Nel­son’s Col­umn: Keep­ing an eye on the na­tion

This England - - Contents - Ge­orge Nel­son

Hav­ing­been brought up sur­rounded by the Jewish com­mu­nity, I ap­pre­ci­ate their quirky self-ef­fac­ing hu­mour. What I didn’t ap­pre­ci­ate un­til re­cently, how­ever, was that older Jewish co­me­di­ans never swore. Re­mem­ber Danny Kaye, Phil Sil­vers (Sgt. Bilko), Grou­cho Marx, Jack Benny, Jerry Lewis, Ge­orge Burns and Allan Sher­man? What a pity most mod­ern co­me­di­ans — I use the word ad­vis­edly — don’t fol­low their ex­am­ple.

Eric Sykes and many other gen­uinely funny men be­moaned the coarse­ness and vul­gar­ity preva­lent in mod­ern stand-up comics but, hap­pily, Ken Dodd con­tin­ues to be an in­spi­ra­tion.

For­tu­nately, you can still en­joy older com­edy pro­grammes online at BBC Ra­dio 4 Ex­tra.

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