LAUGH LINES : Punchlines

In the news: In honor of Columbus Day, the Postal Service put up signs Monday to tell customers no one was working, says comedy writer Alan Ray. That way people could tell the difference.

A Virginia woman was arrested after she forgot to return some rented videotapes. Comedy writer Paul Steinberg says it's a good thing she rewound them--she could have gotten life.

The Clintons attended the Martha's Vineyard wedding of actors Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen. Comedy writer Bill Williams says all the stars were there--including Whoopi Goldberg in white face doing her imitation of Newt Gingrich.

Adds comic Steve Tatham: "The Clintons said it's nice to go somewhere where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came."

Cameras have been banned from the upcoming retrial of the Menendez brothers. Says the Cutler Daily Scoop: "Finally, someone in Los Angeles with the sense not to do a sequel."

Adds comedy writer Russ Myers: With so many judges pulling the plug on TV in the courtroom, he expects "Murder One" to end the season as a radio series.


Papal . . . People Who Are Papal . . . : Pope John Paul II began his U.S. tour in Newark, N.J. Comedy writer Argus Hamilton says he had comforting words: "He assured them everyone who lives in Newark won't have to spend much time in Purgatory."

When the Pope preached at Aqueduct Racetrack, says comedy writer Bob DeVinney, all the railbirds turned into doves.

Then it was on to Central Park, where, comedy writer Joe Kevany says, "Police officers did not buy one suspected pickpocket's explanation that he was 'helping to take up the collection.' "


Cirque du O.J.: President Clinton spoke of the "polarization of perception" over the Simpson verdicts. Williams says that means, "If the jury seems inept, you must accept."

* Adds Hamilton: "Simpson plans to cash in on his fame with a new exercise video. You guessed it--he's walking."

* Comedy writer Larry Swerdlow says preliminary results of the LAPD investigation show that Mark Fuhrman really does hate everyone and everything--turns out he's even lactose intolerant.

* In the movie "Devil in a Blue Dress," rogue cops in 1940s L.A. beat Denzel Washington and threaten to plant evidence. Kevany says it looks like Fuhrman's grandfather also spoke to a screenwriter.


Marvin and Joan Jordan of La Quinta say their 2 1/2-year-old grandson, Matthew, was a little nervous about getting his first chest X-ray. To reassure him, his mother told him that the doctor was just going to take a picture of his insides. Matthew nodded that he understood. Then the technician told him to take a deep breath and hold it.

Knowing just what to do, Matthew breathed in, smiled and, through clenched teeth, said "Cheese."

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