“Listen very carefully I shall say this only once”; the words of Gordon Kaye, Bafta nominated West Yorkshireman, are written on the stones of the Comedy Carpet Blackpool. They say the best comedy lines are those that are oft-repeated and the Tower Headland refurbishment of the Blackpool Promenade has made certain of that.
As you exit the Blackpool Tower main entrance, there is a stunning newspaper print style exhibit, known as the Comedy Carpet. You can literally, read all about it, as famous catchphrases used by comedians, Blackpool based, at some point in their lives, are plastered across the pavement.
Gordon Young and the Why Not company
The Comedy Carpet Blackpool was the brainchild of urban designer Gordon Young. It seems a brilliant idea, to celebrate comedy that Blackpool comedians, and regional stars, have brought to the world, by permanent sculpture, in the form of eye-catching newsprint. “In’t it grand when yer daft???”
Some of the famous phrases will be familiar to many, including “Lovely jubbly”; “loadsamoney”; and “Suit you Sir!” Walking over the Comedy Carpet of catch-phrases, is like walking back in time, to many of your favourite sitcoms. It is worth reflecting on how most great comedy stars, start off doing stand up in front of live audiences. If all TV stars from music video, film and reality could say the same, perhaps we would find more enduring artists from these genres?
That’s the great thing about Blackpool, in the words of Ken Webster, comedy hypnotist, and regular performer at The Pleasure Beach Resort; “Where else is there in this country to perform, except Blackpool?” Blackpool is the patron-saint town of the performance arts, and it is fitting that this Comedy Carpet goes some way, to remembering the contribution of this town, to Britain’s greatest talent.
You see, the best comedians, at Blackpool, get their laughs from a real audience. An autocue, with pre-programmed laughter, where your TV producer thinks the reaction will be, doesn’t work in the long run, to develop the artist. A great comedy talent needs to laugh and fail, live, and learn what works, what is on trend, and what is not. Only then, are they ready to write TV sitcoms. Perhaps that is why there is a lack of good comedy writing on BBC today.
You only need to look at the array of wonderful 20th century talent, underneath your feet, at the Comedy Carpet Blackpool, to perhaps consider attending more live comedy performances, and supporting the art form.