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Doddy has a soft spot for St Helens
KEN Dodd may have played in some of the top venues in the country, but he still has a soft spot for the theatres and clubs where he polished his wise-cracking craft.
The comedy legend, whose career has spanned almost six decades, returns to the town each year as part of his gruelling tour schedule.
His shows at the Theatre Royal have become part of local folklore because of their epic proportions, with Doddy still holding court long after ‘chucking-out time’.
There’s no holding back the sprightly 85-year-old.
He said: “I served my apprenticeship in St Helens, aged 14 and 15. I played all the clubs, including Haydock C&B, Chessies, the Exchange Vaults and at Carr Mill.
“I played in Wigan, and that was like going abroad. You had to get your passport stamped at Billinge.
“I might live in Knotty Ash, but I know Prescot, Whiston, St Helens and Thatto Heath.
“There are lovely people in St Helens – I love St Helens audiences. They have made a wonderful job of the Theatre Royal. It’s looking very glamorous.
“But a theatre is only a building. Some are beautiful, some not so, but it becomes a real, living thing when people are sitting in the seats.”
Still burning with a desire to entertain, he said he took it as a great compliment that people continue to go and see him.
After being in showbusiness so long, he tried to explain why he has stood the test of time.
He said: “In the song Happiness I try to be an optimistic entertainer.
“It appeals to mums and dads and kids. My job is a jester – to see that the audience goes out happy. I’m not clever enough to educate them.
“There’s no such thing as an old joke – only ones you’ve heard before.
“This comes with responsibilities. I would never insult people or swear. I’m of that generation, but I can hold my own – and I have my tickling stick.”
Ken is an admirer of comedians such as Joe Pasquale and Ross Noble.
Although he has never met Johnny Vegas, Ken said he believed the Thatto Heath comedian had seen his show and described him as a “great personality.”
Five of Doddy’s best gags –
- I have kleptomania. When it gets bad, I take something for it
- Five out of every three people have trouble understanding fractions
- Did you hear about the shrimp that went to the prawn’s cocktail party? He pulled a mussel
- Why did the blonde stare at the bottle of orange juice for two hours? Because the label said concentrate
- I told the Inland Revenue I didn’t owe them a penny because I lived near the seaside