Charlie Drake: Hero of Prog Rock

Today would be the 89th birthday of comic actor Charlie Drake. But did you know he once appeared alongside Peter Gabriel, Sandy Denny, Robert Fripp and Phil Collins in one of the weirdest prog rock line-ups ever?... Born on this day in 1925 was the diminutive comic Charlie Drake, who was, ... Read More...

‘Stupid is Funny': Rik Mayall and The Young Ones

'It ridiculed humour itself'...A week on from the untimely death of Rik Mayall, Professor Nick Groom pays tribute to that peerlessly stupid yet brilliant sitcom The Young Ones... In retrospect, it all seems so simple: a sitcom based in a dilapidated student house, showcasing upcoming young comedians. But that’s hardly recognisable ... Read More...

“But what would Dick Emery do?” – The role of the comedian in British political life

As Frank reveals, stand-up comedians have always played a vital role in British political decision-making... In his Dabbler Diary on Monday, Brit noted the delusion of contemporary “panel show comedians that they are public intellectuals, superior in their integrity and insight to the corrupt political class”. This widespread phenomenon leads the ... Read More...

Mrs Caudle’s Curtain Lectures

Nige celebrates a gem of Victorian comic writing... Born in 1803,  Douglas William Jerrold was one of those industrious Victorians writers who seem never to have slept. He was a successful dramatist (his first staged piece written when he was 14), a hugely prolific critic and journalist, a famous conversationist and ... Read More...

Punditry

If you're looking for a double entendre, Mr Slang is just the man to give you one... Those who, gazing at last week’s cab-referrent illustration, could tear their eyes from what Joyce, a connoisseur of such things, would have termed Judy Geeson’s ‘frillies’, would have noticed the strapline: ‘He gets more ... Read More...

Curb your Enthusiasm – A Comedy of Manners

Multi-talented author Henry Hitchings' new book Sorry! The English and their Manners has garnered glowing reviews. In an exclusive post for The Dabbler, Henry explains why Curb Your Enthusiasm is the ultimate comedy of manners... When I began writing a book about manners, I thought about sitcoms I could reference for ... Read More...

Frank Randle: King Twist

Nige resurrects a comic monster... The other day I found my mind turning to the Lancastrian comedian Frank Randle. I've been uneasily fascinated with this monster of comedy ever since reading King Twist: A Portrait of Frank Randle by - of all people - Jeff Nuttall, whose Bomb Culture was on ... Read More...