A Celebration of Liverpool’s Laughter-Makers

Presented by Ken Dodd
St George’s Hall (1st-2nd April 2008)

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

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 European Capital of Culture year.

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