Is this the best UK comedy sketch of the 1970s?


Originally published at:



Goodnight, thank you, and may your God go with you.


An old colleague of mine remembered him playing the Grand Opera House in Belfast:

"See this watch? Shockproof. Shockproof. Look -"

[holds the watch up, shouts at it:]


[shows watch to audience]


Oh, he had plenty of really good material. My favourite ones are the sketches with death in it, especially the PSA-style one where death gets run over by a drunk driver.
Or the one with the sardine factory workers going to work.
Or... excuse me, I'm off to YouTube.


Look, I'm sorry, I thought this was funny, good build-up, but on the whole I don't think this sketch is the best of anything.


It's overplayed, but I'd be surprised if Four Candles wasn't generally considered the best British 70s sketch.


One of my favorite Dave Allen moments:


The way he told stories was what I liked best about Dave Allen. His sketch comedy was great but listen to him tell the phantom piddler or the story of the captain and his red smoking jacket and you can really hear what he was about.


My parents used to watch Dave Allen.. the one that has always stuck with me is the skit where the priest comes to the door and a little girl answers. The priest says he is collecting for the orphanage and the little girl says "one minute" and walks away. A second later, you hear two gun shots and she comes back and says, "okay" and takes the priest hand and walks off...


I like Dave Allen, but the best British comedy sketch of the 70s was the Two Ronnies and Fork Handles:


Nah, I'll agree with @daneel here, I think the four candles sketch was better.


That was fucking hilarious.


Canada is part of the commonwealth, I think. So for the late 80s, there is this:


The payoff works, but up to then, zero laughs. So no, not even close to being "the best UK comedy sketch of the 1970s".

I couldn't help thinking the whole time, "why doesn't he just tear the note?" I assume the laws in the UK are similar to those in the US regarding damaged bills - if a torn bill is at least 51% of the original, it's still considered legal tender. Knowing that you could have just tear off the majority of the note, and be on your way, makes the whole skit moot, and therefore not funny.


As a self-appointed comedy corner sewer, I have to say that was one of the funniest punchlines to a skit I've seen in quite a while. Perfect tension buildup, perfect unexpected climax. I laughed out loud.

I'm rather fond of the Fish Slapping Dance myself.

I'm familiar with many British comedians but David Allen is new to me. I suspect I'm going to be spending time on YouTube. So thank you, @beschizza!!!


Dave Allen was Irish.


Whoops, my bad.


I'm afraid that I'm gonna go with Michael O'Donoghue's short sketch of Ed Sullivan (I think it was) having long, hot needles poked in his eyes. THE definitive funny sketch for the '70's. Of course, that's just me.


I think you're right. One of the key virtues of modern UK sketch humor is how it refined this particular format -- the mundane build-up ending in a sudden brilliant punchline -- until the boring bit was entertaining in its own right. This most often takes the form of a sketch that mimics something so perfectly it's automatically funny (such as movie cinematography or news broadcasts or whatever) because the audience appreciates the craftsmanship and the weird sympathetic connection it generates.

This 1990s sketch both ridiculed this format and, when you think about it, heralded its coming supremacy:

But back in the 70s it would be larded with exaggerated postures and background music and such that sap it of tension.


and Betteridge strikes again ; )