Is this the World’s oldest viola joke?
“There is a joke, if you can call it that, which says the viola (or the sound of the viola, or maybe the people who play the viola – who knows?) is very cold.
Well, it’s not really a joke as such because it has no actual punch line, nor any rational, or even irrational explanation as to why this state should exist. It is presupposing that that is what violas are and thus the effect, notwithstanding the absence of cause, is that somehow being synonymous with very low temperature makes them hilariously funny – over and over. Call me dull, but I really don’t get it. Help me out, someone?
I have never discovered the origin of the joke or, indeed, an explanation. However, I have found that it is quite ubiquitous; wherever you may travel in the universe, apparently, that is what you seem to find. So it has become a sort of folklore – Folklore, schmokelore!
There are many viola jokes (mostly awful, where you simply replace any alleged underdog with the word ‘viola’) but I suspect that this is one of the oldest. So if Absolute Zero is the ultimate cold then it’s an ironic name for a viola quartet, don’t you think? I quite like it, I think I shall write them some music.” From the memoirs of Sancho Engaño, composer. Translated by Alison Thomas – Manager, Absolute Zero Viola Quartet
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