A Taste Of Funny With Denis Norden


20131130 (BBC7)
20160611 (BBC7)
From Jimmy Durante and Jack Benny - via Beyond The Fringe - to Alan Coren, Linda Smith and Victoria Wood.

Comedy writer Denis Norden curates three hours of personally-chosen comedy listening, based on his own collection of comedy albums, and from wading through nine decades of his own accumulated radio memories.

Denis explains to Nick Baker how as a young serviceman, the humour on the American Forces Network played a huge part in widening his comedy horizons. Whether it was Bette Davis sparring with Jimmy Durante or Judy Garland joking with Bob Hope, he salutes the one-liners, irreverent put downs and insults on shows like 'Command Performance'.

Denis also recalls the first American comedy vinyl in Britain and reflects on the topical, improvisational tones of Mort Sahl's jazz-inflected comedic riffs. He and Frank Muir booked Mort on the BBC. We also hear some Shelley Berman and routines chronicling 1960s changing gender relations, with male/female duos like Mike Nichols and Elaine May.

Returning to his British comedy roots, Denis enlarges on his penchant for "acoustic humour" and his love of language-based laughter.

Plus highlights of Denis's own material - leading to a masterclass in the construction of jokes as well as a tribute to his late writing partner, Frank Muir.

Denis Norden's influence on the British comedy landscape includes not only co-creating British sitcom's first dysfunctional family, the Glums (Take it From Here) but also a period as Comedy Consultant for BBC TV, alongside Frank Muir. Later, he and Frank spent decades on BBC Radio's My Word! and My Music! Denis was also ITV's long-serving presenter of comedy cock-ups for 'It'll Be Alright on The Night'.

Made for BBC Radio 4 Extra by Test Bed Productions.

First broadcast in 2013.

Denis Norden illustrates the impact American humour and British comedy had on his career.

Made for 4 Extra. Comedy writer Denis Norden with three hours of comic listening, illustrating the impact American humour and the British comedy song had on his career.