Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Hello Honky Tonks

Clarence, with his catchphrase, "Hello Honky Tonks, how are you" was a character from The Dick Emery show that was a personal favourite of mine. More so than buxom blonde Mandy whose end line was always "Ooh, you are awful. But I like you." While clearly not the most sophisticated and erudite of comedic creations but I liked it without over thinking; I was a child looking for a laugh.

clarence joins up

The Dick Emery Show was a staple for me as a kid; I used to love it, along with The Dave Allen show. The Dave Allen show consisted of Allen sitting in a chair with a fag and a drink telling comedy tales interspersed with sketches and was a great example of a virtual one man show. Dave Allen unfortunately was lumped into the 'passe' bracket in the eighties but his comedy was intelligent and focused. (a post on him soon)
Dave Allen
Dick Emery’s writers were David Cummings, John Warren and John Singer, with contributions from David Nobbs, Peter Tinniswood and sketches imported from America by Mel Brooks and Mel Tolkin. The closest modern day equivalent to Dick emery is probably the Harry Enfield. Creating characters and sketches that utilise their individual gifts.
 more clarence

I liked Clarence the most and as a child I probably didn’t get the subtext, but I don’t remember Clarence being put upon or bullied in any way. Sure he was a camp stereotype of a gay man akin to Mister Humphries in Are you being served, or as portrayed in a host of TV shows of the time. But stereotypes prevailed for every minority. I just liked Clarence and found him funny. Comedy and political correctness make strange bedfellows and sometimes laughter is absolutely the right way of dealing with stupid people who hate without conscience.

Clarence was a character who made me laugh as a kid, as did Basil Brush and Sylvester the Cat. Do I think Emery was homophobic? no. Do I think the character of Clarence caused pain and suffering? no. Is it any good watching it now? not really but time and place is everything. Innocent times indeed, and maybe that’s the point.

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having said that;