The roots of mangled proverbs as wordplay are historically distant. In Cervantes' classic Don Quixote, one humorous hallmark of Sancho Panchez was his abuse of proverbs; Sancho piled proverb on proverb, using garbled and inflated language, often citing them where inapplicable. The long-running radio show Easy Aces brought the form to modern mass entertainment as early as 1931. "You've got the cards before the horse," "the laugh's on the other foot," and "familiarity breeds attempt" were a few of comedienne Jane Ace's insights on the show.
"Old Saws Repaired,"
Word Ways: Vol. 38
, Article 21.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.butler.edu/wordways/vol38/iss4/21