THE LAST LAUGH

Cynon Valley - - ANTIQUES FAIR -

ROBERT ALAN MONKHOUSE (1928-2003) was born in Beck­en­ham, Kent. He at­tended Dul­wich Col­lege and be­gan his ca­reer writ­ing Christ­mas card verses for which he re­ceived a shilling (5p) for a dozen and draw­ing car­toons and sto­ries for The Beano, The Dandy, Hot­spur and Wiz­ard.

After leav­ing school, he set him­self up in busi­ness as the ed­i­tor of his own pub­li­ca­tion, com­mis­sion­ing artists and writ­ers for his comic, pay­ing them by postal or­der.

He went on to write racy pulp books for the troops dur­ing the Sec­ond World War, but a turn­ing point was win­ning sec­ond prize in a tal­ent con­test on Wor­thing Pier for telling the best joke. After Na­tional Ser­vice in the RAF, he found work as one of the BBC’s res­i­dent co­me­di­ans. He ap­peared in re­vue with Benny Hill in the late 1940s and later broke into tele­vi­sion, pre­sent­ing gameshows like The Golden Shot, Celebrity Squares and Fam­ily For­tunes. The mas­ter of the self­dep­re­cat­ing one-liner, one of his finest was: “They laughed when I said I was go­ing to be a co­me­dian ... they’re not laugh­ing now!”

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