Much like opinions (or a***holes) everyone has got one, they're just different
A sense of humour is one of those things that can't necessarily be explained - something either tickles your funny bone, or it doesn't. There's not really any middle ground with it - its Yes or No, Black or White, On or Off. It's a proper binary emotion. *
* There are 10 types of people in the world - those that understand binary, and those that don't
See what I mean? I think that joke is funny, a lot of people I've said it to look at me like I'm some sort of loony.
And so to a whistle-stop tour of my definition & opinion of comedy:
Benidorm (Duty Free without the jokes)
Mrs Browns Boys (thats half hour of my life I'm not getting back)
Funny, but Not Funny:
The Royle Family (when you have spent time in a household EXACTLY like the Royle Family, you will understand. It was difficult for me not to view it as a documentary)
Blackadder (at least one series (usually 2 or 4))
Only Fools & Horses
Pretty much universally Funny (with some exceptions):
Niche/Cult Comedy (ie not everyone "gets it"):
Monty Python (with the possible exception of Life Of Brian which has a far bigger appreciative audience then the TV shows)
League Of Gentleman
Did Alternative Comedy kill off the archetypal 1970s Club Comedians?
Much like the 'Punk killed Prog Rock' argument, the answer is:
No, it didn't. It just changed the direction that people were looking.
For every episode of The Young Ones, Russ Abbot would be in his Madhouse on a Saturday night. For every Comic Strip there was an episode of To The Manor Born etc
The world had moved on a a short time - people were no longer tolerant of the casual racism and sexism put across on shows like 'The Comedians' and 'The Wheeltappers & Shunters Club' - oh, and not forgetting the advent of Political Correctness (possibly a media invention, but certainly a step forward in the tolerance and integration of the country).
John Thompson, in the guise of comedian Bernard Righton, updated the 1970s Club Comic standard joke thusly:
"An Englishman, an Irishman and a Pakistani walk into a bar. What a perfect example of racial integration."
Indeed, the club comedians returned in the early 90s with a spate of videos (led by Mike Reid) doing their stage act, this time committed to magnetic tape.
Alternative Comedy (which is a terrible name - comedy is comedy) had sort of run out of legs, and the rennaissance of the club comic filled the wilderness.
Problem was after 2 or 3 of the videos, they all got a bit samey (same jokes, same punchlines, same f-bombs dropped at the same point in the conversation etc)
Although the re-discovery of Bob Monkhouse as the premier gag merchant was a welcome diversion. Most of my generation only knew him as the smarmy game show host. We didn't know that he was possibly Britains greatest living joke teller. We soon did, and Bob's career took off again (and rightly so)
Staddling both the Club Comic and the Alternative Comics stood two comedy geniuses (and you may disagree, but that is my opinion) - Billy Connelly and Victoria Wood.
From winning New Faces in 1974, through the novelty act on Thats Life, Vitoria Wood As Seen On TV graced the screens of the BBC in the 1980s.
In 1998, she wrote and starred in the sitcom dinnerladies - just as The Royle Family came along, changing the rules and expectations of what sitcom was all about.
She will always be remembered for two things: Acorn Antiques (now a Stage Musical) and the song "Lets Do It".
If you've never heard it - here it is for your enjoyment (if you have heard it - here it is for another listen):
Billy Connelly is responsible for quite possibly the funniest TV stand up show I've ever seen.
Broadcast in 1985, behold two of my favourite excerpts from "An Audience With Billy Connelly"