A Conversation for Ask h2g2

Yes, Minister question

Post 1


I was watching this episode of Yes Minister the other day, and there's this one bit where Sir Humphrey comments about how the minister cannot tell his "A-cas from his Nalgo" (hope I spelt those right - Thats how they're pronounced... it definitely wasnt 'a******e from his earhole')

Now, the audience (the background laughter), which normally doesn't laugh out loud as much, went ga-ga at this particular remark.

I'm surely demonstrating my feeble grasp of the English language, but would someone be so kind as to explain this?


Yes, Minister question

Post 2


Well, the phrase is typlical 'can't tell his a**e from his elbow', which is closer to the utterance of Humphrey.


Yes, Minister question

Post 3

Danny B

ACAS is the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service - a government (?) body set to up to mediate strikes and other industrial disputes

NALGO was the National Association of Local Government Officials before it was merged with other unions to form UNISON.

Geggs is right that Humphrey is using these acronyms in place of arse and elbow in that phrase, to show that Hacker knows nothing about unions and industrial relations.

The audience are laughing so much to cover up for the fact that they don't know anything either smiley - winkeye and because Sir Humphrey nearly said 'arse', which was still a hilarious and shocking concept back in 1980 smiley - biggrin

Yes, Minister question

Post 4


I respectfully disagree, I think you are being way to kind here saying the OTT laughing volume was because Humphrey nearly said arse

I would suggest the OTT laughing, which comes from just 2 or 3 ppl if you listen closely (with the rest at normal volume) was because these 2 or 3 sad pathetic ppl weren't actually laughing, they were using laughter to communicate to everyone else that they got the joke and this shows how much smarter than everyone else they are.

I have no idea who these ppl are but I can state unequivocally that I despise those ppl, it's like that person on the train who thinks his conversation shows him to be so fascinating and have such a great life filled with intellectualism that far surpasses yours, so feels the need to speak extra loud and share his genius with you strangers

My God I hate those

Yes, Minister question

Post 5

Icy North

Studio audiences won't laugh loudly and on time without three or four stooges at the back telling them when.

Yes, Minister question

Post 6

Icy North

Oh, I almost forgot. Welcome to h2g2!

smiley - towel

Yes, Minister question

Post 7

Dmitri Gheorgheni, Post Editor

This is a fascinating conversation - and I've already learned three things I didn't know about British politics, language, and social behaviour...smiley - winkeye

Keep going...you're taking my mind off the loonies in Cleveland...smiley - grovel

Yes, Minister question

Post 8


I hope conversations in Cleveland are better paced smiley - winkeye

Yes, Minister question

Post 9


The only ppl I hate more than ppl who laugh over-loudly to show they got the joke are ppl who, although they appear literate enough to type words like "communicate" and "unequivocally", can't be bothered to type the word "people" in full, or rather more likely think that by using the abbreviation "ppl" they'll look like they're cool and down wiv da yoot or something. I despise those ppppppeeeeeeeooooooppppppllllleeeee.

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