My Fair Lady: the pun that nobody noticed

It has come to my attention that a substantial number of people do not realise that the title of My Fair Lady is a pun. It’s a play on the way a Lisson Grove-raised flower girl like Eliza Doolittle might pronounce Mayfair, if she wasn’t really a cockney at all but merely a Hollywood actor pretending to be one. Mayfair/Myfair – the drooping, elongated ‘y’ is a classic, if exaggerated,  symptom of the cockney mode of speaking,

Say it yourself in your best, daftest, Eliza Doolittle accent – Mwyyyy Fair. Sounds a bit like Mayfair, doesn’t it? If you don’t believe me, here’s Alan Franks saying the same thing, eventually.

So there you are. Here’s a scene from the film with Audrey showing off her accent at its very worst.

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4 responses to “My Fair Lady: the pun that nobody noticed

  1. Thank you so much for pointing this out. I’ve loved this film for as long as I can remember and thought I knew it backwards, but that had never struck me. Just goes to show, a really good work of art can keep on surprising you.

  2. The London Equality Group has a fairly obvious pun which its built an income inequality reduction campaign at http://www.myfairlondon.org.uk/ there’s a petition for both the public and all the mayoral candidates to support, do take a look.

  3. Horse Badorties

    Yes! I watched it over the weekend and later,realizing that Higgines lives on Wimpole Street, it occurred to me that the title would be heard as if an Eastender was saying “Mayfair”. Hence My Fair..I got most excited when I made this discovery and think it may be one of the great theatrical pranks..glad I’m not totally alone on this..

  4. Haha, I had never actually realised this before.
    Well noticed.

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