As a card-carrying curmudgeon, I have always been a fan of W. C. Fields. His pessimistic view of the human race and its foibles rivalled that of H. L. Mencken, another favorite. In 1939 W. C. Fields wrote and starred in “You Can’t Cheat An Honest Man.” Wikipedia describes the plot:
Fields plays “Larsen E. Whipsnade”, the owner of a shady carnival that is constantly on the run from the law. The whimsical title comes from a line spoken by Fields about ten minutes into the film. Whipsnade says that his grandfather Litvak’s last words, spoken “just before they sprung the trap”, were: “You can’t cheat an honest man; never give a sucker an even break, or smarten up a chump.” … The character name is obviously a play on “larceny“, a point which Fields reinforces at one point when someone calls him “Larceny Whipsnake”.
Another website, IMBd, described the storyline in this fashion: ”Larson E. Whipsnade runs a seedy circus which is perpetually in debt.” [Note, it is unclear whether the first name coined by Fields was spelled Larsen or Larson. Both appear in various places.]
A Seedy Circus Which Is Perpetually In Debt
Government is exhausted. It, like Whipsnade’s circus, is out of resources, ideas