Here’s a reminder of some of the radio comics and comedies so popular in the 1940s and '50s.


Firstly, some of the comics who ranged around in various BBC items, varieties or the like. Gillie Potter was a humorist who held short amusing talks on the BBC, usually starting up with “This is Gillie Potter, speaking to you in English…” from the imaginary hamlet of Hogsnorton where Lord Marshmallow was the local squire. Then there was Bernard Miles, the original country bumpkin whose most famous piece was about a gravedigger-cum-sexton who sharpened his scythe on the face of statues in the graveyard etc., with much of the “urrr,eeee,aaaahh,eee” dialect. Then there was Stanley Holloway, with his famous Lancashire dialect funny poem/monologues like, ‘Alfred and the Lion’, ‘With ‘er ‘ed tucked underneath ‘er arm’, ‘Sam, Sam, pick up thy musket’ are still played on BBC now and again. I am also informed of another former comic:Sandy Powell "Can you hear me mother" (thanks for info. to John Blackwood). Others have written me to ask who used the catchphrase "I've not been well lately..." One Terry Mitchell wrote he believes it was "Reg Dixon (Confidentially) who began his act with "I've not been well..... I've been proper poorly


Nosmo
King was a roving comedian, whose main claim to fame was perhaps that his stage name came to him when he saw some doors with NO SMOKING on, which opened and revealed two words ‘NOSMO’ and ‘KING’. (A former writer for 'The Eagle' has informed me of an alternative explanation: "As to Nosmo King, much of this is correct. But my own interpretation of how he got his name was that he was travelling by train up to London and was in a “No Smoking” compartment. In those days, they didn’t stoop so low as to stick adhesive labels everywhere, but the window had the words etched into the glass. Reading this sand-blasted sign while inside the carriage, the words “No Smoking” were naturally in reverse which had drawn his attention to it." Geoffrey Sumner was lesser known, but played one of the first and best upper class officer twits in various shows, also on TV. Jon Pertwee was another, who told absurd tales and used peculiar voices. ."One was about a 'flopsy bunny' which went too near the railway line to see the trains and 'got 'is flippi' little tail cut orf'.

Catchwords One feature of nearly all comedy shows in the 40s and 50s was the unrelenting use of ‘catchwords’, some phrase or word that would ‘catch on’ and, whenever said, would send the audience into paroxysms of enthusiasm. Tommy Handley’s show seems to have been the original source of these with his cleaner and washerwoman Mrs. Mopp - catchword’ “Can I do you now, sir?” and her "It's being so cheerful as keeps me going", Jack Trains’ Colonel who always said “I don’t mind if I do” (whenever alcohol could be involved), and numerous other characters with each their trademark phrase. 'I'm going down now, sir', "This is Funf speaking" – German spy, spoken by Jack Train. This became a popular telephone catchphrase. "After you, Claude – no, After you Cecil" – moving men spoken (Jack Train and Horace Percival) which phrase became used by RAF pilots as they queued for attack.
Al Read was known for his 'Right monkey' catchword.


Some of the more peculiar catchphrases that arose later were in ‘Take it from Here’ (I think) eg. Jon Pertwee’s, “What’s it matter what you do as long as you tear ‘em up!”; a supposed grandfather who would always be asked his age and reply “I’m ninety-toooo” - with a near-soprano ‘toooo’. In one show (TIFH?) there was a male character whose catchword was “Oh Mavis…”, followed by a couplet. Egs: “Oh Mavis, your teeth are like petals (pause) bicycle pedals’” and “ Oh Mavis, your eyes are like stars (pause) They come out at night.” (But Roger Perry corrects me, correctly no doubt: "As to “Mavis, your eyes are like stars . . . . they come out at night.” My recollection was that it was Mavis’s TEETH that came out at night (which to my way of thinking is more logical). Were Mavis's eyes like 'pools' . . . Football Pools?")
Another catchword sinner was ‘Educating Archie’, but I forget what those were except what
Morton, a character in that show would say ‘Oh! Get in there, Morton!” when he was about to quip. Afterwards he mighs say 'You're very sharp today, Morton'. The Goons (may their tribe increase) had many catchwords, perhaps the most popular one being “He’s fallen in the water”, said by Little Jim, a small boy whose teeth were not yet quite in place, it seems. Also 'You rotten dirty swine', 'Needle-nardle-noo', 'Yin-tong-iddel-i-po'. 'They don’t make ‘em like that any more'. often added 'Can’t get the wood, you know'.

