Noël Coward was born in 1899 at the peak of the British Empire, the greatest empire in history, on which the Sun never set. "Mad Dogs And Englishmen" satirizes the Colonials who ran this Empire, and who in the 1930s were still administering it as if they ruled the Earth. To emphasize this he included a few bars of "Rule, Britannia!
" The song was first performed in The Third Little Show
at the Music Box Theatre, New York, on June 1, 1931, by Beatrice Lillie. Shortly it went into the revue Words And Music
, and then into Coward's own cabaret act. "Mad Dogs And Englishman" was Prime Minister Winston Churchill's favorite Coward song.