The stand-up comedian is our hero. Unchanged fundamentally since the days of the Music Hall, he – and occasionally she – has been a waspish or laconic or outrageous commentator on politics, sex, work, friends and the family.
In Funny Way to be a Hero John Fisher traces the traditions of the music hall comedian as they are handed down through the great British comics of the twentieth century. Dan Leno, the Crazy Gang, Will Hay and Max Miller are seen to pass the baton to the great radio comics like Arthur Askey, Tony Hancock, Frankie Howerd and the Goons. In time Morecambe and Wise, Tommy Cooper, Benny Hill, the Two Ronnies and Ken Dodd are seen to hold the flame.
The comedians understand us as no-one else, and in this brilliantly original and funny book John Fisher comes close to understanding them, what makes us laugh and the connecting themes in their humour and our responses. Quoting widely from their acts, he approaches the essence of their art: 'The best book about twentieth-century British entertainers I have ever read.' (The Times)
First published in 1973 when he was in his late 20s John Fisher's Funny Way to be a Hero is regarded as the finest book ever written on 20th century comedians and comedy. Fisher in his career as a television producer went on to become a friend to many of the subjects written about in his book. Forty years later he has revised and expanded the original from this perspective and added six new chapters. With spectacular new design and over 350 illustrations, many never published before, this will be a landmark publication.
For the first time, Tommy Cooper’s biographer, writer and producer, John Fisher, collects between two covers the cream of the comedian’s personal archives, with photographs, memorabilia and documents that have never been seen before.
Had Cooper kept a scrapbook, this is what he would have produced. Souvenirs from his many stage and television triumphs jostle side by side with candid shots of him at play with his family, many revealing a side to the man the public never really saw. Here is the authentic side of Tommy in the forces, the early show business struggle, the backstage world of his magic, the newspaper coverage of the most recognisable man in Britain, the crazy japes at home with wife Gwen, and so much more.
This book, with its brilliant colour images and hilarious text, puts the successive stages of Tommy’s life in full context. And if you don’t want to follow his life in biographical detail, just sit back and relax by laughing at the many jokes that crowd the pages. They tell their own story!
For the first time the secret joke archives of the legendary comedian are opened up for all to enjoy. Relive the laughter with jokes on every subject from 'A for Absent-minded' to 'Z for Zoo'. Part of an ongoing series of books celebrating the Cooper legacy, Tommy Cooper's Secret Joke Files follows hot on the heels of John Fisher's bestselling The Tommy Cooper Joke Book and Tommy Cooper's Mirth, Magic and Mischief. It promises to be the funniest yet.
My little boy learnt the alphabet. I said, 'What comes after A?' He said,
'All the rest of them!'
I said, 'Doctor, I keep getting these dizzy spells.' He said, 'Vertigo?' I said,
'No, I only live up the road!'
Facts of Life
When my wife was pregnant we went to see a baby doctor, but he didn't
know anything. He was only eight months old!
I used to have a riding school, but business kept falling off!
I said to the waiter, 'There's no chicken in this chicken soup.' He said,
'And there's no horse in the horseradish either!'
The other night I had an argument with my wife in the launderette ...
but we went home and ironed things out!
John Fisher has enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a television producer and executive, working for both the BBC and ITV. A recognised authority on magic and magicians, he shares with Tommy Cooper the distinction of being a Gold Star Member of The Inner Magic Circle. Tommy Cooper's Mirth, Magic and Mischief follows hot on the heels of John's bestselling The Tommy Cooper Joke Book and his earlier critically acclaimed biography of the comedian, Always Leave Them Laughing.