Anatoly mentions what he calls “the funniest sentence in the Russian language,” “Коза закричала нечеловеческим голосом” (‘the goat cried out in an inhuman voice’). I googled it and discovered it’s from the notebooks of Sergei Dovlatov, a wonderful writer I discovered for myself back when I was wandering the Russian shelves of the late lamented Donnell Library pulling out books at random. Dovlatov attributes the sentence to “писателя Уксусова” (‘the writer Uksusov’); this story by Mikhail Okun repeats Dovlatov’s quote but attributes it to one Ivan Muskusov, “one of the most ancient members of the Union of Writers,” whose only remembered work was the two-volume Наш великий век (Our great century/age), from which he claims the quote is taken… but “Не исключено, впрочем, что Сергей Донатович мог придумать это сам. Но не перечитывать же теперь весь Наш великий век для установления окончательной истины!” (‘It is not beyond the realm of possibility that Sergei Donatovich thought it up himself. But who’s going to reread the entirety of Our great century to determine the definitive truth?’). Since I can’t find any other trace of the existence of either Uksusov or Muskusov, I’m guessing they’re inventions of Dovlatov and Okun respectively. In any case, it certainly is a funny sentence.