Twenty Bits of Shakespeare Trivia You Probably Haven’t Heard Before

Bardfilm has compiled a list of unknown Shakespeare trivia. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Twenty Bits of Shakespeare Trivia You Probably Haven’t Heard Before:

  1. All the plays and poems attributed to Shakespeare were really written by a little girl named Prosperina Del Factotum.
  2. The character of Hamlet was modeled on a large fish given to the Queen on 3 February 1578.
  3. When you read Hamlet’s Soliloquy backward, the words “Paul is Dead” are clearly audible.
  4. In addition to writing the plays, Shakespeare was also an actor. He played the ghost in Hamlet, Adam in As You Like It, and Vikki the Space Vampire in Macbeth.
  5. Only six of Shakespeare’s signatures survive. They range in spelling from “S-h-a-x-p-e-r” to “B-e-n-n-y.”
  6. None of the portraits of Shakespeare are of Shakespeare. They’re all of another man of the same name who dressed as Shakespeare to elude tax collectors.
  7. King Lear was originally marketed as a comedy. Audiences loved the slapstick of the storm scene, and they fell all over themselves when a senile old man couldn’t tell if his daughter was dead or alive!
  8. The Sonnets have always been misinterpreted. They’re really the sixteenth-century equivalent of Marley and Me.
  9. In his youth, he drank too much. This led to the expression “He’s as tight as Andronicus.”
  10. His sexual orientation is pretty clear. He was either homosexual, bisexual, or straight.
  11. He coined many words and phrases, including “bombshell,” “rockin’,” “Hoosier Daddy,” and “Ow!”
  12. Many of the words Shakespeare used had a double entendre as a secondary meaning. If you knew what “be,” “question,” “mind,” “slings,” and “arrows” meant in Shakespeare’s day, you’d never stop blushing.
  13. If you read every 39th word in the First Folio, you get a good recipe for Tater Tot Casserole.
  14. Every word in En Vogue’s “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)” is taken directly from Pericles, Prince of Tyre.
  15. Shakespeare, Gertrude Stein, and Mark McGuire once traveled in the same car on the Orient Express.
  16. Contrary to expectation, Shakespeare never did. Shake a spear, that is. But he wrote many bit parts for spear shakers, which is how he got his name.
  17. His second trip to Hollywood culminated in two pilot episodes of The Love Boat (one that is lost).
  18. Shakespeare did not wear a ruff. He was half human and half Australian Frilled Lizard.
  19. Not long after his death, he was called “The Cygnet of the Cenotaph.” “Swan of Avon” came later.
  20. The original ending of Richard III had Richmond shout “Who da winter of your discontent NOW, Dickie?”

Our thanks for this guest post to kj, the author of Bardfilm. Bardfilm is a blog that comments on films, plays, and other matters related to Shakespeare.

2 thoughts on “Twenty Bits of Shakespeare Trivia You Probably Haven’t Heard Before

  1. AS young poets of today would say: RFLOL, LOL, etc.

    Great trivia


    1. After getting drunk with the Scarring Party, Giggles the Clown decided to put on the Ring Master’s tux and ride the elephant.*

    2. Berthold Brecht would routinely kidnap Marlene Dietrich and try to seduce her by playing the Scarring Party.

    3. Django Reinhart pulled the Scarring Party from a burning building and despite his injuries shrugged if off, saying “They’d do the same for me.” **

    4. For the sequel to Amélie, Yann Tiersen steps aside and asks the Scarring Party to supply the score.

    5. If you see Franz Kafka on the bus, it’s a good bet he’s listening to the Scarring Party on his i-pod.

    6. Keanu Reeves listens to Death Cab for Cutie. Chuck Norris listens to the Scarring Party.

    7. Louis Armstrong was a life-long proponent of a brand of laxatives known as Swiss Kriss. ***

    8. The Wisconsin General Assembly passed a referendum redefining the Scarring Party as a union between a man and a woman.

    9. When Marilyn Monroe was making love to Arthur Miller, she would close her eyes and fantasize about the Scarring Party.

    10. The Scarring Party is what the whole hep world would be doing on Saturday night if the Nazis had won the war. They are the Sixth Reich.****

    * The elephant had other ideas.

    ** And they would, too.

    *** I don’t know how this relates to the Scarring Party, except I kept thinking about it when I first watched them perform

    **** This is how Hunter S. Thompson described Circus Circus, but I’ll bet if he’d met the Scarring Party…

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