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LAUGH LINES

Punch Lines

March 25, 1997

Overheard at the Oscar Show: "I think I preferred 'Hamlet.' It was shorter." (Bob Mills)

* "This is a show America can be proud of. It showcases some of our greatest plastic surgeons." (Alan Ray)

* Billy Crystal took suggestions for his job as host, says the Cutler Daily Scoop. "The first suggestion: Don't use the same people who wrote for Letterman."

* "This is a night when even your mechanic is an expert on camera angles." (Jeffrey Tipton)

*

New in Sports: The NBA's New Jersey Nets are piping in fake crowd applause. "The idea is catching on," says the Daily Scoop. "In fact, to make it sound like there are more Knick fans, Madison Square Garden pipes in booing."

The NCAA's final four is set, says Alex Pearlstein. "The defeated teams need to remember that old axiom: It's not whether you win or lose, but who you've named as your agent."

*

Around the Country: Tobacco companies are facing new anti-smoking TV commercials. One says the last three men from Marlboro country died of lung cancer. "Tobacco lawyers say this proves that horseback riding causes lung cancer." (Argus Hamilton)

* Bill Maher thinks Liggett admitted the dangers of smoking for PR. "When was the last time anyone bought a Chesterfield?"

* "Tobacco stocks have taken a big tumble," says Jay Leno. "Philip Morris fell 6 points. They lost so much money, they said they may have to lay off two senators."

The governor of Arkansas wants the words "act of God" taken out of a tornado relief bill so that God will not be blamed for the disaster. "I guess it was one of those artificial tornadoes we've heard so much about," says Jimmy McConnell.

* "Arkansas has enough problems without worrying about ticking off God." (Daily Scoop)

"The national college fraternity Phi Delta Theta has decided to go alcohol-free," says Leno. "It will make their houses pretty easy to spot on campuses. They will be the only frat houses with live, growing shrubbery around them."

Michigan lawmakers have approved a new state slogan, "Great Lakes, Great Times." "They deleted the third part of the original slogan," says Jerry Perisho. " 'Great Big Gas Guzzlers.' "

A new Newsweek poll found that just over half of all Americans say they pray every day. "The numbers may be a little inflated," says Pearlstein. "The magazine apparently counted, 'Please, no more Tom Arnold movies' as a prayer."

*

Reader Sue Hockenmaier was attending an orientation meeting for fifth-graders preparing to attend Cabrillo Middle School in Ventura when she overheard one asking an older student guide about science classes:

"Will we get to digest a frog?"

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