Like almost everything else (see e.g. note here), I hardly appreciated the genius of Tommy Cooper at the time. I didn’t quite get the crap magic, all the props… I guess for many of my generation, long before the Alternative scene, standups were rather eclipsed by Monty Python, even when they were subverting the light entertainment format.
I went to Blackpool on holiday and knocked at the first boarding house that I came to. A women stuck her head out of an upstairs window and said
“What do you want?”
“I’d like to stay here.”
“OK. Stay there.”
I might link that one to the true touring story of the wake-up call.
I went to the doctor. He said “You’ve got a very serious illness.”
I said “I want a second opinion.”
He said “All right, you’re ugly as well.”
I love this one, though (or perhaps because) it may require a certain,um, historically-aware insider’s cultural knowledge:
A policeman stopped me the other night. He taps on the window of the car and says:
“Would you blow into this bag please Sir.”
I said: “What for, Officer?”
He says: “My chips are too hot.”
This is often attributed to him:
I went to buy some camouflage trousers the other day, but I couldn’t find any.
but it may be a version of his
“Didn’t see you at camouflage training yesterday, Private.”
which indeed is the response at the Chinese restaurant to “Waiter, this chicken is rubbery.”
And then there’s
So I went to the dentist.
He said “Say Aaah.”
I said “Why?”
He said “My dog’s died.'”
“My dog just died.”
“Aww, I’m sorry—never mind, I’ll get you another one.”
“Don’t be ridiculous—what am I going to do with two dead dogs?”
Jokes like these depend largely on delivery, on persona. No-one is so deadpan as Steven Wright—not so much standup, more internal monologue. Academic lecturers could learn a thing or two from these guys. And for Ken Dodd, regional ethnography, and Xi Jinping, see here.