They're Ron form

Corbett praises younger comics

Ronnie Corbett has praised modern comedians, saying they are braver and brighter than in his day.

Bucking the trend for older comics to disparage subsequent generations, the 75-year-old comic said he was full of admiration for those coming through now.

Speaking at a National Theatre event to promote his new Two Ronnies biography, And It’s Goodnight From Him…, Corbett cited Harry Hill, Little Britain and Rob Brydon as the contemporary performers he most enjoyed.

‘The people now are a lot more cerebral that we were,’ he said.

‘And nowadays there’s a marriage of writing and performing. It takes huge confidence – to have written it yourself and to do it yourself is particularly brave. I find it hard enough to remember lines other people have written for me.’

‘My wife Anne and I live in Edinburgh and we make a point of going to the Fringe, where we’ve seen the League Of Gentlemen, Harry Hill – even Patrick Marber – as young performers. There’s no barrier between old and new comedy.’

But he warned that sometimes inexperience showed with acts who hadn’t cut their teeth in front of live audiences.

‘Because television is so Greedy now, people are coming on at 21, 22, without any experience of theatre,’ he said. ‘Ronnie B and I knew instinctively, and with our experience, what an audience would or wouldn’t find funny.’

Corbett, who worked in Danny La Rue’s late-night revues before being united with Ronnie Barker on The Frost Report, recently appeared in Extras snorting cocaine and will be seen in the League Of Gentleman’s Christmas special, as the object of Bubbles De Vere’s affections.

The veteran comedian also told the audience of the last time he spoke to Ronnie Barker, on his carphone on the way back from a ceremony unveiling a Two Ronnies star on the new Walk Of Fame in Covent Garden.

‘We wanted to visit him, but he was too ill,’ Corbett remembered. ‘He said, “I think I’m going. I’m ready to go.”’

Click here to order Corbett's book/

Published: 8 Nov 2006

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