I’m often (never) asked to name my seven most favourite comedy moments ever. Sure, I (never) say, if you want to reduce and decontextualise scenes that are often informed by everything preceding them, and then proscribe some sort of aribtrary ranking system on to totally unconnected things.
Yes, please, they reply (not ever happened).
So, after (no) careful consideration, here’s a list of the best comedy moments ever. This is a definitive list, and does not reflect a curated view of the world. This list is not up for discussion. It is, I think you’ll find, the correct list, in the correct order.
Del Boy Falling Down a Hill In A Bath
The 1989 Christmas special of Last Of The Summer Wine was a major crossover event with Only Fools And Horses. Fifteen 90 minute specials were shown, but all anyone can remember of this magnus opus is Del Boy carreening down a hill in a tin bath.
Victor Meldrew On The Cross Being Sung To
At the end of an episode set solely in Golgotha (did you spot the Dudley Moore cameo?), Victor is left alone on his cross, buried from the neck down due to a series of convoluted events, and listening to a tape made by his mechanics, wherein they all sing Always Look On The Happy Side Of Stuff.
Don’t Tell Him Your Name Pike
In a harrowing scene from the pilot episode of Mortimer And Whitehouse Do Some Fishing, a tormented fish refuses to give up any details during an intense interrogation. The moment of tension is broken masterfully, when Captain Mainwaring walks in and says ‘don’t tell him your name Pike, nor your rank, or number, as that would render his inquisition complete.”
Morecambe And Wise Striptease
The best part of this is when Eric gets on the kitchen sideboard and shoots ping pong balls at Ernie’s face. Priceless.
Basil Beats A Dancing Brent With A Branch
It’s not a scene that was ever filmed, but we’ve all dreamt of seeing David Brent being savagely thrashed with a willow branch by an irate Basil Fanwlty haven’t we?