Friday 3 June 2016

Beaky Malone Blog Tour: HEROES OF COMEDY by Barry Hutchison

Asking me to pick my favourite comedy characters is like asking Beaky Malone to pick the favourite lies he’s told – there are far too many to choose from, and chances are he’s forgotten about 90% of them.

I’ve always been hooked on comedy, right from an early age. I loved reading funny books, watching TV sitcoms, and even listening to live stand-up on vinyl records (most of which was completely inappropriate for me at the time).

If I was being forced at gunpoint to pick out five of my biggest comedy inspirations from my childhood and teenage years (which I am being – please help me!) the list would probably look a bit like this…

Red Dwarf
This was an absolute must-watch for me every week when I was younger. It started in 1988 when I was 10 years old, and I was instantly hooked. I loved science-fiction and I loved comedy, so the fact someone had mashed those two things together meant I was in Heaven. I immediately started referring to everyone as Smegheads, and because practically nobody else in my school watched the first series, no-one had the faintest idea what I was on about. The spin-off books based on the series were great, too, and I just abandoned this sentence halfway through to go and order copies so I can read them again.

Terry Pratchett’s Discworld
I discovered Pratchett when I was about 12, after a friend of my mum loaned me her copy of The Colour of Magic. It took me weeks to get around to reading it, and I only picked it up when she started making noises about getting it back. I read the first few pages with a sort of begrudging reluctance, then was quickly swept up by the story. I read the whole book over two nights, and immediately started pestering my mum’s friend for more Pratchett books. I’ve read pretty much all of them over the years, and was always amazed by his ability to write often absurd, laugh-out-loud comedy with often very serious social commentary running through it.

Father Ted
I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who doesn’t like Father Ted. Surreal, sometimes very dark, but always hilarious, it ranks as one of my favourite TV sitcoms of all time. Everything from the characters to the increasingly bizarre story set-ups are done perfectly, and no matter how many times I see an episode, I’ll still laugh at the jokes.

The Reluctant Vampire by Eric Morecambe
This book, my one half of the TV comedy act, Morecambe and Wise, stands out as one of the funniest stories I read, growing up. It’s a tale of a vampire prince who prefers chips to blood, and I remember cackling and giggling my way through every page. The description of Igor as looking like he’d “had his eye put in with a Black & Decker” almost made me choke on a Cadbury’s Creme Egg, as I laughed to hard I inhaled it whole, sucking it straight to the back of my throat. Totally worth it, though.

You’ve Been Framed!
OK, it’s not big or clever, but there’s something about seeing someone be biffed in the face by a football, or falling head first into a wedding cake that invariably cracks me up. Good physical comedy is very hard to do, but the poor victims in each You’ve Been Framed clip managed to inadvertently pull-off amazing pratfalls each and every time.

Honourable mentions: Only Fools and Horses, Blackadder, Eddie Izzard, The Two Ronnies, The Smell of Reeves & Mortimer, The Young Ones, Alan Partridge and several thousand others. Oh, and my mate, David Robinson, who was consistently hilarious, even if he didn’t always mean to be…


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