual opening: “Julius Caesar is dead, Shakespeare is dead, Napoleon is dead, Abraham Lincoln is dead, and I am far from well myself.”5 When the lecture was over, the audience had been laughing so much that they were too weak (не хватало сил) to leave their seats



Mark Twain was placed at a dinner party between his hostess and a well-known pianist. When he had talked for some time to the lady, he turned to the pianist and said to him.

“It will perhaps interest you, as a pianist, that my life was saved by a piano when I was a small boy. We lived near a river then, and one spring we had a terrible flood. At that time my mother was away visiting some friends in another town and there were only two of us at home, my father and myself. The flood was getting (становилось) worse and worse. Soon the water reached the ground floor (первого этажа) of our house, and we had to go upstairs. However, when the water reached the first floor, there was nowhere for us to go because it was the top floor of our house. Luckily, my father didn’t lose his head. He just sat on a chest of drawers and floated down the river until he was rescued by a rescue party.”

“And what about you?”, asked the pianist.

“Well, I accompanied him on the piano,” Twain replied smiling.


Once a man came to see Mark Twain. It was his first visit to the writer’s house. Twain took him into his study (кабинет) and the visitor saw dozens of books on the desk, on the chairs and even on the floor because there was only one shelf on the wall.

“You need more shelves for your books,” the visitor said.

“Yes, I know,” the author replied, “but you see, it isn’t so easy to borrow shelves from people.”



A well-known New York hostess liked to invite famous people to her box at the opera house.

Once she invited Mark Twain and he came to her box with pleasure because he was very fond of good music. However, he was not able to enjoy the opera at all because the hostess kept talking all the time.  When the opera was over, she said to the writer, “You must come again next week. The opera will be Tosca, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.” “With pleasure,” the author answered, “I’ve never heard you in that.”


In America, before the days of television, popular writers often went on lecture tours from one town to another.

During one of his lecture tours Mark Twain arrived at a small town. He needed a shave, so he went to a barber’s before his lecture. While getting ready to shave Twain, the barber said,

“I have never shaved you before, have I?”

“No, you haven’t,” answered the writer. “This is my first visit to your town.”

“Ah, it’s the right time to come here. The popular Mark Twain is lecturing tonight.”

“Yes, I know.”

“Have you got a ticket?”

“Not yet.”

“But all the tickets have already been sold out, you’ll have to stand!”

“I’m afraid so,” Twain sighed. ‘That’s my luck. Whenever that fellow is giving a lecture, I always have to stand.”



Once Mark Twain invited a friend of his to spend  (провести) the weekend at his place. On Sunday morning they were having soft boiled eggs for breakfast when Twain’s friend said that it was a pleasure (сплошное удовольствие) to eat such fresh eggs.

“Yes, I get them from the country,” the writer replied, “but speaking of eggs, reminds (напоминает) me of my first lecture tour. One afternoon I came to a small town where I was to lecture in the evening. I wanted to learn whether people knew of my lecture, so I went into a grocer’s, bought something or other, and said to the shop assistant, I’ve just come to your town. Is there anything interesting going on tonight?” ‘Well,” the shop assistant replied, I suppose there will be a lecture because I’ve been selling eggs the whole day.”


Once Mark Twain and a friend of his were going abroad together. It happened that an American editor, who knew them both, was going abroad on the same ship. When the ship was a few days out, the editor invited some people to his cabin for drinks. Mark Twain and his friend were the first to be invited. The editor knew that they were both very witty so he told them, before the party, that he hoped they would each make a speech before the guests left his cabin.

When the time for speeches came, Mark Twain was the first to speak. He spoke for about a quarter ()четверть) of an hour and everybody laughed a lot. Then the editor asked Twain’s friend to make a speech. He stood up and said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, before this party we prepared our speeches together and we decided, just for fun, that Mark Twain would say what I had prepared and I was to what he had. Well, you’ve just heard my speech and I thank you for laughing so much. However, I’m afraid I’ve quite forgotten what he was to say.”

Then Twain’s friend sat down and this made everybody laugh again.



One day Mark Twain and a friend of his were talking about family life.

“Well,” the writer said, “one thing is quite sure, you must be very careful with children and never give them a bad example. Whenever my wife disagrees with me about something, and I feel that we are going to have a quarrel, I always send our children for a walk.”

“Now I see why they are never at home,” Twain’s friend replied smiling.


Twain was very bad at answering letters.   Once a friend of his who had waited for a long time to get an answer from the writer, sent him a sheet of writing paper and a stamp to remind him to write a letter.

A few days later he got a postcard saying, “Thanks for the sheet of writing paper and the stamp. Please send an envelope. Mark Twain”.


From time to time Mark Twain liked to listen to a talented speaker in his town. One day he came up to him  when his speech was over and said, “I enjoyed your speech very much.  It seemed like an old friend to me. You know, I have a book at home containing every word of it.”

“Impossible! cried the speaker. But yes”, the writer replied, “I do have such a book.”

“Will you send it to me, please.  I’d like to see it.” “All right,” Twain said, and the following day he sent him a large dictionary.


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