(Reuters) – British police arrested comedian Freddie Starr on Thursday as part of an investigation triggered by allegations that the late BBC presenter Jimmy Savile sexually abused hundreds of children, media reported.
Whether or not Mr Starr abused kids is undecided. He is allegedly alleged to have raped a girl in Jimmy Savile’s dressing room whilst the other randy old goat was groping another girl. A more grotesque scene is hard to imagine. No, it’s not that that is the untruth, it’s the idea that Freddie Starr in any of the Universes of the Many World’s interpretation of QM could he be regarded as a “comedian”. He’s about as funny as a case of genital warts. There are things I’ve fished out of streams funnier than Starr. The last was a toilet seat. Quite how a toilet seat wound-up in my stream is an exercise I leave to the reader and I hope he lives in Baker Street and has enough ‘baccy for three pipes.
Perhaps Mr Starr would be funny if he’d gone to Salford University.
Can you teach someone how to be funny? Well Salford University certainly seems willing to try, as it launched its first comedy degree course on Monday.
Peter Kay was there to give it two of his thumbs up, and there can be no finer professional endorsement than that. The course will take twenty students at a cost of £8,500-a-year and they will be taught how to perform their own comedy material, learn drama techniques and write sitcom scripts.
There will also be modules on what makes people laugh, the business side of the industry and the cultural importance of comedy.
There are plenty of private courses around the country that teach stand-up skills, but the question is, are they ever effective? Or, is any structured teaching in this area ultimately a waste of time?
It’s strange how we instinctively seem to feel that humour has to be innate, and yet we have no problem with ballet lessons, fine art degrees or drama schools.
Now children, repeat after me, “My mother in law is sooo fat…”. For fuck’s sake! Universities (and variety theatres and pubs and clubs) over generations have produced comedians. According to St Stephen of Fry the funniest man who ever drew breath was Peter Cook. Cook honed his skills in the Cambridge Footlights whilst doing a degree in languages and writing a review show for Kenneth Williams. Peter Kay learned his schtick on the club route round Northern England.There are things that you need to learn for sure to be a comedian (in some areas that would include how to duck a well-hurled beer bottle) and it isn’t entirely innate. But that doesn’t mean it has to be (can be?) taught and the comparison with the likes of ballet is facile. This is a huge issue with me. The idea that you didn’t legitimately learn anything unless you get the certificate. That pieces of paper matter more than knowledge and honed skills. I can imagine the scene on Kill Devil Hills December 17th 1903. Actually Mr Wright you can’t do that! We need to see your pilot’s license first… I mean I understand why we have pilot’s licenses after Orv and Will but do we need to prevent dangerously unqualified comedians? Another point is the BBC have recently moved in large to Salford’s Mediocre Cityso is Salford University’s timing co-incidental. If this produces more utter crap like “My Family” then I believe a napalm strike is the only moral solution.
And the genius? Last night I was at a facility of another of Manchester’s Universities. At Jodrell Bank to hear Jocelyn Bell Burnell give a talk. The ridiculous to the sublime. She’s a long-term hero of mine and she wasn’t disappointing.