You know, I go to the theatre to be entertained. I don’t want to see plays about rape, sodomy and drug addiction…I can get all that at home.
Not satirical, just a good old fashion gag, from the godfather of British Satire – Peter Cook
I’d rather not quote other people, but I find it hard not to with Peter; so many people have great things to say about him. So, from Stephen Fry we have this testament to Peter’s greatness:
“There was the famous occasion when Peter addressed a group of revellers at a lunch celebrating 25 years of Private Eye. Almost everyone who was there, myself included, will tell you it was the funniest, most brilliant speech they had ever heard. But ask us to recall the jokes and there will be a complete blank. Peter’s funniest performances were generally of this impromptu, unscripted variety.”
I’ve always been after the trappings of great luxury. But all I’ve got hold of are the trappings of great poverty. I’ve got hold of the wrong load of trappings, and a rotten load they are too, ones I could have very well done without.
Something a bit older now from an extremely influential figure in modern British comedy; someone who was regarded as the leading light of the British satire boom of the 1960’s
Peter Cook has been described by Stephen Fry, no less, as “the funniest man who ever drew breath” – a tremendous accolade by someone I consider as incredibly influential in the modern era of comedy – so great heed should be taken of this
I’m not saying my wife’s a bad cook, but she uses a smoke alarm as a timer.
Ha ha – yes, another quip from a true master of the ad-lib
On 12 June 2007, Monkhouse posthumously appeared on a British TV advertisement promoting awareness of prostate cancer for Male Cancer Awareness Week. He talking about the disease seriously, interspersed with humorous asides such as “What killed me kills one man per hour in Britain. That’s even more than my wife’s cooking” – a true master of comedy if ever there was one.
The title of this post came from the prostate cancer advert
My wife said: “Can my mother come down for the weekend?” So I said “Why?” and she said “Well, she’s been up on the roof two weeks already”.
Back to some good old gags now from one of the best in the business, Bob Monkhouse
Bob Monkhouse was a respected stand-up comedian and especially known for his talent at ad-lib and TV shows. He was awarded the Lifetime Achievement for Comedy honour in 1995 and was voted one of the top 50 comedy acts in 2005.
Bob: Back in time for a drink, watch the box this afternoon – that’s what a weekend should be – sport, sleep, slippers and sex.
Terry: Not necessarily in that order.
Something pretty old now, but still very fondly remembered – The likely Lads was first shown in black and white TV for the first 3 series. It later returned in the 70’s as Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads and was even more popular in colour.
The Likely Lads
Terry Collier and Bob Ferris are two completely different teenagers who are learning to cope with working life in the North-East of England. Bob is ambitious, a social climber and willing to work hard to get what he wants. Terry is just out for a good time and wants nothing more than beer, girls and football.
Captain Keene: Fire at will!
Brother Belcher: Poor old Will, why do they always fire at him?
A true British institution; self defacing, comical slapstick, intermixed with sexual innuendo, that is what made the Carry On films so popular.
Carry On Up The Khyber
Littered with comic performances and quips, Carry On Up The Khyber (number 16 in the series of films) told the story of the English occupation in India and how the Devils in Skirts (men in Kilts) proved so scary; they wore nothing underneath the skirt. A battle ensues between the Indian Burpa’s and the English regiment, when it seemed to be proven that they actually did wear something under their skirt and therefore not so scary. Almost defeated, the regiment form a line and lift their kilts, this time exposing their (implied) lack of underwear. The invading Burpa’s are terrified, and retreat at once.
They laughed when I said I was going to be a comedian. They’re not laughing now.
Famed for his quick-fire quips, encyclopaedic memory of jokes and effortless ability to improvise. this comedian entertained million over several decades.
Bob Monkhouse was an actor, comedian, game show host – in fact, there was not much he would not turn his hand to. Famed for his quick ad-lib one-liners there are many, many quotes we could use here.
You’re worse than a fly ’round a cow’s ****hole
A blast from the past now, from another TV program, the like of which is unlikely ever to be created again. Set in the sixties and seventies, Steptoe and Son was a classic comedy program about two rag and bone men. Crude, rude, squalid, unkempt, penny-pinching and unsophisticated (at least Albert was and Harold aspired to be) this explosive father and son combination was the must-watch TV program of the day
Steptoe and Son
Today, a lot of the humour and acting is probably too un-PC and very rough around the edges, but it still holds its appeal. Society of today may not totally understand the situation comedy, it initially being in black and white may also seem odd and date it even more, the chemistry and friction of the father and son relationship was plain to see, something that mimicked the two actors relationship in real life.
The title of the post is Harold’s favorite saying about his father…
A pint? Why, that’s very nearly an armful!
This quote was from a very famous and popular series from the 1950’s and 60’s – The Blood Donor is arguably the most famous of this comics TV series, Hancock’s Half Hour.
A troubled genius, who was never satisfied with his work, Tony Hancock sadly committed suicide, but his talent, comedy and personality will forever be etched in British TV and radio history.
The script with the above line says:
Doctor: I’ve just taken a small sample to test.
Tony: A sample? How much do you want then?
Doctor: A pint, of course.
Tony: A pint? Have you gone raving mad? Oh, well, of course . . . I mean, you must be joking.
Doctor: A pint is a perfectly normal quantity to take.
Tony: You don’t seriously expect me to believe that. I mean, I came in here in all good faith to help my country. I don’t mind giving a reasonable amount, but a pint . . . why that’s very nearly an armful.
I’m sorry. I’m not walking around with an empty arm for anybody . .. No, I’m sorry, I’ve been misinformed, I’ve made a mistake . . . I’ll do something else, I’ll be a traffic warden.
Contraceptives should be used on all conceivable occasions
Another true genius of British comedy, and just a tad eccentric too. Spike Milligan was a comedian, writer, musician, poet, playwright, soldier and actor and graced the world of theatre, radio and TV for several decades.
Spike was probably most famous for his time with “The Goons” which produced some groundbreaking comedy and a partnership with the 3 other Goons that lasted beyond their graves. After the death of Harry Secombe, a well-known singer, Millgan said, “I’m glad he died before me, because I didn’t want him to sing at my funeral.” In a fitting comedy tribute, a recording of Secombe singing was played at Milligan’s memorial service.
Probably Spike’s most famous line was on his own headstone:
“Duirt mé leat go raibh mé breoite”
which is Irish for:
“I told you I was ill.”