This is a bit of a gloomy post, as you’ll find when you get to the end. But first the unthinkable bit.
Ken Dodd wasn’t funny. I wished him no ill, and his death this week has affected a lot of other people, but he wasn’t funny. His live shows were legendary marathons of up to five hours, and for me that would have taken a significant chunk out of my life in Purgatory.
I never much liked Jim Bowen either, and Bullseye was one of the programmes that had me scrabbling for the channel change. My friend Kev loved it, but he plays darts. And he was amused when Jimbob would rub salt in the wounds of losers by showing them the ‘speedboat you would have won.’ For me, unremitting tedium.
Different story with Stephen Hawking. I was genuinely saddened by his death. This was partly because, like Marvin the Paranoid Android, he had a brain the size of a planet*. I also admired his physical fortitude, and his irrepressible sense of humour. When he toasted John Oliver, I thought I’d bust a gut. And he had enough confidence to laugh at himself on many television shows. In his own words, ‘Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny.’
For me, the saddest death this week was that of a 10 month old little boy. He was the son of somebody I like hugely, and although I didn’t know his partner (the mother) very well I’d always enjoyed meeting her.
*I’m one of the few people I know who bought A Brief History Of Time and actually read it. Twice.