When I was very young, somebody bought me a collection of "Irish Joke Books." They wouldn't be sold these days. And they have not, as far as I am aware, left me thinking the Irish are any funnier or less intelligent than the English.
But I'm pretty sure that they contained the joke at the end of this recording of the irreplaceable Dave Allen.
Which gives me pause for thought. If I don't even think the joke was new when Dave Allen did it - then how come Giles Fraser thinks it was Ian Paisley that said it?
This worries me. Giles Fraser uses the story in support of a rather odd survey saying that clergy should not tell jokes in the pulpit. He is saying that only someone of genuinely quick sense of humour, as the Late Dr Paisley was, should use humour.
See, I don't get it. I'm not aware that Ian Paisley ever had a reputation as an after dinner speaker. I didn't know he had a sense of humour.
And I really really don't think that Ian Paisley would think the damnation of other human beings would be the source of entertainment and light-hearted quippery.
In other words I'm not convinced Ian Paisley said this.
I've over-thought this a bit, haven't I?