Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

June 10, 2006

Simon Hoggart on the Linda Smith tribute

Shoo, or I'll clean your clock, buddy

Simon Hoggart
Saturday June 10, 2006
The Guardian

To the Victoria Palace theatre last Sunday night for Tippy-Top, another tribute to the late Linda Smith, featuring her favourite performers and the shows she loved appearing in. The green room looked like one of those Victorian paintings in which all the leading artists, or politicians, or aristocrats of the day were gathered artificially together, as if they were all in the same place at once. Except they were actually there: Paul Merton, Barry Cryer, Jo Brand, Mark Steel, Jeremy Hardy, Andy Hamilton, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Sandi Toksvig, Graeme Garden, Liza Tarbuck, Mark Thomas, Hattie Heyridge, Phill Jupitus, with Humphrey Lyttelton sitting down, gazing with grandparental concern over the teeming throng. I was there to chair The News Quiz for the last time, a quick 10-minute slot in the first half.

As at all charity events the timing went wildly awry. Things were running 10 minutes late by the end of the first turn. We got on stage 20 minutes after we were due to finish. But that was fine, because it gave me the chance to eavesdrop the backstage gossip and hear the gags comedians tell each other. There is good reason for this - many of them are far too filthy for not just a family audience, but for many unmarried persons too. One I can repeat came, once again, from Barry Cryer. He was apologetic because it's an Irish joke, and was well aware that we don't tell Irish jokes these days. But who can we tell similar gags about? Is there any social or ethnic group left we may draft for the purpose? Possibly not, in which case an entire genre of jokes is lost. Anyhow, here it is: Irishman goes for a job at a blacksmith's. The blacksmith asks, "Have you ever shoed a horse?"

"No, sorry," says the Irishman, "but I once told a pig to fuck off."


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