Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Feast of Saint Benny

Brothers, Sisters, and Transgendered Comedists Everywhere,

This week we celebrate the feast day of Saint Alfred Hawthorne Hill, better known by his stage name Benny Hill, patron saint of the cheap adolescent joke. Born into a working class family, he moved from blue collar job to blue collar job until he decided to try to make it in show business. He took the name "Benny" from Jack Benny and began working the strip club circuit.

His big break was getting hired to be the straight man for British comedian Reg Varney, a position for which he was chosen over Peter Sellars. He worked in radio, tv, and film where he had roles in movies as big as Those Magnificent Men and Their Flying Machines and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

But he is remembered for his television work. The Benny Hill Show was a nonstop montage of cheap visual gags, scantily clad women, and sped up chase scenes to Boots Randolph's Yakety Sax which will forver be known as the show's theme song. Jackie Wright, his four foot eleven, bald headed side-kick and Hill's Angels never pushed the material to new places, but always delivered exactly what one expected from Benny Hill, the last remnant of Vaudeville.Never married, he lived with his beloved mother at the family home until her death in 1976. Benny died of heart problems on Easter weekend of 1992.

Live, love, and laugh,

Irreverend Steve