A Taste of Funny... with Denis Norden
Denis Norden curates three hours of personally-chosen comedy listening, with Nick Baker.
After poring through his own collection of comedy albums and wading through nine decades of accumulated radio memories, he’s come up with A Taste of Funny, in which he catalogues the assorted flavours of listening that have shaped his personal tastes.
If you’re one of those people stuck with the image of a lanky Denis Norden fronting a TV out-takes show , clip board in hand, think again. Wait a minute, hold the lanky bit. Because he has a story about that. According to Mel Brooks, writers cannot be tall. Directors are tall, writers are short. So when Mel (short) met Denis (tall) he was surprised to hear he was a writer. “Does that mean you know?” Brooks asked.
Denis knows. As a listener, writer, performer, producer, consultant even. He and his long term partner Frank Muir were the first ever official British comedy consultants and advisors, with an office in BBC TV Centre and everything. Together they invented comedy’s first truly dysfunctional comedy family, the Glums. And Denis has performed in panel shows, written in Hollywood, and been involved with radio’s first ever improvised show, performed by Peter Ustinov and Peter Jones, long before impro’s 80’s heyday. He has been there, done that and could certainly come up with an excellent slogan for the T shirt, if asked.
Fry's English Delight with Stephen Fry
The new series of Fry’s English Delight, available here starts with a programme on Rhetoric. Once an ancient and noble oratorical art. Now, taken to mean the misleading language of politicians and dictators. Stephen tries to restore its original meaning, with the help of 3 very different speeches. Then a programme on Spelling: how on earth did our spelling become so irregular, and can we do something about making it easier? Stephen discovers how a history of attempted language reform has probably made things steadily worse. Then Words Without End: Stephen, a self-confessed dictionary addict, looks at how dictionaries have changed since Dr Johnson’s day, and how new words get into the dictionary – and into your vocabulary. The fourth programme WTF is a history of the word fuck and features actress Kathy Burke and writer Graham Linehan, as well as Denis Norden and Geoffrey Robertson QC. Its first broadcast was met with delight online, and a mere five complaints to the BBC!