John Park, 32 the Loaning, Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, Strathclyde, Scotland, U.K. ML1 3HE
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Gallus Glasgow Humour by Kevin McKenna. It's no surprise that our finest comedians hail from Glasgow, so why is the city the wellspring of mirth?
This is my favourite funny story about Glasgow. The person who told me it years ago swears it is true and named the actual school whose pupils it immortalises. Some may feel though, that it is apocryphal, meaning it merely ought to be true. A bus-load of primary school pupils from one of Glasgow's edgier arrondissements is visiting Blair Drummond Safari Park, near Stirling, to see the lions. They are told not to leave the vehicle at any time. But 'Wee Jimmy' slips away to get a closer view. Soon a battalion of Park Wardens, armed with rifles, is on the scene. "Jimmy, Jimmy" they shout. "Get away from the lions "Och, calm down, I'm no touchin' yer f*****g lions" came the reply. This tale has several classic attributes of authentic Glasgow humour, it features a protagonist called Jimmy (Tam, Boab and Wullie are also acceptable): it portrays him as being hard and insouciantly so. Most importantly, it makes use of a handy swear word, which must be expressed with gleeful vigour when being recounted. For, as any real Glaswegian knows, an artfully deployed profanity is absolutely crucial if a story about Glaswegian humour is to be told properly. Glasgow humour, it seems, is the gold standard of stand up comedy and street banter. Last year, one of England's top TV critics when reviewing a show by Kevin Bridges , the city latest comedy hero, said he was blessed by being born in a city whose accent is the most natural for stand-up. The Channel Four comedian Jimmy Carr saluted Billy Connelly on the occasion of the Big Yin being voted Britain's top stand up. 'He invented what we do' said Carr. Not that I'm a fan of Carr's or of his sneering confrere, Ricky Gervais, there humour, it seems to me, is fuelled by a contempt for the weak. And then there's Frankie Boyle. If Bridges is Connolly's surrogate son, then Boyle is the delinquent nephew who's just out of Barlinnie after doing a stretch for armed robbery. And what would anyone make of Jerry Sadowitz's if they met him for the first time? He cannot merely be seen or heard; he can only be experienced. Sadowitz's angry, foul mouthed invective is such that after one of his shows in Edinburgh in the 1990s, I was convinced he he held me personally responsible for why the world is a corrupt shambles. The current crop of young TV comedians pay homage to Connolly, as does his forerunners such as Lex McLean, Rikki Fulton, Jack Milroy, and Stanely Baxter, the man who taught the home counties the intricacies of extreme Glaswegianism. Author and journalist Allan Brown, whose book on Scottish humour - The Glasgow Smile: An A-Z of the funniest city on earth - is published in September, said recently: Scotland has no sense of humour to speak of, none whatsoever. Everything we consider humorous and Scottish is, in fact, Glaswegian. He's being slightly unkind to provincial cities such as Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen, where the humour is pawky and wry rather than loud and turbulent. Which brings me to another famous Scottish joke: Why do wee frees frown on sex in he standing position? Because it might lead to dancing. I worked in Edinburgh for several years and sometimes I was able to extricate myself from adverse circumstances with a burst of guttural Clydeside peppered with profanities. My friends will tell you that I couldn't fight sleep but exaggerating my Glaswegianism often had the desired effect. The 11th of March the Glasgow Comedy Festival is now under way and is fast supplanting the much more structured and manufactured Edinburgh comedy festival. Sadly this has recently become a bloated and over priced parody of itself and a magnet for deeply unfunny Channel Four types eager to get their own television show. For comedy in the raw delivered for the benefit of the audience and not television producer then Glasgow is where it's at. Several reasons have been advanced as to why Glasgow humour is reckoned to be the sharpest in the English speaking world but it pays not to get too philosophical and introspective about it. Social depravation, a harsh industrial environment and alcohol are all contributory factors. So too is the massive 19th and 20th influx of Irish people to Glasgow and Lanarkshire, bringing with them their laconic and self deprecatory wit forged in adversity. In British music hall tradition it has long been held that if a comedian could win over a Glasgow crowd, then they were made of the right stuff. The audience in the old Glasgow Empire and Alhambra could be unforgiving, throwing throwing steel rivets out of the shipyards at acts they didn't like, such as the hapless 1960s English double act Mike and Bernie Winters. "Aw naw, there's two of them" came a shout from the stalls when Bernie shuffled on to join his brother. It's not that Glasgow audiences were unduly cruel and malevolent , it's simply that most of the audience would be on a Saturday night out following a week of heavy manual labour, often in Clyde Shipyards. Outrageous and rude humour was part of their working lives and a comedy act had to be extra special to impress. I first encountered Connolly after a priest abjured us never to listen to the Crucifixion on pain of going straight to the bad fire. My friend let me borrow his tape of Connolly irreverent masterpiece and I was hooked, as was every Glaswegian along with Michael Parkinson and the whole of England. Connolly humour also comes from his experiences as a welder in the shipyards in the 1960s, when you had to develop a quick just to survive and avoid being preyed upon. It helped if you could speak at the rate of a sewing machine. If you've ever encountered a group of Glaswegians gathered around a table heaving with drink, you will know what I mean. We rarely converse with each other. Instead we declaim and declare and make short speeches. Many of us come from big families so we have learned to cram a lot of sentences into very short bursts of speech, simply because it may be a while before we are allowed to speak again. Even if what we are saying isn't worth two blaws of a ragman's trumpet. By the way....n' that you know what I mean.
What do you call a man who takes a
small size in a shoe ?
10 coos is a field - which one is nearest Iraq
What's the difference between a Rottweiler and a social worker ?
A glasgow woman goes to the dentist and sits down on the chair..
John Park Motherwell