Sad to hear of the passing of comedian Eddie Large, the fat funny one of comedy duo Little and Large, and pleasantly surprised to find two pieces on them in the Telegraph, both affectionate. They weren’t the world’s greatest comedians, but they entertained the ten to fifteen million viewers who tuned in to watch their shows on Saturday nights in the late 70s and 80s – though admittedly there was not much choice in those days. With the advent of alternative comedy, their family-oriented seaside routines fell out of fashion, but they continued to entertain family audiences in seaside theatres and holiday camps.
Offstage, Eddie and Syd were refreshingly unassuming. I remember them being interviewed years ago and remarking to my companion what nice people they were.
The loss is the more poignant in that their sort of comedy encapsulated a whole era. Seaside humour, knockabout, slapstick, innocent fun, were still possible because people shared so much in common. We did not have to walk around on tiptoe worrying about whether we were causing offence. We were all in it together.
I have just watched a couple of short videos of the pair and was delighted to find Eddie’s impressions still made me laugh out loud. It was undemanding stuff and the TV critic-aesthete Clive James was not very impressed. But the pair went down a treat with the audience. In one sketch, Eddie plays Clare Short who is being offered a job by Tony Blair:
Blair: Clare, you look lovely
Short: I’ve just had a makeover.
Blair: Really, who did it?
Short: Two big blokes and an industrial sander
The good old days? Not totally sure, but I wouldn’t mind going back.
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Hear! Hear! Growing up in Oz in the 70s and 80s, we were also entertained by those wonderful English shows such as The Two Ronnies, Morecambe & Wise, Benny Hill, Dave Allen (irreverent and Irish).. ‘It A’int ‘Alf Hot, Mum’.. and the funniest and most heart-warming of all, “Dads Army”.
The best of British.. at least as it used to be..
As usual, it takes an Aussie to remind us what is of true cultural significance in our nation!