My Comedy Hero: Fascinating Aïda on their funny faves
- Brian Donaldson
- 22 November 2019
Dillie, Adèle and Liza discuss Lucille Ball, Marti Caine and Woody Allen
The acclaimed cabaret trio are all set to hit the road for another show of unstoppable glamour and fun-filled songs. Before they head off, Dillie, Adèle and Liza take time out to nominate their comic idols.
Lucille Ball had everything. Timing to die for. Fearlessness. Vulnerability and faux aggression that vanished in a puff of smoke. Willingness to make a twat of herself. Physical genius. She was willing to work like an ant to get things right: she once spent several days learning how to toss pizza dough in the air for a particular scene. She also had great trust in her writers, and always credited them with her success. Oh, and she was damn gorgeous too. She was a rare thing: a pretty woman happy to look like – and be – a clown.
Marti Caine is one of my comedy heroes. This beautiful woman (that Farrah Fawcett hair!) sang, danced and did impressions. She was also extremely funny and not afraid to send herself up. It's worth remembering that she won New Faces, beating both Lenny Henry and Victoria Wood in the process. How's that for credentials? Another very funny, glamorous songstress was Ruth Wallis. Born in 1920, her comic songs such as 'Queer Things' and 'He'd Rather Be a Girl' often dealt with homosexuality. She also wrote 'Sweater Girl' and 'Boobs' (no explanation needed). Judged by today's standards, many of her songs are decidedly un-PC. I like her all the more for that.
So, is it wrong to say Woody Allen? Despite all the controversy that follows this horn-rimmed depressive around, he is my comedy hero. Not necessarily for the movies, although Hannah and Her Sisters might be up there with my all-time faves, but for the stand-up years (1964-1968) and in particular, for 'The Moose', two minutes and 49 seconds of perfectly crafted joy and not a swear word in sight. 'Mechanical Objects', 'Eggs Benedict', 'The Lost Generation': these are the sketches I grew up with and I know almost every neurotic word of these wonderful observation pieces. Complex, flawed, brilliant.
Fascinating Aïda are on tour from Tuesday 10 December–Sunday 5 April.