Why audiences faithfully reacted with screams and wild applause to some few absurd words one can but speculate. Perhaps they were all sheep? (But do sheep ever scream or applaud?) At least, in those days, most of the big radio shows had live audiences, but canned laughter may have already been added or used in place of some. I was a big fan even during the war & could eventually imitate many voices. My uncle was able to arrange for us to attend a recording session of Itma at the BBC locale at Aolean Hall, London in about 1949, so I saw them all in the flesh they year before Tommy Handley died. The only suspect thing was that the staff trained the audience in responding properly to the show... they held up boards saying 'Applause' or 'Silence' during certain parts of the show. But fortunately none said 'Laugh'. That was actually unnecessary then. This answers John Weaver's perplexity perhaps "every time a comedian told a joke about some topical (usually political) issue he received a round of applause even if the joke itself fell completely flat. I found that strange". John also writes: "I remember being perplexed even at a young age why the studio audience always burst out laughing at the first utterance of those well-worn and highly unoriginal sound bites. It was almost as though they had been waiting in such anticipation that the laughter was as much for relief as mirth. Although I must admit that when I was taken to see another of my favourites, Rob Wilton, live on stage, I did let out a boyish chuckle when he began, as I knew he would, with 'The day war broke out, my missus said to me ...' that I had heard so often on the radio."Also 'needle-nardle-noo

REGULAR RADIO COMEDY SHOWS

1) ITMA! If anyone asks "What is that?", the reply is, "It's Whitey-Whitey K!" - "And what's that??" Reply: "You're too young to know". That was an ITMA gag. The comedy series immortalised the phrase 'ta-ta-for-now', abbreviated to TTFN. Tommy Handley was the kingpin and a commonplace hero to the troops and the 'home front' alike. Yes, that was ITMA - & 'It's That Man Again' originally meant Hitler, who was always depressingly and boringly in the news from the 30s onwards, but it came only to mean Tommy Handley! The genius at voices, who did many characters on that programmes, predominant impressionist on many a BBC comedy programme, I thought was Ted Kavanaugh. However, I have been informed by James Pople by e-mail that Ted was only a script writer, not a performer. James also wrote ”the impressionist was Peter Kavanagh (or Cavanagh)  known as "The Voice of Them All" “. Anyhow, Peter Sellers came along and usurped his BBC impressionists’ throne for about the next two decades! Hattie Jacques played a greedy girl, Sophie Tuckshop (catchphrase 'But I'm all right now". . Mrs. Mopp was definitely the most awaited character most of the time, played by Dorothy Summers. Her catchphrase - upon entering to meet Tommy, was, "I've brought this for you, sir" and more often, "Can I do you now, sir?" When ITMA performed one of its shows for the Fleet at Scapa Flow , Tommy asked her what she thought of the sailors swabbing the decks. “I love their bell-bottoms!” she replied.
There were also Mona Lot, Derek Guyler as Frisby Dyke with the Liverpudlians 'Whack' and 'La', Jack Train as Colonel Chinstrap "I don't mind if I do", a self-contradictory Welsh character (Sam Fairfechan by Hugh Morton who'd say things like, "I'm as fit as a fiddle, Vic Oliver's") and Sam Costa in various roles. Other catch phrases included "I go, I come back" – Middle Eastern vendor, Ali Oop. Spoken by Jack Train and "Don't forget the diver" by Horace Percival upon entrance and exit as a diver. (One can understand his anxiety if they forgot him). Also "I'll have to ask me Dad" – Mark Time (an elderly ditherer).

2) Doris and Ethel Waters were genuine Cockney girls who made a radio hit as 'Gert and Daisy' around the beginning of the 2nd WW. This couple were a fixture on radio throughout the war and years thereafter. Their brother Jack Warner was also a comedian and often appeared with them. According to John Blackwood, Jack's catch phrases included, "Mind my bike" and "Not blue pencil likely". Later he became a film and TV policeman (incl. Dixon of Dock Green).

3) 'Variety Bandbox' was an entertainment programme with music, songs and comedy, done before an audience. Many of those who later fronted their own programmes started there. Peter Sellers was one such. Frankie Howerd another. Arthur English first appeared here, as did many others later to be well-known in UK. I am informed by Roger Perry (in Manila, "in steam-ridden Phillippines") "In the early 50s, there would be radio shows the likes of "Variety Bandbox" and 'Monday Night at Eight' (formerly 'Monday Night at Seven' and maybe also as "Home at Eight") in which the likes of Robert Morton (with his "Bumper Fun Book") would be given ten minutes or so of air-time. (I think the program started off being called "Home at Seven" then due to a change in scheduling it was suitably renamed.)"

