Boom Boooom out go the lights.
I can’t stand the bores who destroy perfectly good conversations with comedy quotes, particularly comedy from the 60s and 70s. They should be shoved into the stocks and have tomatoes thrown at them, particularly ones in tins. And, of all the culprits, the one I hate the most is myself.
I was in the pub last night with my brother in law John who’d come down from Edinburgh. He’s a musician and was talking about a tough gig he’d done.
“Luxury!” I barked in my worst cod Monty Python Yorkshire. “When I were a young lad….” I was cut dead by John’s pitying stare. “If you’re going to try and be funny,” he said, “try and do something new.”
He’s right, but sometimes I just can’t help it. At inexplicable and unpredictable moments I’m taken over by an urge to yell out catchphrases that lost their comic lustre round about the time of the three day week. I don’t know whether I’m suffering from an undiagnosed Tourette’s variant or have been possessed by a particularly malignant demon.
Just when the conversation’s going well and I’m beginning to congratulate myself on my limited but hard-won social skill I’ll find myself bleating “Oooh you are awful – but I like you!” or “You’ve deaded me again, you naughty person”. We were just forgetting the “Luxury” incident with John when he got on to his weekly routine. I had to dash out to the toilet so no one could hear me chanting “On Wednesdays I go shopping - and have buttered scones for tea.”
Why is it OK with Bob Dylan? I can drop in a quick “There must be some way out of here, said the Joker to the Thief” to the general chatter and anyone over 40 will nod appreciatively and anyone under will give an admiring look thinking I’ve quoted Shakespeare. But riff through John Cleese’s or Peter Cook’s back catalogue and you’re elbowed to the side of the counter.
I should stop doing it. It’s ex-comedy. It has passed on. It’s ceased to be.. It’s ..
There I go again.
Just don't quote John Cleese on this...