Category: humour

All Ears

Sitting on the seat at the front of the bus is fun. You get to watch the road ahead which helps to pass the time. You also get to hear snatches of conversation from people about to get off. Here is a fragment from midnight last night which got me wondering how the conversation continued:

He:      So what did you expect from this evening?

She:    That elusive spark.

Have you overheard any intriguing titbits recently?

 

Image result for overheard

 

Image: Beer: Simple

 

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There will now be a short interlude …

Ten days between posts constitutes a break in transmission. Keen not to make a bad Impression and anxious to avoid “dead air” while still struggling to think of anything to broadcast, I will emulate the 1950s practice of good old Auntie BBC and fill the gap with an Interlude.

The principle, it seems, was to calm the audience who might otherwise get carried away with the excitement of continuous mental stimulus. In those days, with only one television channel, we had to sit through whatever tedium they chose to inflict upon us. But now, sensitive as I am to the modern preference for choice, here is a selection of interludes for your viewing pleasure.

If you have time to kill, you may choose to watch them all. If, however, you are pressed for time you may want to skip to the final example – a fairly brief spoof version from the 1990s.

As they used to say, don’t get square eyes …

Shock and Awe

For my final comedy clip, I’ve chosen a few moments that barely raise a laugh … more of a gasp, if truth be told. Very few comedians before or since can rival Bill Hicks in sheer, dangerous, furious bravery and this short sequence is something of a masterclass in satire.

The words are spare and there is as much mime as message. He doesn’t preach or hector – at least, not here – but simply allows the story imagery to do its work. His silences draw us in, making us complicit in calling a whole world of moral priority into question and leaving us with nagging discomforts that may yet – who knows? – translate into worldwide policy changes. We should Pursue such ideals with a vengeance.

I’m not holding my breath, though …

Pride Cometh Before A Fall

Here are two funny moments from the BBC sitcom Only Fools And Horses. We laugh at Del Boy’s attempt to impress the ladies and at his younger brother Rodney’s attempt to regain his lost dignity. You may have seen these before but it’s well worth focussing on the seriously deluded character Trigger who provides the comic foil in both clips and whose lugubrious, straight-faced clowning is so vital to the humour in each. There’s a sweet innocence about Trigger that contrasts with the brothers’ slightly Bitter edge …

In The Art Gallery

The fourth in my series of comedy moments features Peter Cook and Dudley Moore from their ground-breaking 1960s sketch-show Not Only … But Also. Their wild and zany humour was a refreshing change from the rather buttoned-up comedy of the time – Spike Milligan always the honourable exception, of course – and we particularly looked forward to their Pete & Dud routines, broadcast live in front of a real studio audience.

This left them excitingly vulnerable and Exposed. You never knew what would happen and neither, half the time, did they – although how much was planned and how much was spontaneous is still a moot point. Peter admitted that he tried to make Dudley laugh and it’s obvious in both of these extracts that the latter is trying hard not to – but if all this strikes you as rather juvenile, please remember that we were still at school and had to battle fits of the giggles in front of solemn and frequently pompous teachers almost every day …

 

Storm in a Teacup

My admiration for the US sitcom Frasier knows no bounds. There has never been a Better comedy series. The writing is sharp, the performances wonderful and the fully-believable characters are held together by deep bonds that replicate real life.

There are many clips on YouTube and this moment – from an episode I’ve never seen – struck me as a great example: the understated playing by Frasier’s screen family providing the perfect setting for melodramatic grand guignol acting from the mismatched couple, high tragedy crashing and burning into low farce. The ending is at once astonishing and understandable.

I find myself laughing as much out of amazement at its daring theatricality as I do from delight at its comedy.

Yer What?

My grandma used to complain she could understand None of the words in pop songs.

A more common problem, perhaps, is mishearing particular words or phrases. These errors are known as mondegreens and come from Lady Mondegreen, a misinterpretation of the phrase laid him on the green from the traditional ballad ‘The Bonny Earl of Murray’.

My search for stuff that makes me laugh – beginning with Spike Milligan in my previous post – continues with this wonderful (if slightly bawdy) example of stand-up comedy from Peter Kay. I was born in Bolton and can confirm that most people from Lancashire are funny, if not quite this amusing …