Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Still up? Then St. Patrick prescribes some Dave Allen fer ye

I had a fortuitous St. Patrick's Day, somehow. First, this morning, I unthinkingly put on a deep blue shirt and rushed out of the house, only later realizing that said blouse was given to me by two good Irish buddies, one of whom works at the Dublin Zoo and thusly delivered to me a cool-ass shirt from its gift shop. I thought, "Weird. Danny must have whispered to me from across the ocean to wear my only even vaguely piece of Irish clothing today." And now, a while ago, I found myself at home, gabbing with an old friend on Facebook, and the name of the great Irish comic Dave Allen snuck into the chat. Another intervention of fate. So I knew I had to get on the Nose and dig up some Dave Allen pieces. Given his name, Mr. Dennis Day was a perfect previous post for the lighted hours of St. Patrick's Day. But for the night owls who still might be up celebrating, or for those who might be nursing a blitzkrieged noggin come morning, no addendum or remedy is better than a few brash laughs.

On his 1971-79 show Dave Allen at Large, the man would always hold court from a high stool, a smoke always lit and withering away into the air, and a highball glass filled with a brown liquid that you were sure was scotch and water but which was actually ginger beer. Nattily dressed, Allen would be on stage energetically recounting the sort of sodden tales you might hear bandied in any number of Dublin bars. These would segue into skits that were great, but always you were waiting to see Allen on stage again. He was just that mesmerizing. I spent a few summers in the mid-1970s at my grandmother's house, and she and I would get together with my Uncle Jeff, and we'd howl for ninety minutes at Dave Allen at Large, then at You Bet Your Life, and finally at The New Soupy Sales Show. This was a trifecta that made me fall in l'amour fou with television. The night's fun would always begin with a cold opening, followed by Alan Hawkshaw's smashing theme song, "Blarney Stoned."

And then, more jokes hit, like this corker:

Allen (born O'Mohoney) was a staunch atheist, having had some trying experiences with the Catholic Church early in life. So he'd sock it to the clergy on a regular basis. This, of course, did not endear him to the Catholics, which might explain why the Brits readily embraced him.
And finally, Allen had had an accident in his twenties that was often plainly visible. This is one of the many ways he explained it away.

The man had a TV career that spanned from the early 60s to the mid 80s, and he peacefully passed away to the spirit world in 2005. And with that, we at the Nose hope you had a happy St. Paddy's. And that Dave Allen found his place in the hereafter--if there IS a hereafter...


Lisa said...

What great memories I have of also watching Dave. And that line-up you mentioned -- Dave Allen, "You Bet Your Life" and Soupy Sales? How could that not make you love TV? Wow! I'd have been watching with you guys, that's for sure!

Terrific capper to our St. Patrick's Day!!

Jane said...

I love this guy Dean! I was not familiar with Dave Allen, thanks for the wonderful treat!