4) Bandwagon Arthur Askey and Richard ('Stinker') Murdoch were in a similarly-named programme 'Band Wagon', a semi-sitcom. It was centred upon their supposed flat on the top floor of Broadcasting House. Amongst the other characters were Mrs Bagwash and her daughter Nausea. In common with the practice at the time, it also included a musical interlude by Jack Hylton and a comedy slot entitled ‘Chestnut Corner’.

5) 'Ignorance is Bliss' 'The Brain's Trust' was a serious discussion programme with Marghanita Laski, Professor C.E.M. Joad, Gilbert Harding and other intellectuals of the time. It spawned a comedy counterpart  programme, which I rather preferred, called 'Ignorance is Bliss' - an addled brain's trust with idiots played by Michael Moore, Gladys Hay (as a vulgar, fishwife-voiced heckler) and Harold Behrens (the complete moron, as stupidly incorrect as one could get). The quizmaster was Winnipeg Canadian and 2WW correspondent Stewart MacPherson, once voted to have a better voice than Winston Churchill in the Daily Mail's 'Voice of the Year' poll, being a prominent BBC announcer, boxing commentator and quiz show host (20 Questions). He was eventually superceded in all those departments by Eaamon Andrews. See the official BBC summary with photo AND a typical hilarious clip from the show. It ran from 1946 to 1950 with various cast members.

6) 'Breakfast with Braden', which later shifted to 'Bedtime with Braden', was a light-hearted easy-going concoction with the Canadian Bernard Braden and Barbara Kelly (in fact his wife, I now hear from a correspondent, Ralph Lucas, and also a performer on BBC TV 'What's My Line'). . They were taken to be Yanks by many of us misguided Brits, but then they were very witty… (Sorry again, cousins! But stick at it, for though you Yanks were late for the 2nd WW, you won out in the end!) . John Weaver from Winnipeg informs me both were from Vancouver and also point out other Canadians who were prominent in UK: Carol Levis and Hughie Green, talent show hosts, Robert Beatty the film actor, Robert Farnon the band leader and composer, and Jean Cavall the singer (probably thought to be French rather than French Canadian).

7) Max Miller: Was he known as "The Cheekie Chappie"? Anyway, he got sacked from the BBC in about 1949, and I think it was for ending with a song, "When roses are red, they're ready for plucking. When girls are sixteen, they're ready for Goodnight Ladies and Gentlemen!" His banishment may have ended after some years. Roger Perry has a comment again: "You are correct in thinking that Max Miller got sacked for his “"When roses are red etc..." although the words I knew were: “When roses are red, and ready for plucking, young girls of sixteen are ready for . . . Goodnight Ladies and Gentlemen!"). But there was another similar one that may or may not have been the final straw. He told a tale of walking along a very narrow ridge that connected two precipices. The story went on to say that he was edging his way across when he came face-to-face with this girl. The narrow ridge wasn’t wide enough to pass each other by, and he told the audience that he didn’t know whether to “block her passage” or “toss her off”!"
Perhaps it was also he who told of the ten year old girl who swallowed a needle but didn't feel a p---k until she was fourteen? (or was that by the `Funniest Yank Then`, Bob Hope - who was born a British subject? In a film with Jerry Lewis and others he said of entering spooky, ancient dark empty houses that he was not at all afraid... on the grounds that `Why, I was in Vaudeville`) .

8) Arthur English - the Cockney comic ("Mum, they're larfin' at me again") whose main role was that of a London post-war spiv 'Prince of the Wide Boys'. He wore a huge kipper tie and was known for rambling 'shaggy dog' stories which speeded up until he shouted "Play the music! Open the cage!" and exited. He came and went surprisingly 'fast', spiv that he was supposed to be. Perhaps the constabulary caught him? In fact he was also a film actor and his name was Arthur Leslie Norman.

9) Charlie Chester came next - with "'Stand Easy' and this you will know, is the Charlie Chester Show". He always had a little political rhyme eg., "Down in the jungle, living in a tent, better than a prefab, No rent!" He was also a Cockney… a race apart known as the world’s biggest smart asses (I ain’t one, though, mate).

