Remember when humour was truly humour?


Every night at 7pm I switch channels on my television to BBC Radio 7 for an hour of good old fashioned belly laughter. Last night was the turn of the Goons in the form of ‘The Great Moriarty Murder Mystery’ evoking childhood memories of the time before television dulled the senses and your imagination ruled.

For those not born within the days of ‘steam radio’, you have my deepest and most heartfelt condolences. When people of my generation wax lyrical over the cerebral thrills of a murder mystery or an exciting adventure like ‘The Wake of the Red Witch’, or the completely hysterically funny joys conjured up by Spike Milligan, Peter Sellars, Harry Secombe aided by Wallace Greenslade, Larry Adler, Eric Sykes et al; take it from one who knows, today’s so-called comedians are not a patch on the men of yesteryear. Seldom does even a mild titter spring forth from me when being subjected to the latest generation.

Remember Benny Hill, Dick Emery, Les Dawson and Frankie Howard? No? Well you should check them out. Go back even further to the heyday of the Goons and rediscover Michael Bentine who stood alongside Spike and Harry when the Goons were first broadcast. While you’re there, look out for Jimmy Edwards, Tony Hancock, Kenneth Horne, Kenneth Williams. Listen to Frank Muir and Dennis Nordern on ‘What’s My Line’. Nordern and Muir were past masters at belly laugh comedy. They were responsible for many a radio comedy programme back then.

If you are a television couch potato however, change channels to BBC Radio 7 at 7pm nightly for an hour of proper belly laugh humour, not the rubbish that passes itself off as humour these days. Tonight being Friday night, I shall be sat with my eyes closed as I did in my youth imagining the characters portrayed in tonight’s episode of ‘The Navy Lark’, starring Leslie Philips, John Pertwee, Ronny Barker and Dennis Price…

Jack Eason – author of Onet's Tale


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