THE LAST LAUGH
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!”