My Comedy Hero: Bennett Arron on Monty Python, Laurel & Hardy, Tommy Cooper and more

My Comedy Hero by Bennett Arron

The Welsh funnyman discusses the influence of old-school comedians on his material

Over the years I‘ve had several comedy heroes. My first, and the one who remains the best, is my dad. Although not every joke is a gem, his ability to make light of situations by means of a joke is unequalled. My father introduced me to some other early comedy heroes including the Goons and Laurel and Hardy. I once took my children to the Laurel and Hardy Museum in Ulverston where they showed their films in a small cinema. It was incredible to see yet another generation of Arrons laughing uncontrollably.

Like many of today’s older comedians (and yes it hurts to say that) I grew up laughing at Morecambe and Wise, Tommy Cooper and Dave Allen. These people could tell jokes in such a stylish, conversational manner that you weren’t even aware they were jokes. I then added Monty Python to my list of heroes, and school friends and I would learn the words of the sketches and then record them in a blatant act of plagiarism.

My last comedy hero is not as well-known as any of the above. Before you Google Kelly Monteith, I can tell you he is an American comedian who had an incredibly funny series on the BBC. Although others had broken the Fourth Wall before him, he made it much more part of his persona. My brother and I saw his one-man show in London and it was one of the funniest things I’ve seen. Sadly he’s not the household name he once was. Some people say it’s because he changed his ‘clean’ material and started swearing a lot to keep up with the changing face of comedy. Who knows what the reason is. I just remember seeing him perform, watching the audience laugh and thinking, ‘I wonder what that feels like?’ Maybe one day I’ll find out …

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