Site Logo  The Two Ronnies
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It can be easy to make people laugh. Making your friends laugh is almost automatic half the time even if you are not gifted as a comedian to the degree that people like Dylan Moran and Dara O’Briain are. But humour such as theirs tends to be aimed at certain sensibilities and would therefore not appeal to most people. 15 million people do not watch Black Books nor Mock the Week, put it that way.
To make people laugh right across the social spectrum and generations takes real comic genius. To appeal to so many people, it is not enough to resort to endless smuttiness or toilet humour, nor simply make fun of other people’s misfortune. The Two Ronnies, for over 25 years, entertained almost every household in Great Britain with their very clever word play and characters, finding that elusive quality in which there is something for us all.
They were not always always funny but what they did was find a way of resonating with everybody in the family, even the moody teenager with far better to do now than relax in front of the fire with mum and dad. The classic Two Ronnies sketches had a joke for everybody, yes, sometimes very corny and in many cases dated now, but still evidently a work of art, and as entertaining today as ever.
I’ve chosen some of the best moments for this page and the next
so you can judge for yourselves. Non-native speakers of English may be confused by some of the puns and the deliberate misunderstandings, but in essence, you might be able to get an idea of why Brits tuned in in their millions every Saturday night for over a quarter of a century.
The late Ronnie Barker also made the grade in other sitcoms, such as
but his stage partner, Ronnie Corbett failed to emulate his success as part of the duo in other ventures. Nevertheless, we are not paying tribute so much to British comedy per se, but to two of the best at it. My favourite has to be Crossed Lines, top left, in which pretty much every line is inspired, as too in Mastermind, top middle, while the public voted Fork Handles (above) as the all time best, quite understandably, although some of the others have the edge.