Oscar Wilde, who once famously quipped, "Only my genius" when asked by a US Customs official if he had anything to declare, has been voted the UK's top wit in a poll conducted by UKTV channel, Dave.
The Register reports that Wilde pipped Spike Milligan for top spot in the poll which included other notable wits such as Winston Churchill, Noel Coward, Jeremy Clarkson, Brian Clough and Stephen Fry.
Wilde, it continues, secured first position with classic one-liners such as: "I can resist everything except temptation"; "Work is the curse of the drinking classes"; and his final words, "Either those curtains go or I do".
Spike Milligan was celebrated for quips including his gravestone's inscription reading "I told you I was ill" and "How long was I in the army? Five foot eleven".
Stephen Fry rated third, will be long remembered for "I don't need you to remind me of my age. I have a bladder to do that for me" and "Many people would no more think of entering journalism than the sewage business – which at least does us all some good".
Dave's Top 10 list, with appropriate quote, is as follows:
Oscar Wilde: "America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilisation in between."
Spike Milligan: "A sure cure for seasickness is to sit under a tree."
Stephen Fry: "It is a cliché that most clichés are true, but then like most clichés, that cliché is untrue."
Jeremy Clarkson (on the Maserati Quattroporte): "In a list of the five most rubbish things in the world, I'd have America's foreign policy at five. AIDS at four. Iran's nuclear programme at three. Gordon Brown at two and Maserati's gearbox at number one. It is that bad."
Sir Winston Churchill: "Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put."
Paul Merton: "I'm always amazed to hear of air crash victims so badly mutilated that they have to be identified by their dental records. What I can't understand is, if they don't know who you are, how do they know who your dentist is?"
Noel Coward: "I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me."
William Shakespeare: "Being born is like being kidnapped. And then sold into slavery."
Brian Clough: "I wouldn't say I was the best manager in the business, but I was in the top one."
Liam Gallagher: "I suppose I do get sad, but not for too long. I just look in the mirror and go, 'What a f***ing good-looking f*** you are.' And then I brighten up."
More wit and witticisms at www.uktv.co.uk/dave .