Said the actress to the bishop From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia "That's what she said" redirects here. For the EP by The Friday Night Boys, see That's What She Said (EP). For the song by The Automatic, see That's What She Said (song). For the 2012 film, seeThat's What She Said (film).
"Said the actress to the bishop", is an informal (and usually vulgar) exclamation, said for humour in the form of a punch line after an inadvertent double entendre. The equivalent phrase in North America is "that's what she said". Both phrases are examples of Wellerisms, a literal "turn" of a phrase, changing its meaning. The versatility of the phrase and its popularity lead some to consider it a cliché.
On occasion, the gender may be swapped, as in "said the bishop to the actress", or "that's what he said".
History and background
"Said the actress to the bishop"
The phrase is frequently used by the fictional character Simon Templar (alias "The Saint") in a long-running series of mystery books by Leslie Charteris. The phrase first appears in the inaugural Saint novel Meet the Tiger, published in 1928.
"That's what she said"
By 1973, "that's what she said" had already been characterized as an "ancient one-liner"; it was popularized as a recurring joke in the Saturday Night Live sketch Wayne's World. In the movie of the same name, the eponymous character, Wayne, uses the phrase after his partner Garth says, "Are you finished yet? I'm getting tired of holding this" in regard to a picture he is holding.
In the original BBC version of The Office, Ricky Gervais's character David Brent frequently used the phrase "as the actress said to the bishop" as an inappropriate joke. When the show was adapted for American audiences, the phrase was translated to "that's what she said" for Steve Carell's character Michael Scott. "That's what she said" became a catchphrase of The Office and was used for the show's "That's What She Said" Sweepstakes.