COOPER is one of many TV shows that starred the late great British comedian, Tommy Cooper.
This one had just six half-hour episodes, all of which were made in 1975.
Like his other shows, this one is a mixture of stand-up comedy, sketches and fake interviews. In the middle of each episode, Lynsey De Paul performs a musical routine.
I've read all the criticisms about Tommy Cooper. There are lots of people who claim that his work was a combination of hits and misses. Some say that his best work is best viewed on compilation DVDs. Others claim that his stand-up comedy was fantastic and that it was the sketches that were rubbish.
I haven't seen enough of Tommy Cooper's work to verify whether the criticisms are entirely accurate or not. But I can say that these claims have no validity in the assessment of this TV series. Just about everything in COOPER is perfect.
Some of Cooper's best stand-up comedy is found here. His deliberately bungled magic tricks, priceless reactions to external events and corny jokes - everything he is loved for - are all present. The joke about the man who walks in the pub and calls one side of people "a bunch of idiots" whilst calling those on the other side "a bunch of fools" is one of my absolute favourites and it is contained within one episode of this show. As with many of Cooper's jokes, the delivery is far more hilarious than the joke itself. But the delivery of this joke really is exceptional and he gets about half a dozen separate bouts of laughter out of it. I have developed hiccups on many occasions after seeing it!
Of course the stand-up comedy where Cooper tells his jokes and does his magic tricks is best. I'll always stand by that comment. But there are also some great sketches here. One of my all-time favourite sketches in which the late great Ian Hendry plays a policeman outside a pub waiting to arrest drunk drivers is here. Ian Hendry makes for a perfect straight man and he does a great job in keeping a straight face as Cooper delivers some priceless comedy right in front of him. I think this is the reason why that particular sketch is so effective.
There were a few minor flaws, naturally. One or two sketches did drag on a little too long. Some of the exchanges between Cooper and David Hamilton in the fake interviews sounded more serious than they really were. And the delivery of some jokes during the stand-up sections was done better when they featured in earlier or later shows.
Overall, this is a truly terrific TV series that contains some of Tommy Cooper's best work and is a must-see for all of his fans.
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