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Bio on Benny Hill shows he was considered funnier than Monty Python by various TV stations

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In reply to an earlier post on 21 Mar 2013 13:37:15 GMT
Last edited by the author on 22 Mar 2013 11:23:45 GMT
gille liath says:
I hate to break it to you: a lot of that stuff is more than 20 years old.

This topic is a hoary old chestnut. I was thinking about it the other day: yes, there has been good comedy in the past 20 years (though not so much in the last 5). I have quite a few videos of old 70s comedies, including Monty P, and sometimes I like to watch them with my young kids. I also have quite a few videos from the last 20 years - but those I *can't* watch with my kids.

That's what's changed: the good comedies of recent decades are mostly cult shows, and not suitable for a family audience. No big mainstream show has come along to fill the gap left by Fools and Horses.

(ETA: that's sitcoms, of course. In sketch comedy, nothing has come along to rival MP; and I doubt it ever will, because they took it to the furthest point it can be taken before it starts to disintegrate. Vic & Bob? Lee & Herring? Pshaw!)

Posted on 22 Mar 2013 14:58:06 GMT
Man of truth says:
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Posted on 23 Mar 2013 14:48:07 GMT
Man of truth says:
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Posted on 23 Mar 2013 19:27:41 GMT
I'm astonished that nobody has mentioned Peter Cook and Dudley Moore who, in my opinion, were funnier than ALL of the comics mentioned in this post - and then some. (But that's just my opinion.) Also, it's a bit daft to compare Benny Hill with Monty Python. Benny Hill is a single artist, Monty Python is a group. It's like saying 'Elvis Presley is better than The Who'. Quite daft, really. Anyway, the fact is that compared to America, Britain in the 60s and 70s produced a rich spectrum of talented comics and comedians that will be remembered for many years to come. We should be proud of them all!

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Mar 2013 19:34:08 GMT
I Readalot says:
But then BH needed other performers around him, the little bald man and all the females for example.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Mar 2013 19:37:00 GMT
gille liath says:
As you say - it's your opinion. :)

IMO Cook's stuff was more clever than funny, with the exception of a couple of sketches.

I don't see anything daft in comparing BH with MP, as they were both doing sketch comedy - nor in comparing Elvis with the Who. The one thing you would have to say, in both cases, is that they were aiming at very different audiences.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Mar 2013 22:12:48 GMT
Yes, but they were just supporting players/extras. The Monty Python team were all established artists and went on to become household names.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Mar 2013 11:07:25 GMT
I Readalot says:
When it comes to duo's then Corbett and Barker were much funnier (and cleaner) than P & D.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Mar 2013 11:12:09 GMT
I Readalot says:
I think it is more a case of them being established by Monty P. Had anyone heard of Terry Jones or Terry Gilliam or even Michael Palin, for example before then?

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Mar 2013 12:59:14 GMT
Yes, if you research the 'prehistory' of Monty Python you will find that nearly all of them had done quite a lot of TV work, particularly John Cleese. So their their faces weren't exactly unknown.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Mar 2013 13:03:41 GMT
Sorry, but you are expressing an opinion only! There's no absolute right and wrong. You obviously liked Corbett and Barker more. That's your prerogative. By the way, you shouldn't confuse Peter Cook and Dudley Moore's material with Derek & Clive. I don't recall any Peter Cook and Dudley Moore material that could be described as 'unclean'. If I'm wrong, then please enlighten me!

Posted on 24 Mar 2013 15:53:48 GMT
Sou'Wester says:
Cook & Moore were at their most popular when doing the "Not Only, But Also" TV shows for BBC, so they had to keep their material within reasonable bounds. Some of their material was absolutely brilliant (Pete & Dud at the Art Gallery still has me in stitches) or gloriously and hilariously silly (teaching ravens to fly underwater). Cook was one of the great innovators of British comedy (far more so than Benny Hill!) but he was only at the top of his game for a few years. Watching some of the woeful material he appeared in later in life was a very sad sight. In pure comedy terms, Moore lived in Cook's shadow to a large extent; I get the feeling he later regretted the time spent on comedy (and even his film career), because he was a brilliant musician and allowed that talent to go to waste.
I don't think Barker or Corbett were "comedians" as such (Corbett himself has admitted he wouldn't stand a chance as a stand-up in today's environment); they were more comic actors. Actually Barker was an exceptionally good serious actor too, as well as being an accomplished comedy writer. Always considered that he rather carried Corbett, who was nowhere near as talented. "The Two Ronnies" was an entertaining show, with some moments of real brilliance, but I don't think it achieved quite the inventiveness and originality of Cook & Moore's work.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Mar 2013 16:50:07 GMT
I agree with virtually everything you say!

Naturally, it's a great shame that Dudley Moore 'didn't do more' with his music but then again, who are we to judge? He was a brilliant jazz pianist and classical pianist, too. He once performed Grieg's Piano Concerto No. 1 with a full orchestra - no mean feat. But frankly, the 60s was not the time to 'make it' as a jazz pianist. However, what about his performance in ARTHUR and other major Hollywood films?

