THE 10 MOST HILARIOUS MOMENTS FROM HISTORY
In times of great conflict, a bit of humor goes a long way. These stories are still remembered today for their sheer absurdity, and to us, represent the very best of hilarious historical happenings.
1. American soldier is trapped by Nazis, laughs in their faces, pulls out a machine gun and kills 21.
Remember that scene in “The Deer Hunter” when Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken are forced to play Russian roulette among sadistic Viet Cong? Well, that actually happened, except in real life it was between an American paratrooper named Leonard A. Funk and a band of hysterical Nazis.
Funk was trapped between enemy lines, his comrades kneeling in surrender, when he faced a growling, pissed off German soldier who was grilling him to release information. Not knowing what the hell he was saying, Funk started laughing uncontrollably and soon, other Germans joined in the fun. Once he had them thoroughly distracted, he whipped out his Thompson submachine gun and literally cut the head Nazi in half with bullets. As he reloaded, he screamed for the other Americans to join in the counterattack.
The Germans surrendered. When it was over, Funk hooted, “That was the stupidest fucking thing I’ve ever seen.” What makes this John McLane-like sequence even more absurd is the fact that Funk himself was only 5 foot 6 inches, 140 pounds and looked exactly like Jason Schwartzman. He was awarded the Medal of Honor.
2. Englishmen hang a monkey because they thought it was a Frenchman.
During the Napoleonic Wars, residents of a small Northern England town called Hartlepool witnessed a French ship capsize off the coast. They found that everyone on board died, except for a little monkey, which they saw hanging onto a piece of rubbish. As subjects of severe wartime propaganda, the Englishmen believed that the monkey was an actual Frenchman, but they also saw that the monkey was dressed in full French military regalia which confused them even more. They decided to interrogate the furry creature.
They brought the monkey ashore and administered a trial. When the monkey wouldn’t talk, they assumed it was just being uncooperative. They got fed up and eventually built a makeshift hanging gallows and executed the poor little primate. Today, there is a rugby team out of Hartlepool who fondly call themselves the Monkey Hangers.
3. Big pimpin’ Julius Caesar receives a love letter from Senator Cato. Hilarity ensues.
In 63 B.C., politics of Rome were concerned with treason and conspiracy. One senator in particular, Cato, was basically the Boy Scout of the bunch, calling out evildoers far and wide. One time on the Senate floor Julius Caesar was receiving messages (sort of like today when someone receives a text at the dinner table) and Cato became suspicious. Caesar explained they were just love letters and urged him to drop it.
Cato pushed the matter, accusing Caesar of conspiracy, but Caesar calmly tried to tell him it was nothing. Cato seized the letter, and learned Caesar was right: The love letter came from Cato’s sister telling Caesar that she was deeply in love with him. Cato, obviously mad, hurled the letter at Caesar’s face. Other senators soon became concerned that their wives might be banging Caesar, too, prompting them to look into their wives’ chastity.
4. Australia vs. emus: The Great Emu War of 1932
Following the Great Depression, Australia wanted to make sure their farmers’ wheat production was tip-top. One problem, though, was the massive emu infestation across the country. The large flightless birds harmed crops because they ate and spoiled them. Minister of Defense George Pearce assigned ex-WW1 soldiers to rid the nation of their “problem.”
In the end, the emus won. In one instance, the soldiers found 1,000 emus grouped together and tried to shoot their machine guns, only to have them jam. They even once installed turrets onto trucks and the emus again outsmarted them, fleeing into the bush. The crestfallen Australian troops eventually came to terms with the fact that they lost against birds. Today, there are an estimated 750,000 emus living in Australia.
5. CIA creates “spy cats” to eavesdrop on Soviets during the Cold War.
Operation Acoustic Kitty wasn’t exactly the brightest idea to come out of the Central Intelligence Agency. In the 1960s, they bugged kitties with surveillance equipment in hopes that they would walk around Soviet gatherings and obtain sensitive information. It cost the American taxpayers $20 million.
Needless to say, the experiment failed. Veterinary surgeons implanted cats with microphones, radio transmitters and thin wires, training them to traipse around the Kremlin and Soviet embassies. But the operation would be aborted. During a test run, they dropped a cat near a Soviet compound and watched it mindlessly walk into traffic and get squashed by a taxi. Little did the CIA know, cats are not to be trusted.
6. Richard Nixon has some very homophobic things to say about Bohemian Grove.
Bohemian Grove, if you weren’t aware, is basically like the Bilderberg Meetings we’ve all heard about, except they take place in San Francisco. The most powerful men in the world converge here once a year to discuss policy, bro out and wax hipster about art.
In 1971, Richard Nixon was caught talking smack about this elitist sausage fest, in a very non-PC way: “The Bohemian Grove, that I attend from time to time –the Easterners and the others come there –but it is the most faggy goddamn thing you could ever imagine, that San Francisco crowd that goes in there; it’s just terrible. I mean, I won’t shake hands with anybody from San Francisco.”
7. President of France dies of a blow job.
One night in February 1899, French president Felix Faure was doing his usual mistress thing with 30-year-old Marguerite Steinheil, who was well-known as the type of girl who would “get around” with a lot of rich and important men. Legend has it that she was giving President Faure such an incredible blow job that he suffered a stroke and died. Steinheil earned the reputation as someone who “exercised a curious spell upon all the men with whom she came in contact.” This femme fatale would literally suck the life out of France’s most prominent politician.
8. Boris Yeltsin hails a cab outside the White House in his underwear on a drunken quest for pizza.
In 1995, Secret Service agents alerted President Bill Clinton that his esteemed guest Russian PresidentBoris Yeltsin was found on Pennsylvania Avenue hailing a cab. He was in his underwear and totally blacked out. When asked what he was doing, Yeltsin said that he just wanted pizza. One could safely assume Yeltsin had a bad influence on Clinton, as they were buddies and often got into silly bromance antics with each other.
9. Roman soldier moons Jewish pilgrims, killing thousands.
In the decades after Christ was born, Jerusalem was occupied by Rome. In 80 A.D., ancient historianFlavius Josephus wrote down what he noted as the first mooning ever.
As the story goes, Jewish pilgrims made their way to Jerusalem during Passover. High atop the town parapets were Roman soldiers who kept an eye on the crowds in case they agitated. Tensions were high, and one Roman soldier pulled down his gown and exposed his buttocks, making farting sounds. This caused the Jews to riot. By the time the riot subsided, the overreacting Romans killed thousands. Mooning! What is it good for?
10. Attila the Hun dies of a nosebleed on his wedding night.
A man whose life was rife with killing and conquering massive swaths of land died in the most unceremonious of ways. The night he was meant to marry the beautiful Ildiko, his nose bled as he slept, causing him to drown in his own blood. Some historians believe that he drank too much that night (he was a total party animal) and suffered an exploding hemorrhoid in his esophagus. The ruler of the Huns, a terrifying leader who would wage ruthless campaigns across thousands of miles, died like a bitch.