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One of England's funniest comedians
F Gwynplaine MacIntyre from Minffordd, North Wales
14 November 2002
Imagine if Laurel and Hardy, or W.C. Fields, had starred in a weekly
on American TV ... and you have a pretty good idea of how significant
is to lovers of British comedy. In the 1930s and the war years, Bud
and his cross-talk partner Chesney Allen were absolute giants of show-biz
the variety halls and films. Britain's #1 comedy team in their own right,
Flanagan and Allen sometimes teamed up with two other comedy acts (Nervo &
Knox, and Naughton & Gold) to form the Crazy Gang ... a six-man act in
Flanagan and Allen were always the two most prominent comedians. Following
Ches Allen's early retirement, Flanagan continued with the Crazy Gang,
now included a double-talk comedian who billed himself as "Monsewer Eddie
Gray". I never considered Eddie Gray a true member of the Crazy Gang: the
rest of the Gang looked like fairly normal middle-aged men except when
got up in drag or outrageous costumes, but "Monsewer" always wore an
elaborate handlebar moustache and a top hat which tipped the wink in
that he was "supposed to" be funny. "Monsewer" Eddie Gray was the British
equivalent of "Professor" Irwin Corey, another comedian whom I never found
In 1963, Bud Flanagan was wealthy many times over (from his betting
and other investments), and decided to star in this brief six-episode
purely for the fun of it. "Bud" is similar to "Seinfeld" and the Abbott &
Costello TV show, in that it stars a famous comedian as a fictionalised
version of himself. For this series, Bud (playing himself) was retired
the show biz, and looking for some other trade just to keep his hand in.
Each episode featured Bud trying his luck at a different job, and always
failing dismally. Fortunately, all six episodes were hilarious.
A top-form roster of guest stars appeared in various episodes of "Bud":
only Bud's old partner Ches Allen, but also fellow Crazy Gangster Charlie
Naughton as well as major comedians Jerry Desmonde and Jack Hylton, plus
(less welcome, in my opinion) "Monsewer" Eddie Gray.
Fans of "Yes, Minister" will be intrigued to know that Nigel Hawthorne,
early in his career, made a guest appearance in the last episode of "Bud".
This serves to show the ongoing continuum of England's comedy tradition.
"Bud" was hilarious. As Bud Flanagan himself often said:
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