41 thoughts on “I am a Comedian – Who Am I?”

  1. John
    8. Michael Bentine CBE (1922 –1996) was a British comedian, comic actor and founding member of the Goons. A Peruvian Briton by heritage as a result of his father’s nationality, Bentine received in 1971 the Peruvian Order of Merit due to his fundraising work for the 1970 Great Peruvian Earthquake. He was educated at Eton College. He started his acting career in 1940, in a touring company in Cardiff . He went on to join Robert Atkin’s Shakespearean company in Regent’s Park, London until he was called up for service in the RAF. He was appearing in a Shakespearean play in doublet and hose in the open-air theatre in London’s Hyde Park when two RAF MPs marched on stage and arrested him for desertion. Unknown to him, an RAF conscription notice had been following him for a month as his company toured. After the war he worked in the Windmill Theatre and the Starlight Roof revues. He decided to become a comedian, specialising in off-the-wall humour, often involving cartoons and other types of animation. He co-founded The Goon Show radio show with Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers and Harry Secombe, but appeared in only the first 38 shows. He parted amicably with his partners and remained very close to Secombe and Sellers for the rest of his life. In 1972, Secombe and Sellers told Michael Parkinson that he was “always calling everyone a genius” and, since he was the only one of the four with a “proper education”, they always believed him!

  2. Cuprum

    3. Jasper Carrott OBE (born Robert Norman Davis 1945) is a British comedian, actor, television presenter and personality. In February 1969 he started his own folk club, “The Boggery”, in Solihull with his friend Les Ward, where Carrott performed folk songs as well as MC. Before long, his banter with the audience overtook the actual songs: he became known more as a comedian than a singer.

    5. Thomas Frederick “Tommy” Cooper (1921 –1984) was a popular British prop comedian and magician. Cooper was a member of The Magic Circle, and respected by traditional magicians. Famed for his red fez, his appearance was large and lumbering at 6 feet 4 inches and more than 15 stone in weight. While his stage persona required that his act intentionally went wrong for comic purposes, on 15 April 1984, Cooper famously collapsed and soon after died from a heart attack in front of millions of television viewers, midway through his act on the London Weekend Television variety show Live From Her Majesty’s, transmitted live from Her Majesty’s Theatre.

  3. OMG

    9. Thomas Reginald “Tommy” Handley (1892 –1949) was a British comedian, mainly known for the BBC radio programme ITMA (“It’s That Man Again”). He was born at Toxteth Park, Liverpool in Lancashire. He served in the British Army during World War I and went on to work in variety, and in the infancy of radio became known as a regular broadcaster. He worked with people such as Arthur Askey and Bob Monkhouse, and wrote many radio scripts, but it is the BBC comedy series ITMA for which he is best known. He later starred in the ITMA film in 1942 and in Time Flies in 1944. In later years, he suffered with high blood pressure, the result of his driving commitment to ITMA, and died suddenly on 9 January 1949 from a brain haemorrhage, 8 days before his 57th birthday. In a eulogy at his memorial service at St Paul’s Cathedral, the Bishop of London, John W C Wand, said that “[he] was one whose genius transmuted the copper of our common experience into the gold of exquisite foolery. His raillery was without cynicism, and his satire without malice.

  4. Mornin’/evenin’, Boadicea. No.1 looks like Charlie Chaplin and I’m sure Cumprum is right with Dawn French for No.2


  5. Apologies Cuprum

    2. Dawn Roma French (1957) is a British actress, writer and comedienne. She is best-known for starring in and writing for the comedy sketch show French and Saunders with comedy partner Jennifer Saunders and also for playing the lead role of Geraldine Granger in the sitcom The Vicar of Dibley. She has been nominated for six BAFTA Awards and also won a Fellowship BAFTA along with Jennifer Saunders. French has claimed that her self-confidence and self-belief stems from her father, who told her how beautiful she was each day. She stated, “He taught me to value myself. He told me that I was beautiful and the most precious thing in his life.” He had a history of severe depression and attempted suicides but managed to conceal his illness from Dawn and her brother. He committed suicide when French was nineteen.

  6. OZ
    1. Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977), who brought laughter to millions worldwide as the silent “Little Tramp” clown. From age 17 to 24 he was with Fred Karno’s English vaudeville troupe, which brought him to New York in 1910, aged 21. In November of 1913 he signed a contract with Mack Sennett at Keystone and left for Hollywood the next month. His first movie, Making a Living (1914), premiered in February of 1914. He made 35 films that year, moved to Essanay in 1915 and did 14 more, then jumped over to Mutual for 12 two-reelers in 1916 and 19177. In 1918 he joined First National (later absorbed by Warner Bros.) and in 1919 formed United Artists along with Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and D.W. Griffith. His first full-length film was The Kid (1921); his first for UA, which he produced and directed himself, was A Woman of Paris (1923). In 1929 he won a special award “for versatility and genius in writing, acting, directing and producing The Circus (1928) at the first Oscar awards.

  7. Peter

    7. Thomas Edward Trinder CBE (1909 – 1989) known as Tommy Trinder, was an English stage, screen and radio comedian of the pre and post war years whose catchphrase was ‘You lucky people’ . He was born in Streatham, South London. He left school early for a job as an errand boy but by the age of 12 was on stage. He toured South Africa with a revue company in 1921 and appeared as a boy vocalist at Collins’ Music Hall the following year. Minor successes in music hall, revues and working men’s clubs followed. By 1926, aged 17, Trinder was the star of Archie Pitt’s travelling variety comedy shows. National recognition began to come in 1937 with the revues Tune In and In Town Tonight. By World War Two he was one of Britain’s foremost entertainers and his shows brought welcome relief during the darkest days of the war.

