Growing up in the 1970s saw plenty of heroes of comedy in the UK. Here are my own personal favourites with reasons why:-
Les was a North country comedian with a lugubrious, world weary style but full of superb jokes, especially about his wife and his mother in law. Never smutty or profane, Les was a very clever, learned chap who also could play the piano badly. I mean he could play it really well, but played it badly to get laughs. My own No. 1 comedian who still makes me laugh today when I watch him on YouTube.
Tommy was more of a visual comedian. Tall, clumsy and uncouth, he had a wonderful gift of timing. Tommy was a skilled magician, but did his tricks badly to get laughs, interspersed with some cracking jokes. All you had to do was look at him, atop with his fez, and you would laugh. Superb performer.
Dave Allen was an Irish comedian who specialised in observational comedy. He got into trouble several times for his material about the Catholic Church, and he also swore a lot too. But there was no doubting that Dave had an eye for the absurd, for the odd, and observed it in a wry and whimsical way. Very clever man to watch.
Eric was part of that great double act with Ernie Wise. Eric could make anything seem funny, and he clowned around a lot. Always ready with the witty one liner, he was a natural performer, and was hugely successful for many years.
Billy is a Scottish comedian who revels in being totally zany and anarchic, but brilliantly funny with his observations. A natural performer who specialised in being blunt and controversial, but always kept audiences entertained.
Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett
The Two Ronnies as they were affectionately known, relied on clever, subtle word play to entertain. Two of their best sketches “Four Candles” and “Mastermind” are two such examples. They had great success over many years and were on a par with Morecambe and Wise.
The Liverpudlian comedian was a rapid fire teller of jokes and amazing longevity. He lived to a very great age and was rightly acclaimed as a national treasure. Great to watch him in action. Breathless and like a jack in the box, one of the all time greats.
My all time favourite female comedian. Victoria was brilliant to watch. Subtle, clever and full of witty observations, she had a stellar career and specialised in characterisations of people she knew. Victoria was just amazing to watch, but humble and self deprecating.
And now for two impressionists…..
My impressions hero. Rory has had a 35 year career in TV and his impressions are supremely accurate and full of great material. He branched out into the political sphere some years back but it hasn’t stopped him and his biting satire backs up his great skill as an impersonator. Also does a huge amount of work for mental health charities too. Top bloke.
Jon is a very gifted impersonator, again clever, subtle and able to pick out the foibles of his impersonations. He has a great range of voices and is very skilled at his work.
So there you have it. Some wonderful names there. All great performers who I still like to look at on YouTube. Sadly, most of them have passed on, but their skill and brilliance will live on for many years to come.
Yours in comedy.
Ian L. Fullbrook