spike milligan dies
February 27, 2002 2:58 AM   Subscribe

spike milligan dies the world needs people like him.
posted by quarsan (28 comments total)
R.I.P Spike.

When I grow up
I want to be
Spike Milligan
‘Cause though he’s
Never serious he’s
My kind of silly man.
posted by Neale at 3:04 AM on February 27, 2002

Spike Milligan complety redefined modern comedy.

When he was presented with a lifetime achievement award by Prince Charles, Milligan called him a "groveling little bastard". Class.
posted by salmacis at 3:17 AM on February 27, 2002

Never liked the Goons. A few years ago I got dragged kicking and screaming to see Spike live in Cambridge and he was fantastic, a king of comedy, a legend. Still don't like the Goons though.
posted by niceness at 3:33 AM on February 27, 2002

Lets have some quotes to remember him by..

"Money couldn't buy you friends, but you get a better class of enemy."

"I speak Esparanto like a native."

"In India a farmhand was caught in the act with his cow. He said he had bad eyesight and thought it was his wife."

"His vibrato sounded like he was driving a tractor over a ploughed field with weights tied to his scrotum."

"A sure cure for seasickness is to sit under a tree."

"It was a perfect marriage. She didn't want to and he couldn't."

"I thought I'd begin by reading a poem by Shakespeare, but then I thought, why should I? He never reads any of mine."

"My Father had a profound influence on me, he was a lunatic."

"You silly twisted boy."

"I shook hands with a friendly Arab. I still have my right arm to prove it ."

Will be sadly missed..

posted by Mossy at 3:39 AM on February 27, 2002

Ah, well. Hardly unexpected.

I believe he said once that he was hanging on so that Harry Secombe wouldn't sing at his funeral, so that worked out.

One thing that Gnutella has provided me with recently is a large collection of Goon Shows, and I'm constantly amazed at the extraordinary energy of them, which puts most modern comedy (particularly radio comedy) to shame. Of course, writing them drove him mad(der) too.

My favourite Milligan moment involves a sketch he did for his impenetrable Q series (sort of like a hard-core Monty Python - one sketch famously ended with everybody turning to the camera and chanting "what are we going to do now?" for a very long time) where a Dalek with a turban on enters his flat and has a conversation with his wife (I think it was a heavy-handed "illegal alien joke"). What made it funny was that the person in the Dalek had obviously never done it before, and so the set was slowly getting destroyed as the fiber-glass thing swerved and swayed and smashed into things.

Nidle nadle noo.
posted by Grangousier at 3:41 AM on February 27, 2002

This is our plan of a tac.

God. So many memories. I'm young and such so nobody I know knows about the goons.
posted by Settle at 3:58 AM on February 27, 2002

What are we going to do now?
posted by ceiriog at 4:00 AM on February 27, 2002

What are we going to do now?
posted by jackspot at 4:00 AM on February 27, 2002

It takes a fair bit to make me laugh out loud at comedy on TV or on stage; I'm more a smiler and a silent chuckler. Makes me a terrible audience member at comedy shows, even though I usually enjoy them.

The number of times I've laughed to the point where I couldn't stop, to the point where my sides ached and my eyes were awash, is so small that I can just about count them on one hand. The number of times I've done that in an audience is exactly once: when I saw Spike in 1984 at the age of sixteen.

I can't remember the jokes; all I can remember is him having to come back again and again to satisfy the cries for encores. By the end he was sitting on the edge of the stage just talking about nothing, about uneventful bus trips, and we were still entranced. I doubt there was a single person in the audience who wanted to go home that night.

Spike was simply the best there was. You rotter, you deaded me, and now you're dead.
posted by rory at 4:15 AM on February 27, 2002

this is a good piece from the guardian
posted by quarsan at 4:20 AM on February 27, 2002

He ran to the forest to get there before the trees - come back soon m8, come back soon XXX
posted by Arqa at 4:23 AM on February 27, 2002

Note on Spike's office door:


From: More Spike Milligan Letters.