10) 'Life with the Lyons ' was another humour show, of which I was reminded by someone who kindly responded to this page (Robert Rochester). It was played by husband and wife Ben Lyon and Bebe Daniels. Both Americans (maybe they came over because they were too ironically funny for the us?). John Weaver pointed out they featured previously in 'Hi Gang' (which I now recall too). They had two `children`. Roger Perry also recalled "They introduced themselves at the very start of the show with: “I’m Ben Lyon”, “I’m Barbara Lyon” (daughter), “I’m Richard Lyon” (son), “and I’m Bebe Daniels Lyon” which for some reason, everyone thought was such a huge joke. Perhaps it was because in those days, if you were not married, it was unheard of that two 'unmarried persons should live together [as the difference in the two surnames suggests])." This show also featured Vic Oliver, Austrian (Jewish I think) by birth, who was married to Sarah Churchill, daughter of Winston. He was an accomplished violinist and used his musical talent as part of his comedy routine, deliberately playing off-key etc.

11) 'The Billy Cotton Band Show' was mainly a music programme, with Billy Cotton's Cockney humour and many an amusing Cockney or music hall song, often sung by Alan Breeze in pure Cockney. Among the titles were such gems as the Billingsgate-like fishmonger song, 'If yer don' want the whelks, don’ muck ‘em abaht' (an` keep yer baby`s fingers orf the slab, they’re covered in choc-olate. Take an ‘ake or a noice cod steak...). One musician who was often called in to do a stint on guitar, banjo or other fretted instruments was the Polish-born Jewish multi-musician, Ivor Mairants, who at that time had a guitar academy in West Street, off Cambridge Circus and behind Charing Cross Rd. (which I, R.P., attended for about one year, being taught by the maestro himself, as well as by Roy Plummer and other top session guitarists of the '50s). See here

12) 'Much Binding in the Marsh', the country club-cum-RAF station where nothing of any consequence was done (just like at certain National Service RAF stations, at which I spent a couple of years too), was on from about 1949, and went on until about 1956 - Dicky 'Stinker' Murdock, Kenneth Horne, with Dick Bentley and Maurice Denham, Sam Costa, Hattie Jacques and Kitty Bluet etc. One catch phrase was "Good Old Charl-ieee" (eventually also said when young Prince Charles was in the audience). Always ended with the words "That little thing that goes something like this... "Then the 3-verse song: "And Much Binding in the Marsh,..." with little inserts like 'tiddle-im-pom-pom', 'last verse', 'how's yer faaather' or 'keep your hair on' etc. ad. lib. Roger from Manila reminds me: "There was, of course, no smut in those days and recall vividly Kenneth Horne saying in one of his monologues: " . . . . . . and he grabbed hold of her. 'Course it's . . . . . " Now THAT brought on a huge laugh from the audience."

John Weaver reminds: "There were three shows in the 1940s connected with the services which were aired in rotation. 'Much Binding in the Marsh' with Richard Murdoch and Kenneth Horne was R.A.F., 'Stand Easy' with Charlie Chester was army and 'HMS Waterlogged' with Eric Barker (whose catchphrase was 'Carry on smoking') and Jon Pertwee was Royal Navy. You have mentioned all of these (or their successors) separately but they were in fact part of the same series under the umbrella title Merry-go-Round. I recall as a boy finding the Navy version the least humorous of the three and Much Binding the best, but post-Monty Python all of them would probably now seem very tame and not particularly funny. "

13) 'The Jimmy Jewel and Ben Warris Show' There were a dozen series shows in all (including 'Up the Pole') - all having Jimmy Jewel in - with different titles, from 1951 to 1972. Jewel and Warris had as a signature tune, which they sang in duet, 'Shine on Harvest Moon'. They seemed very funny to me in the early 50s when I was about 15 years old.

