Tolkien’s Humour

He could laugh at anybody, but most of all at himself, and his complete lack of any sense of dignity could and often did make him behave like a riotous schoolboy. At a New Year’s Eve party in the nineteen-thirties he would don an Icelandic sheepskin hearthrug and paint his face white to impersonate a polar bear, or he would dress up as an Anglo-Saxon warrior complete with axe and chase an astonished neighbour down the road. Later in life he delighted to offer inattentive shopkeepers his false teeth among a handful of change. ‘I have,’ he once wrote, ‘a very simple sense of humour, which even my appreciative critics find tiresome.’

J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography, by Humphrey Carpenter, 134.

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