28 May 2009

The comedians’ comedian

Peter Cook and Dudley Moore were paired together in the show Not Only... But Also. The show gained a cult following. Nevertheless, the BBC erased most of the tapes in order to reuse them and wouldn't even let Cook buy them (or buy replacement tapes).
Only the best of what’s left is now available, like the Psychiatrist sketch posted above.
Stephen Fry held Peter Cook in the highest regards and named him “the funniest man who ever drew breath”. In 2005, Peter Cook was voted by comedy fellows and insiders as the number one Comedians’ Comedian (Channel 4).
John Cleese came second. Woody Allen came third.
Peter Cook used no props. He was no teller of jokes. He developed no signature character to perform against your laughter. “You fill me with inertia,” he communicated to Moore and the audience with his (lack of) facial expression.
When he saw the prime minister in the audience, he abandoned the script and attacked him directly. And when he felt particularly blasphemous, he asked the audience not to send him any pamphlets.
An unapologetic, brilliant, brilliant comedian.

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