Monday 12 March 2018

The Monarch of Mirth

Sad news today that Ken Dodd, our greatest comedian, has died. He reached a good age, was active till very near the end, and even got round to making an honest woman of his partner of 40 years just before he died (let's hope she doesn't inherit any tax bills).
 Dodd was perhaps the last of the comedians who honed their craft in the music halls, and he was always first and foremost a stage comedian, with a quite astonishing gift for working an audience. I saw him in action once and I've never experienced anything like it. You might start with all kinds of reservations, you might even wonder what you're doing there – but within minutes you and everybody else in the audience will be eating out of his hand, and within not many more minutes you will be laughing as you've never laughed before at a stage comedian. Dodd could reduce any audience to helpless, weeping laughter – and it was a mystery how he did it. He didn't tell many jokes as such, and much of his material was on the corny side – it was, emphatically, the way he told them, and the extraordinary atmosphere of happiness and mirth he generated. His shows went on for hours, with bizarre musical interludes and singalongs, but you didn't care; for the time he was on the stage, all was well with the world. His comedy was a classic case of 'You had to be there', and I'm very glad that, on one occasion, I was. We'll certainly never see his like again.
 This link should take you to Dodd doing his vent act...