Peter Cook, on the other hand, seemed to peak in the mid-60s in terms of his creative output, although his multi-charactered appearance on CLIVE ANDERSON in the 1990s was a work of pure genius. Ultimately, it's quality that counts, not quantity. And I suspect that in a hundred years time, people will probably have completely forgotten about Benny Hill but will still be cracking up at 'Pete & Dud at the Art Gallery' or "Mama's got a brand new bag", one of my personal favourites - along with the brilliant 'Thunderbirds' spoof, of course...

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Mar 2013 19:57:37 GMT
Sou'Wester says:
What was truly remarkable about Dudley Moore was that, despite being of very short stature, having a club foot and coming from a working class East London background, he became a most accomplished organist and gained an organ scholarship to Magdalen College, Oxford - such scholarships are not granted lightly! I think he had the potential to become a really great name within serious music - not perhaps with the same degree of fame as in comedy or films - but probably more fulfilling personally. He did make a considerable effort to return to serious music in later life; tragically a degenerative illness struck and thwarted these efforts.

Posted on 25 Mar 2013 01:29:36 GMT
dregj says:
monty python was extremely hit and miss
and benny hill appealed to the masses with his sillyness

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Mar 2013 07:30:51 GMT
A real tragedy and a real loss.

Posted on 25 Mar 2013 16:36:00 GMT
A good biography of Benny Hill would reveal he stole a lot of his material and credited himself. I recall a Stan Freberg recrdoing he did word for word and credited some one named Benny Hill.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Mar 2013 09:47:41 GMT
Dan Fante says:
His Jazz stuff is pretty cool. Especially the theme from 'Millionaire'.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Apr 2013 15:44:26 BDT
Ghost says:
Peter Cooke and Dudley in, ' Derek and Clive, get the horn'. DVD, from Amazon. I am not a prude by any stretch of the imagination but, the content was so bad, I got bored and turned it off. I think it was a tribute to Ms Whitehouse.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Apr 2013 15:49:39 BDT
Ghost says:
Some of DM's music was truly inspired later on when the split from Cooke was apparent. His illness was sad and cruel, but I still smile at the early material.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Apr 2013 16:29:34 BDT
Yes, but don't confuse Peter Cooke and Dudley Moore's main body of work with the very drunk ramblings of the Derek and Clive sessions, which was mainly improvised garbage with no reedeeming artistic qualities at all. I'm sure you're not a prude, either. But it's a great shame when our comedy heroes let us down in this way...

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Apr 2013 16:30:17 BDT
Yes, I agree. It was, and is, timeless.

Posted on 16 Apr 2013 19:38:12 BDT
Bookus says:
Just to add a more modern perspective to the comedy discussion, the "old" ones weren't always the "best" ones. I grew up loving both sketch and stand-up though favouring the comedian in the live senario with the more difficult task. George White (Barker) was one of my favourite writers but i doubt he could achieve the same on stage without dumbing/filler down some of his work. The same could be said for most of the old comedians (M&W/D&M etc.)

As far as i can look back and re-watch.....the majority of Python's programmes was filler with the odd "new catchphrase for the schoolyard the next day" thrown in. I only saw the funny side of Python at the time, the same happened with Reeves and Mortimer/. Now i look back and think "What the hell did i find so funny??" . Benny Hill made me howl back in the day...but now i watch and cringe knowing that the comedy was for that time (and that time only) in the way that Manning and Garnett are spoke in low tones around in comedic circles now.

I believe that comedy moved on, as it must. I also believed it changed for better writing and performance. So without further ado...i propose a few "argy bargy starters" for this thread. Who they were to who better replaced them:

Alf Garnett : Rab C Nesbit (Delinquent with a point to make)
Tommy Cooper: Joe Pasquale (Comedic failed magician)
Monty Python : The Fast Show (Quick-paced sketch show with catchphrases)
Morcambe & Wise : Macentyre/Bishop/Kay (Light entertainment comedy)
Call my Bluff : Too many panel shows to remark about but the Toksvig seems to be unkillable!!
Benny Hill : Keith Lemon (Tongue in cheek humour)

I'm not stating that i like "ALL" of my choices for what is an improvement of the past...but, never the less, i do think that they are comedy moving forward with better writing and performance.

The two i am stuck for finding "new versions" for are Vicky Wood and Dave Allen...if anyone could help? hahaha

Hornets nest.....brbrbrbbbbrbrbrbrbrbrbbbbbb(drumroll)bbrbrbrbbbbrbrbbbbbbbbbb BEGIN!

Posted on 25 Apr 2013 02:34:09 BDT
dregj says:
Never heard of pete and dud until he died in 95 and the few surviving sketches were shown on the beeb
timeless genius
I was apauled to learn the other shows were all taped over by the beeb to save money despite cook begging them not to do it and offering to pay for them

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Apr 2013 05:22:56 BDT
your are correct he was born in Eltham
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