Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

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Location: Wellington, New Zealand

February 06, 2019

Jeremy Hardy RIP

I've been sad for several days now about the untimely passing of Jeremy Hardy. He died from cancer, which hits home for me, as does his age (only a few years older than me.

Jeremy made only a few appearances on JAM but was of course a stalwart on other Radio Four shows, especially News Quiz and I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue.

He was among the most witty and original of performers, I think arguably the best of that group of brilliant improvisational comedians that came along in the 80s. He just seemed to think funny and it just flowed from him.

He was a brilliant satirist perhaps because his interest in political jokes came from a passion about the world. So many comedians make jokes about politicians that could just as easily fit any of them. Jeremy's political jokes always seemed to have extra power because they were so often making points about how we could be working towards a better world.

And yet, in Clue in particular, he could also just be gloriously silly. He is best known for his tuneless singing, but his lack of ability in this area was something he took to with gusto. I think that's why it became such a crowd favourite. He embraced the poor singing so heartily that it became great to laugh along with him.

So we mourn the loss of such a wit. And also it brings back memories of Linda Smith, also taken far too early, a brilliant player of JAM and the person Jeremy once described as the funniest he had met. He has a lot of work we can still listen to, but it still seems like we are being short-changed. He had so many more jokes to make, pompous politicians to prick, songs to be sung ...

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