What’s the fastest gag off the bat in all literature? My money goes on the first line of English Renaissance dramatist Ben Jonson’s classic comedy Volpone:
VOLPONE: Good morning to the day; and next, my gold!
Okay it doesn’t look great written down, but in a good performance it gets a laugh straight away, and paints an instant picture of a miserly man whose first thought on rising from his slumber is his personal wealth.
Can anyone beat that? It has to be either faster or funnier.