How tickled he was
March 12, 2018 1:34 AM   Subscribe

RIP Sir Ken Dodd, comedian and entertainer, one of the last of the musical hall generation and dodger of the tax man right up until the end. posted by fearfulsymmetry (20 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
A friend went to see him perform just a few months ago - and said he was as good as ever. I remember driving into Liverpool for the first time and being astonished that Knotty Ash was a real place (major Ken Dodd originated, disruptive earworm at this link)
posted by rongorongo at 2:02 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


What an amazing person. I always thought of him as a master of getting away with entertaining the prudes with the lewd. "What a beautiful day for sticking a cucumber through the vicar's letterbox and shouting 'The Martians are coming!'" Or his famous song "Happiness, happiness, the greatest gift that I possess / I thank the Lord I've been blessed / With more than my share of happiness"

I hope he was as happy as he seemed.

RIP
posted by merlynkline at 2:36 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]


.

I worked with a guy in the late 90s and his standard joke with anybody new in the office was to suddenly announce "Ken Dodd died yesterday!" to which the unsuspecting mark would (hopefully) reply "Did he?", which would allow my colleague to come back with "No, Doddy!".

He would then unfailingly dissolve into howls of laughter and everybody else in the office (who had heard this gag many, many times before) would smile, tut and shake their heads, leaving the mark looking slightly bemused and confused.

His other favourite was to say "You know who I haven't seen for a while?", "No, who?", "The Invisible Man!".
posted by jontyjago at 3:42 AM on March 12 [3 favorites]


I believe in his late career he did an awful lot to help fine old Victorian theatres all over the country survive just by performing and pulling in an immense live audience.
posted by Segundus at 3:58 AM on March 12


Guardian Obituary. Notable for the detail that - fame be dammed - he lived in the same house for all of his 90 years.
posted by rongorongo at 4:22 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]


I worked with a guy in the late 90s and his standard joke with anybody new in the office was to suddenly announce "Ken Dodd died yesterday!" to which the unsuspecting mark would (hopefully) reply "Did he?", which would allow my colleague to come back with "No, Doddy!".

For many years, this graffito graced the side wall of north London's legendary rock venue, The Rainbow. And now the unfortunate canine's owner's son is dead too.

Dodd's ambition was to play every theatre in Great Britain, and I should think he came pretty close to achieving it. His gigs were known for being very, very long, leading other comics to quip: "Ken Dodd doesn't do shows: he takes hostages!"

He was one of those legendary performers who I kept thinking I must get around to seeing live one day. And now I never will, dammit.
posted by Paul Slade at 4:40 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]


Annoying, not at all funny, and a tax cheat who got away with it because no one likes the Inland Revenue, even people who do pay their taxes.
posted by Major Tom at 4:48 AM on March 12 [3 favorites]


I was a part-time usher in the early noughts at a regional theatre in Sheffield. He played there every couple of years and the permanent staff all clamoured to be on shift for his show, not for the comedy but the 3 hours @triple overtime due to the inevitable overrun of the time slot.

I worked it once. The pay was indeed good. The comedy? Not for me. But his endurance and stage craft were something else.
posted by freya_lamb at 6:36 AM on March 12


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posted by faceplantingcheetah at 6:46 AM on March 12


The Guardian interviewed him just a few months ago. Good to know he was still active right till the end. Here he is as Yorick in Branagh's film of Hamlet (briefly seen in flashback round about the 1:31 mark). 'A fellow of infinite jest' indeed.

I went to the Ken Dodd Happiness Show at the Futurist Theatre in Scarborough (now sadly about to be demolished) nearly twenty years ago, in the company of a group of family members including my father-in-law, a very gentle and unworldly man. The innuendo in Ken Dodd's comedy was very mild indeed, but we were still a little worried that my father-in-law might be shocked by it.

About halfway through the show, Dodd looked out over the audience and demanded: 'What's the most important thing in the world, fame, money or sex?' Someone shouted 'Fame!' and off he went into one of his quick-fire routines, no doubt well-rehearsed but seeming quite spontaneous (as always, the jokes just seemed to pour out of him). Five minutes later he repeated the question: 'What's the most important thing in the world, fame, money or sex?' This time someone shouted 'Money!' and off he went again.

Then his eye fell on my father-in-law in the front row. 'You, sir! What's the most important thing in the world, fame, money or sex?' There was an expectant hush, as my father-in-law gave the question the careful consideration it deserved. Finally he spoke up: 'I think I'll have to say .. money, again.' Dodd was far too experienced a performer to be fazed by this, and within a few seconds he'd got his routine back on track, but for the rest of the evening he kept on giving my father-in-law the evil eye and making remarks about 'Mr Moneybags over there'.

Afterwards we asked my father-in-law what he thought of the show. 'It was life-affirming', he said, his highest term of praise. He bought a tickling-stick as a souvenir and kept it for the rest of his life.
posted by verstegan at 6:47 AM on March 12 [11 favorites]


One of the oddest and saddest things on his Wikipedia page:
Spouse Anne Jones
(m. 2018; his death 2018)
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:33 AM on March 12


ricochet biscuit that line possibly isn't quite as sad as it seems...they apparently were together 40 years and married a few months before he died.
posted by NervousVarun at 7:45 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


One of the oddest and saddest things on his Wikipedia page:
Spouse Anne Jones
(m. 2018; his death 2018)


Ken Dodd's wife Anne Jones pays loving tribute to husband of two days after his death aged 90

They were married on Friday, after about 40 years together.
posted by anastasiav at 7:48 AM on March 12


Here's (most) of his appearance on Doctor Who in 1987 as an Intergalactic toll-booth operator.
posted by dannyboybell at 8:39 AM on March 12


Yeah, the getting married after 40+ years together plus the "... nervous of money, nervous of having it, nervous of not having it" comments in court: he knew exactly what he was doing, and it was a supremely cruel thing to put his wife through.

But these days all we've got is the hope that he wasn't a J*mmy S*v*le, so:

.
posted by scruss at 9:28 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


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posted by PippinJack at 12:17 PM on March 12


They were married on Friday, after about 40 years together.

Ah – I knew nothing of this. Carry on.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:06 PM on March 12


"It's ten years since I went out of my mind. I'd never go back.".

Era. End of. Thanks Doddy.
.
posted by adamvasco at 5:32 PM on March 12


My dad was one of the dozens of comedy writers who wrote for Ken Dodd over the years, most of them during the period when he was on TV. The list includes all the top UK TV comedy writers of the period, even Terry Jones and Michael Palin wrote for Ken Dodd before Python.

Meanwhile I see newspaper writers posting lists of “Ken Dodd’s greatest jokes”, as if he didn’t have writers. Asshats.
posted by w0mbat at 10:21 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]


The one that would tickle me would be "Ken Dodd's dad's dog's dead!" and the many variations thereafter.
posted by Homemade Interossiter at 4:54 AM on March 14


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