Comedians throughout the years have constantly brought joy to their audiences through their quick wit and cheeky jokes, but some have left a lasting legacy we’re unlikely to forget for years to come. During the 1960s and ’70s, comedy was at a high with so many soon-to-be legends heading into the very beginning of their careers.
Variety and sketch shows were all the rage and if you were good at your job, you’d likely be awarded with a show in your name. So, sifting through all the self-titled shows of these decades, here are just a few of the greats from back in the day:
Ernie was famously known as a larrikin who embodied the Aussie sense of humour. He was beloved by all, particularly for his hilarious variety show The Ernie Sigley Show where he would show off not only his own superior comedic chops but also those of fellow Australian personalities like Noni Hazlehurst and of course, his partner in crime, Denise Drysdale. The funny duo even had a show together named after them in the late ’80s.
This American comedian was remembered for doing anything and everything for a laugh. He started his career playing the clumsy idiot to Dean Martin’s cool, calm and collected crooner in a duo act that saw the pair shoot to stardom. Once he went solo, Jerry Lewis’ slapstick comedy in films like The Nutty Professor became an instant hit with audiences everywhere.
It was hard not to fall in love with Carol’s hilarious sketches and bright humour in her widely successful show The Carol Burnett Show. At the time, female comedians were never considered for their own variety shows, but Carol was determined to conquer the industry, and conquer she did. She was destined for success from the very beginning as she learned from the best with Lucille Ball becoming her close friend and mentor early on in Burnett’s career.
British comedy was at a fantastic high when Ronnie Corbett came on to the scene. The comedian hit his career peak with his comedy sketch show in the 70’s and ’80s called The Two Ronnies with fellow British comedian, Ronnie Barker. Corbett was most well known for his hilariously long-winded, meandering monologues that were performed sitting in a large, high-back chair to make him seem even tinier than he actually was.
As another comedian who hosted their very own show, Benny Hill had most of his success during the almost 40 years of hosting The Benny Hill Show. With acts including slapstick, burlesque and lots of cheeky double entendre, the variety show was full of hilarious segments that all centred around the host and star of the show. The risque performer loved to push boundaries with sketches like “Hills Angels” where attractive women would band together for dance numbers.
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Remembered as one of Australia’s most treasured figures, comedian Graham Kennedy has long held the title of the King of Australian television. Winner of six Gold Logies and a Logie Hall of Fame award, Kennedy was no stranger to the spotlight. Along with his own show The Graham Kennedy Show, the versatile host was also famous for his work in both In Melbourne Tonight and Blankety Blanks.