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amyl_nitrate


Member

Posted Wed Jul 4th, 2007 8:31pm Post subject: Peter Cook
I've decided to start a thread dedicated to an utter utter comedic master. His writing is simply sublime. His improvisation and detours are a wonder to behold. It really must've been something to have seen him in the flesh. I really adore his more surreal characters like E.L. Wisty and Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling. How they always seem to be stuck in some strange hinterland of their own, doing weird things and ultimately failing. Sketches like Frog & Peach, Interesting Facts, E.L. Wisty's Festival of the Arts, A Bee's Life are total classics.

Dudley Moore was good too, they did some ace work together like Not Only But Also, Goodbye Again and Behind The Fridge with memorable classics like Bo Dudley and later on their Derek & Clive albums which seem to divide fans. Dudley Moore was in Oscar's Orchestra - cool!

Filmwise I wish he'd done so much more. Bedazzled is one of my favourite comedy films ever. I can watch it over and over and still on new viewings there are more hidden jokes to see. There's so much good in this film it's impossible to choose just one favourite moment. The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer I've only seen recently because it's only just been released on dvd after being left in No Man's Land since it's original cinema release (with only two airings on Channel 5 since apparently). It's a wicked film with appearances by Graham Chapman (the Scorpio ad just pwns), John Cleese and Ronnie Corbett (one of the best scenes in the film). I love how by the end of the film you know nothing more about Michael Rimmer than you did at the beginning when he mysteriously arrives at an advertising agency. He's the lead character and he isn't developed at all. Nothing is ever revealed about him. All we know is he's calculating and ambitious.

What I don't understand is when people say he lost it in his later years. He didn't. He was just as sharp. Just watch/listen to his later work like Why Bother?, A Life in Pieces or his character interviews on Cliver Anderson Talks Back. He was just as brilliant in his final years as he was in the 60s. He did appear in some crap though in the late 70s and early 80s like that sitcom The Two of Us. Okey I haven't seen it but I've seen the opening sequence and it seriously made me cringe. It looked so effing cheesy and puke-a-riffic. As for The Hound of the Baskervilles..... *cries* It had sooo much potential. I mean him and Dudley Moore wrote it! But apparently it was all down to the director trying to make it like a Carry On film. I don't think it helped that that awful Kenneth Williams was in it doing that awful ott acting with the stupid winks every two minutes and his nailsonachalkboard voice. The film really couldn't make it's mind up. I mean what the hell was up with the Exorcist scene? What film was that meant to be from? It's like they forgot what they were making halfway through, got confused and started working on some horror film spoof. Seriously wtf? Such a shame because the opening scene was really good. The best jokes in the film were classic Beyond The Fringe jokes.

A lengthy start yes. I've been looking everywhere for someone to talk about Peter Cook with but even his imdb boards are dead.

Assuming direct control...

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ratoutofhell


Member

Posted Wed Jul 4th, 2007 11:16pm Post subject: Peter Cook
I read an article recently - struggling to remember where, might have been last Saturday's Guardian Guide - which talked at some length about Michael Rimmer. I've never seen any of Peter Cook's films but there are many tv performances I loved, and I agree he didn't lose it - he remained superbly witty and inventive.

I haven't voted cos I will need to think about it - it's extremely hard to choose one character.

I was working in Germany when he died, and as I didn't always manage to get hold of British newspapers I didn't find out until 3 or 4 days later, when there was a Guardian article speculating about the future of Private Eye. I said to my Brit colleagues "Oh my god, Peter Cook's died," and one of them (same age as me) said "Yes, I saw that a few days ago but I didn't say anything because I didn't know who he was."

Honestly, sometimes I despair.

"If you are dirty, insignificant and unloved then rats are the ultimate role model" - Banksy

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amyl_nitrate


Member

Posted Wed Jul 4th, 2007 11:23pm Post subject: Peter Cook
Oh I know what you mean about choosing the characters. I love them all to bits but E. L. Wisty I adore that bit more. It's the Wisty performances and writing that really grabbed me the most. I'm always listening to The Misty Mr Wisty album. When I read The E.L. Wisty Festival of the Arts it knocked me back so much I rolled off my bed! X-D

His newspaper and Private Eye articles always leave me dizzy. They're so well wrote and so funny. It seems so effortless. He was pretty amazing. I'm glad Private Eye is still going today. It would've been sad for it to fold.