See you, Spike ...
posted by feelinglistless at 4:37 AM on February 27, 2002

Child Songs by Spike Milligan

There is a song in man
There is a song in woman
And that is the child's song
When that song comes
There will be no words
Do not ask where they are
Just listen to the song
Listen to it-
Learn it-
It is the greatest song of all.
posted by Tarrama at 5:15 AM on February 27, 2002

It was only a short while ago that Harry Secombe died as well.

Chuck Jones AND Spike Milligan both dead in a week's time....not many left at the Old Comic Geniuses Home, I'm afraid.
posted by briank at 5:52 AM on February 27, 2002

When you consider his lifestyle, I was surpised that he outlived the other Goons.

He was a comic genius and will be sorely missed.
posted by jackiemcghee at 6:30 AM on February 27, 2002

Spike Milligans daughter lives on my block, he is some kind of vicarious local hero, I think I'll go leave some flowers on her lawn, Spike was an inspiration to me and I owe a great part of my sense of humour to him.

you'll be missed Spike, you crazy bastard
posted by eyere at 6:41 AM on February 27, 2002

We are losing them all fast, aren't we? Ah, Spike, you'll be missed.

Guess I'll have to dig out those Goon Show tapes.
posted by dagnyscott at 7:36 AM on February 27, 2002

I wish the BBC hadn't trashed the 3rd series of Not Only...But Also. The "Poets Cornered" sketches, featuring Peter Cook(who, IMHO, really was the funniest man who ever existed)and Spike Milligan, were hilarious, according to all accounts(e.g. Humphrey Carpenter's recent book on British satire in the Sixties).

The thing about Spike Milligan is that he really was an unfettered, utterly free spirit who often didn't even try to be funny. He was the least false entertainer I've ever seen, constantly striving for absolute honesty and, when being honest was absurd, it was very funny. When it wasn't...well, it wasn't. But there was still something - that honesty - there. It didn't turn to vapour as failed attempts to be funny always do. Lots of his stuff fell flat simply because he refused to pander. And he was a bitter bastard, with a heart entirely unsuited for it.

I can't think of another comedian that could be said about. And it's what I most liked about him. ;(
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:11 AM on February 27, 2002

I grew up on the Goons too. Sorry to see Milligan go.
posted by Kafkaesque at 9:19 AM on February 27, 2002

The only time I ever saw him was on an episode of The Muppet Show.

It was a match made in Heaven: it was difficult to figure out who was crazier.
posted by dragonmage at 10:41 AM on February 27, 2002

As far as I remember, he was also in Mel Brooks' History of the World, Part I. All I remember is him releasing his (dead) birdy friends.

"Be free!"

posted by Kafkaesque at 10:56 AM on February 27, 2002

my favoutite poem


String is a very important thing.
Rope is thicker,
But string,
Is quicker.

p.s. The meaning of this is obscure
That's why, the higher the fewer

from 'Silly Verse for kids'
posted by ginz at 11:32 AM on February 27, 2002

Nicked from the Milligan thread at the Comedy Forum on NotBBC (before which it was nicked from another, non-comedy-related message-board):

A relative of mine lived close to him and told of one of the neighbours passing him in the street who recognised him and said "I've seen you on the telly". Spike completely blanked her and walked off.

About half an hour later there was a knock on the door and there stood Mr. Milligan who said "I've seen you in the garden" .. and walked off.

posted by Grangousier at 2:31 PM on February 27, 2002

Oh man, not only did I double post, I screwed up his last name. (Can I blame it on watching Bob Dylan at the Grammys? No? Crap.). Find a lot of material, including 40 show transcriptions here.
posted by maudlin at 7:08 PM on February 27, 2002

"I talk to the trees...That's why they put me away..."

Vale Spike.
posted by emf at 7:58 PM on February 27, 2002

"I don't mind dying. I just don't want to be there when it happens."

We'll miss you, Spike
posted by Monk at 9:37 PM on February 27, 2002

Oh, and my favourite Milligan poem:

There are holes in the sky,
Where the rain gets in.
But they're ever so small,
That's why the rain is thin.
posted by Monk at 9:38 PM on February 27, 2002

I don't mind dying. I just don't want to be there when it happens

Monk, that's Woody Allen. I'm sure Spike would have appreciated the sentiment though.
posted by emf at 10:15 PM on February 27, 2002

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