"I'm sorry folks. I don't mean to disturb you, to hassle or dismay you. But I've lost my job, my mother died, I'm cold and I'm hungry. Trying to get some money together for a bed for the night. If you can find it in your hearts to spare something; anything. Some change... Food even..."
There's some shuffling with wallets and a lot of averted eyes. He changes tack.
"It's raining today. Real hard. I used to have an umbrella. Then Chris Brown stole it to beat up Rihanna."
For a minute this seems to work. A wired group of young girls laughed and got up to pole-dance around the subway car's pole. I could have told them from painful experience that there's really not enough space.
So some people suck in their breath and shake their heads and some people laugh. Thing is, I'm not sure how much money he got.
I understand Mr Panhandler's dilemma. There's nothing quite like a quip for making you feel like the King of the F train - but only if you pull it off. My problem is that I generally end up laughing alone. Like when I picked up the new edition of Time Out New York to see it was po-facedly blazoned with the logo "Spas issue". Even typing it now makes me snicker. When I try to explain why it was so funny - "come on people, you were in the playground in the nineties too..." - they look at me like I'm making fun of people with mental health issues.
"Who's watching the Watchman? We are!" Again, this rendered me helpless with glee, despite the fact that some Marketing impresario has almost certainly beaten me to this little gem. It's like when I had the idea for yogurts you could add fruit to and then Muller started selling their Fruit Corners. Literally, right after. Now I know how Willy Wonka must have felt about those everlasting gobstoppers.
Resolutely underwhelmed by either my "funnies" or my tales of dairy espionage, Chris offers a pun of his own which withered unappreciated. He was asked if one of his donors, Daphne Guinness, was from the Guinness family. He answered: "Yes, definitely. She came to see War-Horse and it took her a good three or four minutes to settle properly."