I highly recommend watching Bedazzled. It's so funny and both Cook and Moore's performances are delightful. It's nothing like the awful American remake with Brendan Fraser and Liz Hurley. It has so much more wit and charm. I also recommend The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer if you're a big fan of satire.

Assuming direct control...

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Anonymous


Unregistered

Posted Thu Jul 5th, 2007 11:31am Post subject: Peter Cook
Do you think he had bipolar dosorder? It was suggested in his biography, which it appears you've read too, amyl.
I don't agree with your dismissal of Kenneth Williams, though. He was also a comedy genius and I'd love to read his diaries one day as his earlier autobiography was a treat. I have great affection for the Carry On films and have all of them on DVD, which is a treat here in Poland where you wouldn't see them at all. Don't Lose your Head was a great little comedy action movie with terrific duels and some lines from the films are comedy genius.
The Clive Anderson stuff was great, especially the football manager. I also can't decide who to vote for yet. Unlike the biographer I don't dislike Derek and Clive. Even the racist, sexist and misogynist lines don't offend me as I believe he was doing it all "in character". You're not meant to like or agree with Derek and Clive any more than Johnny Speight meant viewers to like or agree with Alf Garnett. It's just a same so many people lack the sense of irony to see it.

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Anonymous


Unregistered

Posted Thu Jul 5th, 2007 11:35am Post subject: Peter Cook
Also, have you noticed the way quotes from Stephen were used in the biography. It's as if the guy wanted to suggest that Stephen was one of the people most blind to Peter's faults, or at worst sycophantic.

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absolutely curtains


Member

Posted Thu Jul 5th, 2007 4:12pm Post subject: Peter Cook
I wish I knew more about Peter Cook.
I'd just really like to snuggle him.

...:(

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Anonymous


Unregistered

Posted Thu Jul 5th, 2007 5:29pm Post subject: Peter Cook
Read the biography by Harry Thompson. Check YouTube. And you absolutely must get hold of a CD copy of the Beyond The Fringe stageshow and read any article or book about its impact and influence on British comedy thereafter.

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absolutely curtains


Member

Posted Thu Jul 5th, 2007 6:35pm Post subject: Peter Cook
Done and done.
Cheers

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Shyamz


Member

Posted Thu Jul 5th, 2007 7:10pm Post subject: Peter Cook
I picked Clive, not just because I loved the Derek and Clive recordings, but because they give a great insight into the dynamics of their partnership.

What starts off as drunken, impovising fun, soon deteriorates, and you can sence the tention that had developed between them by then.

But not in an uncomfortable way, as if it's something you shouldn't be hearing.
They are still enjoying winding eachother up, and especially in the "Toilet cubicle" sketch, you can tell that they both love trying to make the other one mess up.


But it was still a tough choice, as Whisty was exellent, and Sir Arthur too.

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amyl_nitrate


Member

Posted Thu Jul 5th, 2007 10:27pm Post subject: Peter Cook
Do you think he had bipolar dosorder? It was suggested in his biography, which it appears you've read too, amyl.

I haven't read the Harry Thompson bio. I want to though. I've read all of Tragically I Was An Only Twin (most sections several times) which includes bio bits at the beginning of each chapter. I've read random chapters from both Something Like Fire and How Very Interesting! They all make references to the Harry Thompson book. I've also listened to the Radio 4 show Peter Cook: In His Own Words which was narrated by Michael Palin.

The Clive Anderson stuff was great, especially the football manager. I also can't decide who to vote for yet.

Alan Latchley the football manager was my favourite character from those interviews. Kills me everytime.

Unlike the biographer I don't dislike Derek and Clive. Even the racist, sexist and misogynist lines don't offend me as I believe he was doing it all "in character". You're not meant to like or agree with Derek and Clive any more than Johnny Speight meant viewers to like or agree with Alf Garnett. It's just a same so many people lack the sense of irony to see it.

People get too fixated on the swearing and offensive aspect of it all and miss the humour. It's not just swearing they're talking about some pretty bizarre stuff too. My favourite sketches/tracks are Horse Racing, Endangered Species, Guinness Records, Joan Crawford, Bruce Forsyth, The Critics, Worst Job I Ever Had, This Bloke Came Up To Me, Mother, The Horn, Blind, Jump and Sir.

