Currently running on Gold, Wednesdays at 9pm is Bob Monkhouse: Million Joke Man – a series looking at Bob Monkhouse’s life and career. It’s a lovely programme, though for a show which celebrates Bob’s incredible archive, zooming and cropping that archive to 16:9 so the picture quality goes to absolute shit is a bizarre way of showing respect for it. And whilst the second half of the first episode settled down somewhat, the first half was full of entirely pointless talking heads. Just what is Ricky Grover actually doing there? And get your greasy mitts off Bob’s joke books.
As part of promotion for the series, Mail Online ran this article, which I’m linking to out of a sense of obligation, but please feel free not to give them any more hits. And here’s where we get to the relevance of G&T to all this – Tom Worsley pointed us towards a very interesting image from that article from one of those famed joke books. Here’s a transcript:
There are many things men are hard put to explain: “How were the pyramids built?”…”What is that panty girdle doing on the back seat of your car?” “The Bermuda Triangle… why is it that so many writers have mysteriously made so much money from this small stretch of ocean? Was God an astronaut – and if so, did he have a crewcut? (SON OF CLICHÉ)
A bit of investigation shows this to be from Series 1 Episode 4 of Son of Cliché – first broadcast on Radio 4 on the 15th September 1983. Here’s the relevant bit in question. Aren’t we good to you?
The idea of Bob Monkhouse recording Son of Cliché and transcribing that joke sends shivers down my spine.
Interestingly, note that Bob entirely left out the “cigar-shaped object” line. To be honest, whilst the material isn’t awful, it’s certainly far from the strongest material Son of Cliché has to offer, so I’m slightly bemused as to why it caught the ear of one of the funniest men who has ever lived. But I’m not going to sneer. Not about a man who – as documented in The Secret Life of Bob Monkhouse – once recorded the teatime and late-night showings of TFI Friday in case they were different edits. Which makes him the only comedian who ever lived who might have actually enjoyed Xtended Revisited.
Now, to bring the whole thing full circle – surely nobody has footage of Bob actually using this material? That would just be too much to hope for.