Eric Idle in The New Yorker:
While it is perfectly obvious to everyone that Ben Jonson wrote all of Shakespeare’s plays, it is less known that Ben Jonson’s plays were written by a teen-age girl in Sunderland, who mysteriously disappeared, leaving no trace of her existence, which is clear proof that she wrote them. The plays of Marlowe were actually written by a chambermaid named Marlene, who faked her own orgasm, and then her own death in a Deptford tavern brawl. Queen Elizabeth, who was obviously a man, conspired to have Shakespeare named as the author of his plays, because how could a man who had only a grammar-school education and spoke Latin and a little Greek possibly have written something as bad as “All’s Well That Ends Well”? It makes no sense. It was obviously an upper-class twit who wished to disguise his identity so that Vanessa Redgrave could get a job in her old age.
Many people believe that Richard III not only was a good man who would never hurt a fly but actually wrote “She Stoops to Conquer,” and that the so-called author, Oliver Goldsmith, found the play under a tree in 1773 while visiting Bosworth Field, now a multistory car park (clearly an attempt to cover up the evidence of the ruse). Oscar Wilde’s plays were written by a stable boy named Simon, though Wilde gave them both a good polish. Chaucer was written by a Frenchman on holiday, while Simone de Beauvoir wrote all of Balzac and a good deal of “Les Misérables,” despite the fact that she was not yet born when she did so. Beau Brummell wrote nearly all of Jane Austen, and two men and a cat wrote most of Charles Dickens, with the exception of “A Tale of Two Cities,” which Napoleon wrote while visiting St. Helena. Incidentally, Napoleon was not Napoleon but a man named Trevor Francis, who later turned up playing for Birmingham City.
More here. [Thanks to Maeve Adams.]