I was very young when this was first shown and I loved the silliness and speed of it. I was a fan of old black and white silent movies and the physical comedy The Goodies performed was very much in that mould.
Many years later I was in Spitalfields market on a Sunday with a friend when I excitedly said: ‘There's Bill Oddie!’ I rushed through the crowds of shoppers towards him. (When I say shoppers, it was Spitalfields. It's basically wealthy, young, middle class students slumming it dressed how they believe working class EastEnders dress with an astonishing accuracy reminiscent of Dick Van Dyke.) ‘Excuse me Mr Oddie...’ I spluttered. ‘I'd just like to say I'm a big fan of yours’. He looked at me and very graciously said: ‘And I'm a big fan of yours too!’
I felt like a fool and had completely forgotten that I was on TV myself at the time. It was a lovely moment for me though, if a tad unprofessional. However, on reflection, I was glad I reacted the way I did as it proved I still had the child in me.
I think this may well have been the first US sitcom that I truly watched. It was aired on Friday nights and like all good American sitcoms ran for longer than the lifespan of a Galapagos tortoise.
I loved it from Episode One. It was right up my street, it kept the pathos to just the right amount and the pedal to the metal as far as the gag rate was concerned. I have never understood why we in the UK have never produced a show with this laughter rate. The talent is out there to produce the gags, but does not seem to be harnessed.
If anything, in recent times, our sitcoms are getting weaker. There are the odd exceptions – thankfully – like The IT Crowd, which is laugh-out-loud funny.
Uncontrollably, I found myself laughing the moment the film began. Twenty minutes into the movie I was giggling hysterically. At the 30 minute mark, security escorted me from the building. In my defence, I was mentally unwell at the time and had reacted quite badly to my new medication.
[Lee isn’t the only one to see the funny in the harrowing Holocaust drama, as this spoof trailer shows]:
Stand Up Comic (Album by Woody Allen)
When I decided to try writing stand up I thought I should listen to some first. Back then the place to find anything was your local library. For younger people, this was a building where you could go and borrow books and records for free. A bit like Amazon, but you don't pay upfront and then claim a refund when you send things back pretending they didn't work properly.
I found an album called Stand Up Comic by Woody Allen.I took it to the librarian to confirm the scratches that were already on the record. It's the same concept as when you hire a car. You make a note of the scratches and dents that are there so that you don't pay for them when you return the vehicle. Usually, the dodgier the hire company, the greater the damage. On one occasion the paperwork took ages. I've never been good at drawing, but felt I should accurately portray the pedestrian stuck in the front grill.
Once I got the album home I sat down to listen. It was very, very, very funny. Woody was an excellent stand-up. This definitely influenced the very first gags I ever wrote. Very quickly though, as with most comics, you find your own personality and character comes to the fore. I feel though that it was like a jump start for me and I am very indebted to Mr Allen for his assistance.
I'm Alan Partridge
I didn't see the whole of this series when it was first transmitted as I was in prison at the time due to a violent attack on a cinema manager after he refused to refund me after having me thrown out of a movie.
I subsequently saw all of it years later when it was repeated. I thought it was absolutely brilliant. Steve Coogan's performance was exceptional. Alan Partridge is possibly the most unique comic character created on these shores. The series is regularly shown on TV and definitely bears repeating. I can always dip into an episode and still enjoy it. Although I do suffer the odd flashback and am too scared to use the shower for several days.
Micky Flanagan: The Out Out Tour Live DVD
This one is a bit of a cheek. I could sit here and say how great this DVD is, but I've never actually seen it.
However I have seen everything that's on it live. Micky was a regular performer at my comedy club over the years and was at the top of the tree for delivering every time.
He is one of the few comics that fellow comics can watch and enjoy time and time again. It's the performance as much as the material. He takes you into his world and you don't want to leave. It also happens to be a great joy to me personally to see a fellow East Ender do so well although he does now live Saarrrfff of the river (*spits*).
- Lee Hurst has just started a new tour, Too Scared To Leave The House. Click here for dates.