Book Review

Forgotten Heroes of Comedy by Robert Ross

There are very few comics whose names and acts resonate across the generations: Chaplin, The Marx Brothers, WC Fields perhaps. Most shine at a specific time, and often just in a specific region, and then fade from our collective memory - their act, if recorded, hard to see or even comprehend outside its context. This book resurrects over a hundred of these acts and puts

Each character sketch consists of an endorsement from people who knew them or are fans, followed by an essay on who they were and why the act tickled their audiences, and finishes with a recommendation for the best place to go to sample the act. The featured acts are mainly British and American and go back as far as Gus Elen from the late Victorian period. There are those who were massively famous in their day but who are now largely forgotten, like Arthur Haynes and Leslie Fuller; scene stealers like Esma Cannon and Roy Kinnear; and those who were a tiny though essential part of something larger such as Gordon Wharmby from Last of the Summer Wine or Janet Davies from Dad's Army.

It's the perfect bog book: dip in for five minutes while you're having a "sit down" and you'll either smile at the nostalgic memories one of your old favourites invokes, or get introduced to someone new to you. Either way, you'll be keen to explore their work further and help make them not quite so forgotten.

Forgotten Heroes of Comedy cover

Pub: Unbound

ISBN: 978-1-78352-918-6

Forgotten Heroes of British Comedy at Amazon UK