dave allen

dave allen

Dave Allen - The Good Earth / A Way of Life (1969)

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A record by Irish comedian Dave Allen, popular on BBC television throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s, although this particular record is not a comic number. David Tynan O'Mahoney (6 July 1936 -- 10 March 2005), better known as Dave Allen, was an Irish comedian, very popular in the UK, Australia, and Canada in the 1960s and 1970s. He also became known in the United States through showings of his shows on American television. His career had a major resurgence during the late 1980s and early 1990s. At the height of his career he was Britain's most controversial comedian, regularly provoking conservative indignation at his frequent highlighting of political hypocrisy and his disregard for religious authority. Allen's act was typified by his relaxed, rueful and intimate style; he would sit on a high bar stool facing his audience, smoking and occasionally sipping from a glass of what he always allowed people to assume was whisky, but in fact was merely ginger ale with ice. Literally and metaphorically, he was a sober-minded man who, though sometimes appearing deliberately crotchety and irritable on stage, always gave off an air of charm and serene melancholy both in his act and in real life. Each day he would pore over the newspapers, constantly scribbling notes and ideas which he then expanded for his routines. He was a religious skeptic (according to Allen himself, "what you might call a practising atheist", and often joked "I'm an atheist, thank God") as a result of his deeply held objections to the rigidity of his strict Catholic schooling. Consequently, religion became an important subject for his humour, especially the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England, generally mocking church customs and rituals rather than beliefs. In 1998 he stated "The hierarchy of everything in my life has always bothered me. I'm bothered by power. People, whoever they might be, whether it's the government, or the policeman in the uniform, or the man on the door - they still irk me a bit. From school, from the first nun that belted me - people used to think of the nice sweet little ladies ... they used to knock the fuck out of you, in the most cruel way that they could. They'd find bits of your body that were vulnerable to intense pain - grabbing you by the ear, or by the nose, and lift you, and say 'Don't cry!' It's very hard not to cry. I mean, not from emotion, but pain. The priests were the same. And I sit and watch politicians with great cynicism, total cynicism." At the end of his act Allen would always raise his glass and quietly toast his audience with the words "Goodnight, thank you, and may your God go with you", an original and inclusive catchphrase that typified Allen's amiable style. Along with his seated stand-up routines, his television shows were interspersed with filmed sketch comedy. Highly regarded in Britain, Allen's comic technique and style had a lasting influence on many young British comedians. His targets were often figures of authority, his style was observational rather than gag-driven, and his language frequently ripe; he was a progenitor for the "alternative" comedians of the 1980s. In Ireland, however, he always remained somewhat controversial because of his mocking of the Catholic Church.