14) 'Educating Archie', with Peter Brough and his ventriloquist's doll ('Archie Andrews' - a much easier act to do on radio than TV, it would seem! It flopped on telly because Peter Brough's mouth was seen to move!). The show started out with a schoolmasterly and rather lugubrious-sounding character called Morton, who'd say when he though himself to be 'crisp', "Oh! Get in there, Morton". (My informant tells me that the “Oh! Get in there Morton” was said at a time when Robert Norton – who used to quote from the pages of his “Bumper Fun Book” – actually got one of his jokes right. As you will probably remember, the whole basis of his ‘show’ was to tell jokes incorrectly. He would tell the first half, but then the second half seemed to bare no relation to the first because it came from a different joke. He would suddenly realize that something was wrong and with the words of: “Now just a minute . . . no . . . that’s not right” he would then try and sort it out.)
Morton was the impossible Archie's teacher, and was always made a laughing stock. The teacher trying to educate Archie changed often and various starts - many subsequently foremost in radio comedy - made a succession of teachers for the dummy, Archie. These included Harry Secombe, James Robertson Justice, Tony Hancock, Sidney James and others.

15) 'Take it From Here' - written by Dennis Norden and Frank Muir - had Dick Bentley (playing Ron Glum), Jimmy Edwards (Mr. Glum) & June Whitfield... playing Eth Glum. Joy Nichols was also involved. '(As the Goons later quipped: Question: 'Hey, where'd you get that old joke from?' - Answer: 'Take it From Here' 1954). One of the best shows was where - to Mr. Glum's outrage, chronically out-of-work Ron managed to get a job as a copper at the local Police Station.
One of the funniest lines they managed was when Ron was pressing past Eth to bring in his bike through the narrow hall passageway and she complained about him rubbing himself up against her. He replied in that utterly gormless voice, "But I like it, Eth".  A correspondent, Peter Moore, adds his favourite bit from the Glums. "Eth has been protesting to Ron that she's not perfect and egging him on to give an example of any little failings she might have. After much deliberation. 'Well Eth...' 'Yes, Ron?' 'You're a bit ugly.' Also, Peter adds: "TIFH and later used by Kenneth Williams in a 'Carry On' film (Cleo?). They are the dying words of Julius Caesar as he is stabbed by Brutus et al. 'Infamy! Infamy! They've all got it in for me!'"

16) 'Ray's a Laugh' with Ted Ray ran for ages too. It was a Sunday lunchtime show, a domestic comedy in which Kitty Bluett played his wife, Fred Yule his brother-in-law. At the beginning of his career, Peter Sellers appeared as Soppy, a small boy criticised by the nation's watchdogs for his catchphrase, "Just like your big red conk!" Another of his characters was a strange woman, Crystal Jollibottom ("Stop it you saucebox!" he would cry in a crazy falsetto). There was the glamour girl who would do anything, but "Not until after six-o'clock!" Roger Perry writes: "The one catchphrase I recall came from a duo called Bob and Alf Pearson. Their main act was to sin There was Ivy's (Ted Ray) devotion to Dr Hardcastle, for instance: "He's lovely, Mrs Hoskin, he's lovely!" And it was she to whom Mrs Hoskin would remark weakly: "It was agony, Ivy!" There was the adenoidal "If you haven't been to Manchester, you haven't lived."g, but they were given a five-minute spot in which Bob (or it may have been Alf) would say: “Hello little girl . . . and what’s YOUR name?” The answer was always the same: “Jennnniiifffffeeeerrrr!” and said in a high falsetto voice."

17) ‘Hancock’s Half-Hour’ Until very recently, poor TH was left out of this list. The proclaimed ‘genius of British humour’ now sounds a bit dated, mush. But his timing and tone of voice were marvellous. hhh-Hancock’s Half Hour rose to prominence in the late 50s and ran on until his early death (suicide?). His chief companions were Sid(ney) James – always playing the role of a Cockney crook, and the simplest ocker ever, Bill Kerr. I think this was where that most utter chump of all twisted bawdiness, Kenneth Williams, first loomed into view. The strange, queer Kenneth Williams was the biggest camp outrage (until Edna Everidge came up from down under). My favourite Hancock show is ‘The Poet’s Society’, which puts abstract modern poetry and all modern pseudo-intellectual ‘arty-fartiness’ where it should be… in the laughing stocks! Hancock's poem was as abstract as he could make it, but - when questioned what it was about, he eventually hit on 'It's an attack on the licensing laws'. Asked what the phrase 'flaming camels' symbolised he replied "They're the camel drivers in the Gobi desert, you won't get any change out of 'em!". Sid James followed with a modern poem in which he inserted such words as 'lead roof' and 'fortune made' but he is judged by the Society as outclassed by Bill Kerr with a winning poem consisting of nonsense and which ends on the words 'Ching, cham, chollup'. When Hancock was chucked out of the Poet Society (which he was hosting in his own house in East Cheam) he got very 'narked' and decided to start another society to change the entire world... trying to think of a suitable title for it, he eventually gave up, saying 'Or maybe I'll go to the pictures instead'

