Ken Dodd, the man from Mirthy-side: a career in clips and 10 of his best jokes | Stage
Ten of the best Ken Dodd jokes
My agent died at 90. I always think he was 100 and kept 10% for himself.
I do all the exercises every morning in front of the television – up, down, up, down, up, down. Then the other eyelid.
How many men does it take to change a toilet roll? Nobody knows. It’s never been tried.
What a beautiful day for dashing down to Trafalgar Square and chucking a bucket of whitewash over the pigeons and saying ‘There you are, how do you like it?’
I have kleptomania. But when it gets bad, I take something for it.
What a beautiful day for Dame Nellie Melba to drop a choc-ice down her tights and say ‘How’s that for a knickerbocker glory?’
You’ve got to be a comedian to live there. I call it Mirthy-side.
What a lovely day for knocking on a TV policeman’s door and saying: ‘Hello Mrs Savalas. Have you got a licence for your Telly?’
Did any of us, in our wildest dreams, think we’d live long enough to see the end of the DFS sale?
My dad knew I was going to be a comedian. When I was a baby, he said, ‘Is this a joke?’
Late Night Line-Up: 1965
Journalists have long been attempting to dissect the “differences” between the northern and southern sense of humour, and Dodd gave his pointed opinions on an episode of BBC2’s Late Night Line-Up in 1965. “What was that loads of old codswallop?” he says of a clip of That Was the Week That Was. “Sounded like Psalm 26. Was that supposed to be funny, was it?”
The Ken Dodd Laughter Show: 1979
The Diddymen – the miniature characters of Merseyside mythology brought to life by Dodd – supposedly inhabited his hometown of Knotty Ash. They were originally an unseen joke, but eventually began to appear on stage and TV with him, either as stringpuppets or children in garish clothes. Here’s their theme song, We Are the Diddymen.
Des O’Connor Tonight: 1983
When Ken Dodd first started performing in 1954, censorship was far stricter than by the time he appeared on Des O’Connor’s chat show in 1983. But when O’Connor tried to ask Dodd for his opinions on comedy taboos and the new wave of standups, Doddy’s responses were typically jocular.
Ken Dodd’s Live Laughter Tour: 1996
After he was charged with tax evasion in 1989, Dodd’s career saw a revival. He was eventually acquitted and off the back of the newfound attention played a mammoth eight-month run at the London Palladium. Here he is joking about his case on his 1996 video, Ken Dodd’s Live Laughter Tour. “I’m Kenneth Arthur Dodd; artist, model and failed accountant.” Dodd’s live shows famously overran, often stretching to five or six hours. But this VHS runs at a modest 100 minutes.
Dawn French’s Boys Who Do Comedy: 2007
Dawn French interviewed Dodd for her BBC1 show Boys Who Do Comedy in 2007. Dodd revealed how much of his epic shows are ad-libbed. “I’ve stood on the stage many times and heard myself telling jokes that I’ve never heard of,” he said. When an improvised gag was a keeper, he’d nod to a band member who would write it down in a notebook.
At 89, Dodd was given a knighthood for his charity work and services to the entertainment industry. He said he was “tickled” to receive it, and had a bit of fun comparing camera crews’ microphones to his famous tickling stick.