Ref NoBSUCA/JP/1/2/5
CollectionJohn Pidgeon Collection
TitleHarry Hill interviewed for 'Talking Comedy'
Name of creatorPidgeon, John, 1947-2016
Date29/07/1996
Duration1 hr. 18 min. 59 sec.
Extent1 sound cassette (DAT 125)
1 audio file Broadcast WAVE Format
DescriptionHarry Hill interviewed by John Pidgeon at The Sound Company, London, for 'Talking Comedy', a BBC Radio 2 programme in which comedians talk about the people that make them laugh. This is the unedited interview, not the programme as broadcast.

Summary: [00:32] Recording begins. John Pidgeon and Harry Hill [HH] general chat about Larry Grayson. [02:30] Interview begins, John Pidgeon asks HH what comedy he watched as a child.
[02:59] HH says that as a kid he watched Bruce Forsyth on The Generation Game. HH recalls a benefit gig at Fairfield Hall he did with Bruce Forsyth. [04:14] Morecambe & Wise. [04:50] HH talks about when Ernie Wise came to the hospital he was working at.
[06:20] John Pidgeon asks if HH thinks there’s a connection between Morecambe & Wise and The Two Ronnies other than that they were both double acts on television. HH says The Two Ronnies weren’t a double act in the same way, and describes Mel Smith & Griff Rhys Jones in the same way.
[07:54] Laurel & Hardy. HH discusses the Fresh Fish routine. [08:58] HH talks about Rik Mayall & Adrian Edmondson as a modern double act, but says they weren’t a double act in the traditional sense. [09:06] Reeves & Mortimer were a double act in the traditional sense. [10:03] John Pidgeon and HH discuss Boom Oo Yata-Ta-Ta by Morecambe and Wise.
[11:22] The Goon Show, HH says he’s a big fan of Spike Milligan, and was introduced to him through the Q… series. [12:20] Then he went out and bought the Goon Show tapes and scripts, which led to him watching the Pink Panther Films with Peter Sellers and Highway with Harry Secombe. [14:03] HH says that he sees a lot of Spike Milligan in Reeves & Mortimer’s material.
[14:15] Bob Newhart [14:52] HH says when he lived in Hong Kong, he heard Bob Newhart’s Driving Instructor routine on the plane. [15:22] HH says Al Read did similar routines to Bob Newhart where he plays all the parts, but wonders if Bob Newhart was the first person to do this style of comedy. [16:47] John Pidgeon tells HH that Bob Newhart’s routines often had up to ten writers.
[17:25] Max Miller, HH says he never appreciated Max Miller until he himself started doing comedy [18:09] HH says that Max Miller is very modern and not a million miles away from Frank Skinner. [19:33] John Pidgeon talks about his personal misconceptions about Max Miller. [21:28] John Pidgeon asks HH if he picks up certain mannerisms from performers.
[24:14] Woody Allen. [24:26] HH says his favourite film of all-time is Broadway Danny Rose. [25:11] somebody recommended Woody Allen’s stand-up to him.
[27:30] John Pidgeon brings up HH’s appearance on the David Letterman Show, and HH talks about trying to get on the show four times and being bumped the first three times, and how highly they must regard comics. [28:01] someone told HH that Rita Rudner was bumped 12 times before she appeared on the show.
[31:23] Emo Philips said that the two best comics when he began were Jay Leno and David Letterman. [31:44] John Pidgeon asks HH if he’s familiar with Dennis Miller. [32:16] HH says he admires people like David Letterman for how well they can ad lib, and says Frank Skinner and Paul Merton work in a similar way.
[32:40] John Pidgeon asks HH to talk about Arnold Brown, Norman Lovett, and John Hegley. HH talks about seeing these three and Jeremy Hardy at the Battersea Jongleurs club. [33:35] HH describes Norman Lovett as the ultimate deadpan comedian. [33:45] HH says Arnold Brown is one of the best political satirists because he’s funny with it, and doesn’t bang you over the head with it or preach.
[35:18] John Hegley, HH describes as a hero for anyone who wears glasses, and says that anyone who does stand-up poetry “stinks of John Hegley”.
[36:35] Hello Cheeky [37:30] Radio sketch show starring Tim Brooke-Taylor, who HH liked since The Goodies, which was a juvenile Monty Python with a charming cheap quality, [38:09] Funky Gibbon [38:30] HH says he personally thinks the best comic record ever done was Ernie by Benny Hill.
[39:16] The Rutles, HH likes The Beatles and likes all of the details and references, Eric Idle played the quintessential “reporter on location in a mac” in the mockumentary, he never saw Rutland Weekend Television, [40:18] HH tells a story about his brother seeing Barry from The Rutles behind the bar of a pub in Suffolk, [41:11] George Harrison makes a cameo, as well as John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, from Eric Idle’s Saturday Night Live days.
[41:58] HH brings up Ronnie Corbett.
[42:30] John Pidgeon goes through the clips, faint clip of [43:28] [44:29] faint Laurel & Hardy clip [45:24] faint Bob Newhart clip [46:15] clip ends [46:49] faint Max Miller clip [47:04] clip ends [47:49] faint Morecambe & Wise clip [48:47] Clip ends, HH praises the writing of Eddie Braben, [49:17] HH brings up the Ronnie Corbett monologues, the writer was Spike Mullins.
[50:02] Morecambe & Wise clip [50:54] faint Ronnie Corbett clip [51:51] clip ends, HH talks about Ronnie Corbett. [54:04] faint Hello Cheeky clip [55:15] clip ends, HH suspects that the routine in the clip was written by Barry Cryer. [56:20] faint Rutles clip [57:01] clip ends, HH mentions Neil Innes and says he found The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band impenetrable. [58:11] HH brings up that he’s in a comedic Beatles tribute band. [59:07] faint Woody Allen clip [01:00:00] clip ends [01:00:27] faint Arnold Brown clip [01:01:27] clip ends, HH says there are similarities between Woody Allen and Arnold Brown. [01:01:52] faint Norman Lovett clip, [01:02:57] clip ends [01:03:26] faint John Hegley clip, [01:03:56] clip ends [01:04:16] faint On The Hour clip, [01:04:50] clip ends, HH talks about the strident voice of Chris Morris, and describes the show as uncompromising. [01:07:03] faint Reeves & Mortimer clip [01:07:39] clip ends, HH discusses signature closing tunes. For Max Miller it was “Mary From The Dairy”, for Morecambe & Wise it was “Bring Me Sunshine” and for Reeves & Mortimer it was “Oh Mr Songwriter”. [01:09:46] HH talks about Kevin McAleer, he talks about seeing a show where Stewart Lee and Kevin McAleer were on the bill, Kevin McAleer’s involves slideshows and making funny noises at the right time. [01:12:23] John Pidgeon gets HH to record the trailer and other things
NotesLPCM wave 16 bit 44.1kHz. Digital Audio Tape (DAT) captured using a PC running Windows; SPDIF connection via RME PCI card. Digitisation engineer Adrian Finn, Greatbear analogue & digital media ltd. Digital file topped and tailed.
CategoryAudio recordings
Access conditionsThis recording is available for consultation at the University of Kent's Special Collections & Archives reading room, Templeman Library, University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7NU for study/research purposes only. Access to audio-visual recordings is through digital listening copies. The University of Kent acknowledges the intellectual property rights of those named as contributors in this recording and the rights of those not identified.
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