Eye For Film >> Movies >> The Best Of Dave Allen (2005) Film Review
Dave Allen's TV comedy shows ran during the Seventies and Eighties. These consisted of sketches and stand-up (or rather sit down) material. Before his sudden death in March 2005, he collated the best moments from his shows and recorded an introduction for them. This is the best of Dave Allen.
Television comedy can age very badly. People's sense of humour can change immensely over the years, jokes can become so well known that they're no longer funny and they can refer to attitudes and events that are no longer applicable 20 years on. There is plenty in Allen's comedy that suffers in this manner, but thankfully there's an awful lot more that holds up all these years later.
It's the sketches that suffer the most. Many of them are little more than a simple set up and punch line acted out. His sketches don't just suffer, when compared to modern TV comedy, but also when compared to some his contemporaries, such as The Two Ronnies. However, even the worst sketches elicit a happy groan rather than stony-faced silence. Others fare better, particularly those that are allowed to run with their idea for a little longer than 30 seconds.
Dave Allen is much more in his element sitting in a chair, with a glass of whisky, a cigarette and telling stories. The style is a mix between quick jokes, that by now everyone will have heard a thousand times, and longer anecdotes that are a clear precursor to the alternative comedians of the Nineties. Even though the anecdotes are more satisfying, there is still plenty of mileage in the old material.
The main reason that the gags are still funny to this day is that Allen, himself, is quite simply one of the finest and funniest joke tellers I've ever seen. It's a talent that extends beyond mere comic timing to an intangible quality that sets him apart from so many of his peers. Even though modern audiences will know many of the punch lines, he still manages to get a laugh from them.Reviewed on: 25 Jun 2005