  8. Brilliant clue, Boa.

    I knew who 4. was anyway, having seen him live the year he won an award. The only two I did not got straight away were 6. and 10. and I was really struggling with them.

    Said clue took me straight to her. I would never have got her otherwise.

    I think that I know who 10. must be, given the clue, and I can see a resemblance but I can’t corroborate it.

    Thanks again for the quiz and another pleasant passing of time.

  9. 10. This has just occurred to me, I’ll never live it down if I miss this one. Ben Turpin.

  10. JM

    I cannot lie! I was struggling for clues and Bearsy came up with that one. It is good! I was hoping to catch 4 when he comes to Brisbane – but it was a sell-out almost before it was announced!

    Neither! I think you might “not live it down” when you get it!

    Finish it off please!

  11. Peter

    6. Joyce Irene Grenfell, OBE (née Phipps; 1910 –1979) was an English actress, comedienne and singer-songwriter. Joyce Phipps grew up around money and privilege. She had a London childhood and considered herself a “townie”. In 1927, she met Reginald Pascoe Grenfell (1903–1993); they were married two years later at St. Margaret’s, Westminster; they remained married for 50 years (until her death). She made her stage debut in 1939 in the Little Revue. In 1942 she wrote what became her signature song, “I’m Going to See You Today.” As a writer at the BBC during and just after the war, she collaborated with Stephen Potter in writing the “How” series of 30 satirical programmes from How to Talk to Children to How to Listen. During the 1950s she made her name as a sidekick to such comedy greats as Alastair Sim and Margaret Rutherford in films such as The Happiest Days of Your Life (1950) and the St Trinian’s series. She was also a member of the influential Pilkington Committee on Broadcasting from 1960 to 1962. Her fame reached as far as the U.S.A. and she appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show alongside Elvis Presley. Grenfell is now best remembered for her one-woman shows and monologues, in which she invented roles including a harassed nursery teacher (“George – don’t do that”). She gained additional popularity as a result of her frequent appearances on the BBC’s classical music quiz show, Face the Music. Although her humour appeared light and frilly on the surface, there was always a surprisingly dark undertone.

  12. OZ
    Thank you!

    10. Bob Hope (born Leslie Townes Hope 1903 – 2003) was a British-born American comedian and actor who appeared in vaudeville, on Broadway, and in radio, television and movies. He was also noted for his work with the US Armed Forces and his numerous USO shows entertaining American military personnel. Throughout his career, he was honoured for his humanitarian work. In 1996, the U.S. Congress honoured Bob Hope by declaring him the “first and only honorary veteran of the U.S. armed forces.” Hope was born in Eltham, London, England, the fifth of seven sons. The family lived in Weston-super-Mare, then Whitehall and St George in Bristol, before moving to Cleveland, Ohio in 1908. The family emigrated to the United States aboard the SS Philadelphia, and passed inspection at Ellis Island on March 30, 1908. Hope became a U.S. citizen in 1920 at the age of seventeen.

  13. Good evening. Boa.

    Just to finish the quiz and in breach of my own usual rule of engagement of ‘one singer, one song’, #4 is Tim Minchin who won Newcomer of the Year in 2005 at the Embran Fringe Comedy Awards. Good choice. As I recall, he was very, very funny.

  14. John

    We reckon that he’s great! We watched him on the Ben Elton Show on TV the other night. The show itself was appalling, only relieved by Minchin’s performance. Very sad to relate that Elton felt that he had to explain that some humour was ‘very dark’ and that one had to, sometimes, make fun of serious matters. What is the world coming to when humour needs a ‘warning’…

    4. Timothy David Minchin (born 1975 in Northampton, UK) is an Australian comedian, actor, and musician. He is best known for his musical comedy, which has featured in three CDs, three DVDs and a number of live comedy shows which he has performed internationally. He has also appeared on television in Australia, Britain and the United States. After growing up in Perth, Western Australia, he attended the University of Western Australia and WAAPA before moving to Melbourne in 2002 where he began to develop his act. His breakout show, “Dark Side”, launched him into the public eye, achieving critical success at the 2005 Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the 2005 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

  15. And thank you, Boadicea, for another excellent brain-teaser which ruined my otherwise idle and lethargic Saturday. 😀


  16. The next Minchin song after the posted one (play it and wait for “Up next”) is called “Taboo”. Ferret might like to listen to it. 😆

  17. Whilst we’re on the subject of comedians could you tell me who is the Aussie comic I used to listen to on Quaintarse flights who did the Greek/Cypriot immigrant character? He was absolutely hilarious.


  18. Mary Coustas playing “Effie” in the series “Acropolis Now” is my favourite in this genre, by far. Perhaps you’re referring to Nick Giannopoulos who played her brother (“Jim Stephanidis”) in the series?

  19. Bearsy :

    Mary Coustas playing “Effie” in the series “Acropolis Now” is my favourite in this genre, by far. Perhaps you’re referring to Nick Giannopoulos who played her brother (“Jim Stephanidis”) in the series?

    Good evening, Bearsy.

    Serious lack of ‘hands across the sea’, yet again. I was terminally confused about your references to ‘Acropolis Now’ until I googled.

    Here’s our version:-


    Quality cast including Robert Hardy as Socrates. Very funny, especially Xanthippe, the deviant heterosexual. Worth a listen, if you can get BBC Radio 7 over there.

  20. It can get confusing!
    Effie later appeared in “Greeks on the Roof” which was a straight take-off of “The Kumars at number 42” (which of course was never shown here as we have very few Indian immigrants). It was a great flop, unfortunately! 😦

    Have you remembered who your guy was? Neither Boadicea nor I can work out who you might mean, I’m afraid.

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