A Witty Exchange


George Bernard Shaw (left) and Winston Churchill (right)

When playwright George Bernard Shaw started a new play, he invited Winston Churchill to attend the opening night. He thought of a witty message, then wired the following invitation to Churchill:

Have reserved two tickets for my first night. Come and bring a friend, if you have one.

G Shaw

Churchill was also a known wag so he replied in kind:

Impossible to come first night. Will come second night, if you have one.


I saw this anecdote on Jack Crossley’s Barmy Britain: Bizarre and True Stories from Across the Nation (2008). The book referenced the Reader’s Digest but I’m unable to find any source. So, take this with a grain of salt. For what it’s worth, it makes for an amusing story.

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My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. You can find me on Twitter` and Facebook. My email is edmarklaw@learnfunfacts.com

6 thoughts on “A Witty Exchange

  1. This one’s so famous I was sure the esteemed Quote Investigator would have taken it on. Indeed he did, and the history does involve a couple of Churchhills and Shaw. You can read about it here. Thanks for reminding me of it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I found a few of the references mentioned on that article during my research, but still, it’s authenticity is still doubtful. Thanks for sharing. That’s an informative read.

      I may try to find if there is an earlier reference. Unfortunately, from some of the databases that I have access to, the earliest reference I could find was from a paper from University of Michigan regarding the Conference on Public Health Statistics dated June 1948. It was just included as a filler on its Varieties section.

      Liked by 1 person

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