18) 'Beyond Our Ken' (1958-1964)- (See http://www.britishcomedy.org.uk/kwas/bok.html) Kenneth Horne - was a long-running comedy show still in the old pre-Goon style, about the last of its kind, apart from the follow-up show,
'Round the Horne'
(1965-1968) See (http://www.britishcomedy.org.uk/kwas/rth/index.html). Ken Williams became a feature here, until he went off with Sid James etc. to do the ‘Carry on’ films. I hear that the ‘Round the Horne’ programmes are being reissued on CD-ROM this year (2002)

19) Last here, but the very opposite of least, was 'The Goon Show', much esteemed. Greatly steamed! Of this illustrious weekly disturbance on the Light programme so much has been written that I need not expand, other than direct fans to my web page about my having met the 'original' on whose voice Bluebottle was actually modelled, a certain red-bearded scoutmaster in Essex called Ruston Hayward, who is still extant (2004)! The greatest British impressionist ever - Peter Sellers - was the backbone of the performances, while Spike Milligan broke his back (and his mind occasionally) in writing the shows... an entirely new kind of humour which later inspired a generation and more.

The only show that produced two knighthoods: Sir Neddy Seagoon and Sir Eccles. Marvellous developments in that illustrious institution - to think that raspberry-blower Secombe and mad Spike Milligan were actually elevated to such formal orders! Hooray! Hooray! Our heroes! (But Spike should rather have been rewarded for his war service long ago, while he was instead made a deserter because the strains of shell-shock got him! Not to mention his very early stand on vivisection and animal rights at the price of ridicule!). When, at a TV award show, he was a greeting was read out to him from His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales (Spike 'Shall I kneel down for this?'): "As someone who grew up to the sound of the Goon Show on the steam-riven wireless, I must confess that I have been a lifelong fan of the participants in the show and paticularly Spike Milligan" The lightning response from Spike was: "Oh, the little grovelling bastard" Despite this, Spike somewhat too long afterwards, Spike received his very well-earned knighthood... Sir Spike... how can you not believe it? Since then, he passed over into everlasting fame.


Though this is i deed a steam radio page, I cannot resist at least a mention of three great comics who arrived on TV in the 50s:-

1) Tommy Cooper was first seen on black & white TV around 1952, wearing the fez from the very start. After the first show, many wondered if he were not just a conjuror who couldn't get it together, poor chap! And they were right too! But that was not the point, folks. For a long time, Tommy Cooper just had to appear to make you laugh… he simply WAS funny. One of his co-performers was the Eric Sykes, also a radio comedian.
2) Frankie Howerd was a revelation in post-war daring bawdiness when first he appeared on TV in the early 50s. He pushed the boundaries of decency back a long way without getting punished for it. Even his way of saying 'Ladies and Gentlemen' was somehow suggestive, not to mention such names as Castor and Pollux (in 'On My Way to the Forum'). I think it was he who started the gag of pointing out into the audience and saying 'Not you, madam' and the like.
3) Norman Wisdom first appeared a bit later than the above two, but took slapstick pratfalls a mile further with his first show, where his hand got crushed in a grand piano, causing the most excruciatingly funny fall... such as had not been seen until then.

I have been asked the following: "I had hoped your piece was going to enlighten me on a comedy monologue that ALWAYS began with “I’ve not been well” in a very downhearted voice and something that was greeted by the whole audience going “Aaaaahhhhhhh” in direct sympathy. I know no more than that. Any ideas?" I am at a loss... anyone know?


If you wish to send any more info.
on the above programmes and personalities  (or ones I have missed out on) for inclusion here, including their jokes etc., please do e-mail me: Mail to the following reroNOSPAMMINGgetmail.no (but please insert @ in place of the words NOSPAMMING. This protects us against auto-scanners for sending spam.

A condolence to Americans! Most American comedy seems unable to free itself from Vaudeville mentality. 'American' and 'comedy' often seem irreconcilable words, eh? But no offence intended to real humorists like Danny Kaye, Woody Allen or Jerry Seinfeld. (Three of the greatest humorists in the US to have performed were Charles Chaplin, Stan Laurel, Bob Hope were all English, right). So, with those immortal words on almost every US film, I depart saying “Let’s get the hell outa here.”