Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 86

‘As the actress said to the bishop….’ vs ‘That’s what she said…..’




So, if you know me well, or even if you’ve only met me for half an hour, you will know I have a penchant for innuendo. How I love its underhand smuttiness in a ‘Carry On…’, 70s-there-goes-my-bloomers sort of way (USA peeps, see here for details about the ‘Carry On….’ films 🙂

Innuendo lightens the mood and is almost an acceptable way of saying something a bit rude in certain company or being harmlessly suggestive. I just find it funny that things can have double entendres, because that is the joy of language.

Anyway, one of my favourite past-times is to use the phrase ‘As the actress said to the bishop’ quite a lot after somebody has said something that warrants it. My ex-office chums in the UK can qualify this was an at least thrice-daily occurence (yes, I can visualise them nodding their heads).

So, in order to break the ice with some Americans I have been using this amusing phrase in certain situations.

For example:
– At gym class, putting weights on my bar for the next round: ‘I can never get a new one on in time for the next session.’ (Me: ‘As the actress said to the bishop’).
– Again, at gym class, whilst trying to pick up a big weight: ‘The big ones are always harder to hold.’ (Me: ‘As the actress said to the bishop’).
– During an evening out: ‘If it’s too hot to put in your mouth, waft it around a bit.’ (Me: ‘As the actress said to the bishop’).

And so on. You get the idea, I’m sure 🙂

Then I learn that the reason that I am getting very little reaction to my hilarious response, is that Americans don’t use this phrase and have, in fact, a phrase of their very own…..’That’s what she said.’

Now I do declare that the British and American senses of humour are very, very different. For example, we would not find Jimmy Kimmel funny, and they would not find Joe Pasquale funny….oh, hang on, neither do we…..let me try again…..Jack Dee?

Anyway, it is a cultural difference that will always exist, although there are exceptions to the rule in the form of Cheers (we like) and Monty Python (they like).

We British are inherently ruder, though, it has to be said. And of that, I am proud 🙂

So, I decided to do my research into this new phrase, which does not initially strike me as very funny at all.

But, it actually is – but only if it’s said with the correct intonation and by the right person, who really, really means it in a rude way, just like we would really, really mean ours.

Here’s some stuff to help you Brits understand the ‘That’s what she said’ phrase…. (Some funny, some just trying too hard ‘That’s what she said’ stories’ (How the US version of The Office uses it – David Brent’s character, played by Steve Carell, says it almost as much as me!! This is where I begin to find it pretty funny, because he uses it perfectly.)
and (A reminder about our British phrase and how we love it.)


So, I was in boxing last night and I thought I would try it out….
We’re being told about the 30 second beep in boxing…. ‘The beep is there so you know the end is coming and you really have to put a last minute effort in to get to the end.’ (Me: ‘That’s what she said’)…..tumbleweed, stunned silence and….laughter! It works!!!!

And now I find it funny and I have used it again today, and I will always have it on the tip of my tongue (‘That’s what she said…..’) 🙂 🙂 🙂 You knew that was coming didn’t you…..oh stop now! 🙂


This entry was posted in Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 86

  1. ThatOtherGuy says:

    You should send this to Mind The Gap.

  2. ian bolden says:

    Am sure this will go down very well as The Actress said to the Bishop xxxxx

  3. Charlotte Jones says:

    Love your sense of humour Claire! Keep them coming…(as the art mistress said to the gardener.)

  4. EmmaK says:

    “Thanks for the tip”
    As the prostitute said to the leper
    Er, I digress, I never heard anyone say “That’s what she said” but I will definitely give it a whirl and see if hilarity ensues!!

  5. Judy Ratner says:

    Was introduced to your blog by Jaquie Ross – hope to meet up soon!
    Btw, my dad use to say ‘as the art mistress said to the gardner’. At five years old I had no clue what he was on about. I did later, though 🙂

  6. Debbie Price says:

    I think I prefer the actress/bishop comeback. Yes, I know I’m an American, but my heart is in Britain!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s