I'd just really like to snuggle him.

...:(


Me too. *sigh*

Check out The Establishment website. It's fantastic. There's loads of sketches and songs to download there including songs from Bedazzled! All of The Misty Mr Wisty is on there too which I downloaded and then I bought the album shortly later. There's even all the Watney's Ale adverts that the Wisty character appeared in! There's loads of his work available on youtube (lookout for thedrinkingman he regularly uploads Peter Cook vids). You can also buy both The Best of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore on dvd (renamed from the vhs The Best of Not Only But Also) and The Best of Goodbye Again on dvd dirt cheap. Derek and Clive Get The Horn is also really cheap. You can get all three of these for 7 quid or less. The Derek and Clive cds are even cheaper at £5 in HMV each! Bedazzled isn't much more expensive and well worth the money.

I picked Clive, not just because I loved the Derek and Clive recordings, but because they give a great insight into the dynamics of their partnership.

What starts off as drunken, impovising fun, soon deteriorates, and you can sence the tention that had developed between them by then.

But not in an uncomfortable way, as if it's something you shouldn't be hearing.
They are still enjoying winding eachother up, and especially in the "Toilet cubicle" sketch, you can tell that they both love trying to make the other one mess up.


But it was still a tough choice, as Whisty was exellent, and Sir Arthur too.

I loved watching/hearing them try to outdo each other and make the other one corpse. Course Peter Cook was the best at that. Remember the classic Art Gallery sketch where he managed to get Dudley Moore choking on his sandwiches with laughter? X-D I just loved that naughty look Peter got in his eyes. :-//

Assuming direct control...

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ratoutofhell


Member

Posted Thu Jul 5th, 2007 11:23pm Post subject: Peter Cook



I loved watching/hearing them try to outdo each other and make the other one corpse. Course Peter Cook was the best at that. Remember the classic Art Gallery sketch where he managed to get Dudley Moore choking on his sandwiches with laughter? X-D I just loved that naughty look Peter got in his eyes. :-//

One of my all-time favourite comedy moments X-D

Also love Jump and Worst Job...

But like John Steed, I have time for Kenneth Williams too. The difference is you never get the impression Williams was playing a character completely distinct from himself - but Cook always was.

I have read some of Williams' diaries, but the edited versions that came out while he was still alive. Very entertaining, but obviously written with an audience in mind - very mannered, much like his acting.

"If you are dirty, insignificant and unloved then rats are the ultimate role model" - Banksy

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Anonymous


Unregistered

Posted Fri Jul 6th, 2007 12:26am Post subject: Peter Cook



Also love Jump and Worst Job...



As I was walking down the street one day
I saw a house on fire
There was man, standing at an upper-storey window
Shouting and screaming at the crowd that was gathered there below
For he was sore afraid

Jump! You fucker, jump!
Jump into this here blanket what we are holding
And you will be all right
He jumped,
hit the deck,
broke his fucking neck -
There waaaaaas no blanket

Laugh?! We nearly shat!
We had not laughed so much since Grandma died
Or Auntie Mabel caught her left tit in the mangle
We are miserable sinners
Fi-i-ilthy fuckers

Ahhhrrrr-soles

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Shyamz


Member

Posted Fri Jul 6th, 2007 3:09pm Post subject: Peter Cook
Despite hearing that song so many times now, I listend to that CD in bed one night, and I couldn't fall asleep, as I kept laughing.

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amyl_nitrate


Member

Posted Fri Jul 6th, 2007 5:40pm Post subject: Peter Cook
I always end up listening to Derek and Clive in bed. Doesn't help me to sleep though. I just end up biting my pillow trying to stifle my laughs so my parents don't hear me. X-D

Assuming direct control...

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Pongo's Mum


Member

Posted Fri Aug 24th, 2007 3:35am Post subject: Peter Cook
Did'nt they do a sketch - 'pillow biter?' about The coverage of Jeremy Thorpe MP? Or was that Python?

Kenneth Williams, yes, another very mis-understood film great. His diaries were a sad revelation. I'm sure he did Carry-on for the then good money, when his heart was in the theatre. I loved 'a audience with', and i love his National Service stories. But then i love, 'It aint Half Hot Mum', the chaps who wrote that together, clever witty guys.

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