Sunday, 29 November 2009

One Man's Meat. What makes You Laugh?

Having done a couple of rather heavy blogs I decided to lighten the mood. And I got to thinking, what makes me laugh.
I looked up the word laughter in the dictionary. 'The experience or appearance of joy, merriment, amusement, or the like.' (Something amusing, improbable or ridiculous; a joke or absurdity.) Plenty of scope there, then.
In a way its a personal thing, also an age thing. I was brought up in the heyday of the radio. (wireless to us geriatrics.) Loved to hear Arthur English, Vic Oliver, Rob Wilton, yet seldom personally found ITMA funny, very highly rated by a humour starved population after the war.
The word ridiculous figures in the definitions. What could be more ridiculous than a ventriloquist on the wireless. (Educating Archie) But the fifties and to a lesser extent the sixties tended to be unsophisticated times and boy, did it show. I suspect Mr Pastry (Richard Hearn) would not be highly rated today, Harry Worth I could take or leave, Benny Hill is now decidedly non PC.
Life has become far more complex, sophisticated and modern humour reflects these trends. The Ben Eltons of this world are clever but not to everyones taste. I recently attended a live performance of Al Murray, the Pub Landlord.' Brilliant but I can well appreciate not everyone would find him funny. But he's not compulsory either. Whatever turns you on, so to speak, enjoy, but enjoy being different without necessarily being critical of the choice of others. For no one loves a clever clogs, we all have different tastes in all things.
Times inevitably change, new trends appear, old ideas are discarded. But not everything that we laughed at all those years ago has been confined to the scrap heap. How many remember Freddie Frinton, who amused mainly in the forties and fifties but never really reached the heights. And how many realise that his masterpiece, 'Dinner for One' (recorded in 1963 with May Warden) is still played on television all over Germany on New Years Eve, on some channels five separate times. (Norddeutscher Rundfuuk NDR) Plus the habit of 'Freddie at New Years Eve' has evidently now spread to Estonia, and has been popular in Norway, Sweden, Finland, the Faroes and Austria for many years. (The New Year connection is misleading, it was never intended as a New Year offering.) Go on, treat yourself, make a cup of tea and watch a master at work. And if Freddie doesn't make you smile, I'd love to know who does.
Freddie Frinton, born Frederick Bittiner Coo, illegitimate son of a seamstress, born in Grimsby in 1909. Worked in a fish processing plant but sacked for telling jokes and performing paradies instead of working. Worked as a comedian on the Music Hall stage in England for many years with only moderate success. His 'Dinner for One' (recorded in 1963 but first performed by Freddie in 1945) is the most frequently recorded TV programme ever. Freddie died in 1968.


Expat mum said...

Here I am - and thank you for that. Bloody brilliant. Will be sharing it!!!

Von said...

Well, don't they say laughter makes the world go round? or was that something else?
Such an individual thing, as you say but as long as we laugh at something, especially ourselves all will be well.
Harry Worth only ever made me laugh during the credits where he did that window/reflection thing.Remember?
Morecombe and Wise?The celebs of the times queued up to be made a fool of and loved it,who wouldn't?
The Marx Brothers and Mae West with her outrageous humour. A shame those times of silliness are gone but like everything else humour moves on.Ah!Nostalgia!

DJ Kirkby said...

My husband and I were talking about this the other day; how the world has changed in our lifetime and trying to imagine how it will change in our son's lifetimes. Mind blowing really.

Molly Potter said...

A ventriloquist on the radio! Fantastic!

I would imagine people's taste in humour varies as much as people!

It is funny when you watch comedies from the past and they make you realise how humour fashion have changed.

You made me think about when I have laughed most as screen media. Have you ever seen the truck scene in 'The gods must be crazy'. Funniest slapstick ever!!!!! great film too.

cheshire wife said...

How comedy has changed over the years. I grew up in the sixties but never found Benny Hill, Mr Pastry and Harry Worth very funny. They were too stupid for me. 'Dinner for One' is hilarious and timeless. It could be recorded again tomorrow and would be just as good.

Marian Dean said...

I remember this so well, Ken. Thanks for bringing back the old memories of my Dad giggling his head off.

Love Granny

Gill - That British Woman said...

Sorry I know nothing about making gluten free donuts.

Here are a couple of links though:

Gill in Canada

the fly in the web said...

German friends intyroduced me to 'Dinner for One' and I watch it now each Christmas and imagine my friends laughing with me.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Expat Mum
Thanks for kind words.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Thanks. Know nothing re Mae West. I will now look her up, so to speak!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

DJ Kirby
Very true, nothing ever stays the same i suppose.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Molly Potter
I will now look up your 'gods' film!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

cheshire wife
Very true, and you are a sixties person, not a forties geriatric like me!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Nice to connect with your dad in this way.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

That info was brilliant. Thanks.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

fly in the web
What a nice idea to connect through dear old freddie.