Friday, November 16, 2012

"Everything I've ever told you, including this, is a lie"

My final entry into British Comedians of the past is perhaps the most fascinating to me, Peter Cook.

Cook represents the sort of comedian's comedian in England, and so very many of the best in British comedy have at one point cited him as an influence. John Cleese once said something to the effect that it would take he and Graham Chapman several hours to churn out three minutes of material, whereas it took Peter only three minutes to come up with three minutes of material.  But sadly, to most people, if he's remembered at all, it's for his hilarious portrayal of the wedding officiator in The Princess Bride. I would certainly recommend tracking down his early ensemble state show, Beyond the Fringe, what remains of his television show with longtime co-conspirator Dudley More, Not Only...But Also, and the fabulous original version of the movie Bedazzled.

Perhaps it's unnecessary to include this, but I just came across this quote before posting this from Clive James on Peter Cook: "He wasn't just a genius, he had the genius's impatience with the whole idea of doing something again. He reinvented an art form, exhausted its possibilities, and just left it. There is always something frightening about that degree of inventiveness... He didn't lose his powers. He just lost interest in proving that he possessed them."

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