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Bring on the clowns - Ken Dodd (Style, career and achievement)

1 Dodd's stand-up comedy style is fast and relies on the rapid delivery of one-liner jokes. He has claimed that his comic influences include other Liverpool comedians like Arthur Askey, Robb Wilton, Tommy Handley and the "cheeky chappy" from Brighton Max Miller.

He intersperses the comedy with occasional songs, both serious and humorous, in an incongruously fine light baritone voice. Dodd has had many recording hits, charting on nineteen occasions in the UK Top 40, including his first single "Love Is Like a Violin" (1960), produced on Decca Records by Alex Wharton, which charted at number 8 (UK), and his song "Tears" (Columbia), which topped the UK charts for five weeks in 1965, selling over a million copies. At the time it was the UK's biggest selling single by a solo artist, and remains one of the UK's biggest selling singles of all time. Dodd was selected to perform the song on A Jubilee Of Music on BBC One on December 31, 1976, a celebration of the key pop successes of Queen Elizabeth II's first twenty-five years as UK monarch. Dodd is renowned for the length of his performances, and during the 1960s he earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records for the world's longest ever joke-telling session: 1,500 jokes in three and a half hours (7.14 jokes per minute), undertaken at a Liverpool theatre, where audiences were observed to enter the show in shifts. More recently, Ken Dodd appeared at the Royal Variety Performance in 2006 in front of Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, where he reprised some of his famous jokes, including those about tax accountants as well as singing his famous song "Happiness".

2 - Vocabulary

  1. magician = conjurer
  2. Pretending to be foolish
  3. to make fun of somebody
  4. to poke fun at somebody
  5. Making a joke at somebody's expense
  6. Making them look silly
  7. It had its disadvantages.
    Did have its disadvantages
    had = did have
    had (No auxiliary verb) = Did have ( with an auxiliary verb to make a point STRESS )
  8. Scamper
    verb /scamper [I] Intransitive + adverb or preposition]
    When small children and animals scamper, they run with small quick steps, in a playful or frightened way
    The children scampered off into the garden.
  9. What part of speech is the word
    frivolity
    ?
    How many word forms can you make from this word.
  10. What are the verb forms of these adjectives?
    1. Black
    2. Red
    3. White
    4. Dark
  11. Which words can take the suffix -en?
    1. Orange
    2. Yellow

3 Bring on the clowns - (Vocabulary wordforms exercise)

  1. What are the differences between comedians, clowns, conjurers and jesters.
  2. What type of person would make a good comedian, clown, conjurer or jester?
For each word listed, what other forms of the word do you know? Sometimes there may be more than one in each part of speech, for example "Imagination" and "Image" are both (nouns). Sometimes there might not be a word which matches that part of speech. Some verbs exist as phrases using another verb with the noun form. Eg:make, do or take. There may be -ed -ing participle adjectives and the -ing adjective can form an adverb -ingly. excitedly, excitingly.
VerbNounAdjective Adverb
Imagine Image / ImaginationAdjective Adverb
Amuse
Tradition
Sure
Intellect
Child N/A
Advantage
Punish
Acquaintance
favour

4 - Sentence Making

Choose five words that you have added to the box above and make good sentences with each of them.

5 Read the text below. use the words in the brackets to form the correct word.

Mention the word 'jester' and the (1) _________ (imagine) conjures up a picture of a scampering playful fellow hired for the (2) _________ (amuse) of others.
As a rule, the jester was in the service of a particular monarch, and his job to (3) _________ (sure) that the king and his court were kept in high spirits.
(4) _________ (tradition), court clowns were not valued for their
_____
(intellect) humour, but for their (5) _________ (child) frivolity and rather disrespectful brand of slapstick comedy. While His Royal Highness was in a good mood, the jester enjoyed the honour of being permitted to say or do almost anything.
However, his chosen occupation did have its (6) _________ (advantage) if the king was having a bad day, the jester could very well be beheaded or receive some other form of severe (7) _________ (punish) for his entertaining efforts.

5 - Questions

  1. What's the difference between
    Ensure
    and
    Assure
  2. When do we prefer to use
    childlike
    rather than
    childish
  3. Find good antonymns for the adjective forms in exercise 1
  4. What does "Many a true word is said in jest" mean ?
  5. What styles of comedy are there?
  6. What do the words "banter" and "larking about" mean?
  7. What does "Having a laugh" mean?
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