“Dickens is able to go on being funny because he is in revolt against authority, and authority is always there to be laughed at. There is always room for one more custard pie.”—Fifty Orwell Essays
I don’t know if I have tasted a custard pie. What did Orwell want to say by refering to this sort of food? Are custard pies funny?
I guess that the following is not related to my question:
I like the question because I spent a full year of my life reading almost exclusively Orwell’s books and essays.
Still, I don’t have a good answer.
Custard pies are traditionally thrown in the face of obnoxious people, whether politicians or celebrities, for whatever reason. It has become a way of publicly making a fool of someone who takes him or herself too seriously.
Here’s one I found on youtube: TV Presenter gets custard pie in his face - YouTube
Here’s another one for our friends learning Brazilian Portuguese: [OFF] Torta na cara de Jose Genoíno (2014) - Pie in the face of Jose Genoíno (Corrupt politician) - YouTube
OMG I hate Anne Coulter: Anne Coulter gets a Pie - YouTube
“Custard pie” is British. An American would say “a pie in the face.” We do have custard pies, but our idiom here is a bit different. The meaning is the same, a pompous, over-serious person is made to look ridiculous. I think the whole business goes back to vaudeville days around 1900 when such physical comedy was common. These days, the “custard” is usually whipped cream or shaving cream – not a real pie, just symbolic.