IS IT A FUNNY OLD BUSINESS?by Tim Marshall
This was written during my days as a ship's musician on SS Canberra
Musicians must be bain of comedians lives. Well, we've heard it all before; and if we haven't on the first show, we certainly have by the second. We also have a reputation for a bizarre sense of humour. The general rule of thumb for comedians is if the band laughs, leave it out.
The poor comic has, therefore, a group of people sat behind him either stony faced or absent mindedly gazing in to their music stands where there will almost certainly be a book or magazine. Generally, we just don't find comedians funny. There are a couple of exceptions: the surreal Tommy Sutton and the brilliant Dave Evans for example and a comedian who in deference to his future career (which can be described at best as "dubious") I will call "Chas".
Chas looked good and had a fine delivery. The problem was he was very very stupid. His act consisted of telling a series of jokes he had heard from other comics without understanding them in the slightest.That's why he got them wrong.
This became apparent when he began his first show hopping from foot to foot explaining that it was his impression of "the first Irishman on the moon". It should, of course, have been "on the sun".
It became a sort of lateral thinking problem for us trying to work out what the jokes should have been. "The Scotsman who was found starved to death on a pay as you enter bus", took the longest to solve. Eventually Roger put his finger in the air and whispered triumphantly "pay as you leave!"
The one about the incontinent man who phones his doctor, and when asked "Where are you (w)ringing from?", replies "From the waist down"; became "Where are you phoning from?" "From the waist up".
But the one that nearly had us sending out for clean underwear was the one about the duck that went to buy some lip balm and when asked by the chemist "Would you like to pay cash?", replied "No, could you put it on my bill?".
Chas's version was: "So the chemist asked if the duck wanted to pay cash, and the duck said 'No, would you put it on my beak?".
The bemused audience sat in silence while hoots of laughter rang out from the bandstand as musicians clutched their ribs and wiped tears from their eyes. Sadly, I don't think we'll see Chas on here again. It's such a pity.