Celebration of Liverpool’s Laughter-Makers
Presented by Ken Dodd
St George’s Hall (1st-2nd April 2008)
Amid the splendour of St George's Hall, comic maestro Ken Dodd paid lavish
tribute to many of Liverpool’s outstanding laughter-makers from
the past, notably four of his mentors - Tommy Handley, Ted Ray, Arthur
Askey and Robb Wilton.
Despite recently turning eighty years of age, Dodd – voted the
Greatest Merseysider Ever by BBC radio listeners – has lost little
of his comic touch and his warm rapport with an audience.
He teased those in attendance to expect to get home on a milk float,
which is a reference to the often long duration of his performances –
sometimes running for over five hours – but luckily I managed to
get the last train home!
Many of his jokes are extremely corny and old as the hills, but that
is a large part of his charm and appeal. I heard some of the jokes he
told when I was a nipper in short trousers, but they still drew a lot
of laughter from the packed audience.
Dodd has spent over fifty years trading the boards, and it is evident
that he still retains the love of performing.
He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of comedy and its performers –
he possesses over 90,000 books on comedy – but unfortunately he
is the last of that breed of comedian who relies on his innate gifts of
performing and timing in delivering a joke, and who does not change his
style to conform with current trends.
He IS old-fashioned, but he relishes being that, and so do the people
who adore him.
Will he ever retire? I think not.
The two performances were commissioned by Liverpool
Culture Company as part of the year.