Funny / Beyond the Fringe

  • Dudley Moore doing battle with the "Colonel Bogey March". Funny in audio, but a crowning moment of funny in the filmed version when you see his facial expressions as well. (In later life he used to ham up performances of this piece but when he was young he played it very straight, as seen in the above clip, and it was much funnier.)
    • During the enormously prolonged coda (which is almost half the length of the entire piece, basically a ninety-second-long collage of all the ways in which Beethoven would signify the end of a sonata, from hammering V-i V-i V-i chords to long runs up and down the fingerboard to heavily ornamented flourishes), Moore just turns his head while he's playing and gives the audience a sort of patient frown, as if to say "Well, look, what do you want me to do? This is how it goes."
      • Twenty seconds later, still playing, he glances sourly over his shoulder as if to make sure they're still there.
  • Meta example: In the authorised biography of producer Willie Donaldson, You Cannot Live As I Have Lived And Not End Up Like This, one chapter is given over to a hilarious rant by Jonathan Miller about how Donaldson was a lousy producer who was always trying to screw them over.
  • The Shakespeare parody, which reaches a peak in Jonathan Miller's excessively complicated instructions to his liegemen:
    Miler: Get thee to Gloucester, Wessex. Do thee to Essex, Exeter.
    Fair Albany to Somerset must eke his route.
    And Scroop, do you to Westmoreland, where shall bold York,
    Enrouted now for Lancaster, with forces of our Uncle Rutland,
    Enjoin his standard with sweet Norfolk's host.
    Fair Sussex, get thee to Warwicksbourne,
    And there, with frowning purpose, tell our plan
    To Bedford's tilted ear, that he shall press
    With most insensate speed
    And join his warlike effort to bold Dorset's side.
    I most royally shall now to bed,
    To sleep off all the nonsense I've just said.
  • "One Leg Too few", which is funny to listen to but which in performance was even funnier, partly because Dudley Moore as the one-legged Mr Spigot used to keep his balance by hopping up and down continually with a cheery smile on his face.
    Agent (Peter Cook): Now, Mr Spigot, you are auditioning, are you not, for the part of Tarzan.
    Mr Spigot: Right.
    Agent: Now, eh — Mr Spigot, I couldn't help noticing, almost at once, that you are a one-legged person.
    Mr Spigot: You noticed that.
    Agent: When you've been in the business as long as I have, Mr Spigot, you get to notice these little things, almost instinctively. Now, Mr Spigot, you, a one-legged man, are applying for the role of Tarzan.
    Mr Spigot: Right.
    Agent: A role that traditionally involves the use of a two-legged actor.
    Mr Spigot: True.
    Agent: And yet you, a unidexter, are applying for the role.
    Mr Spigot: Definitely.
    Agent: A role for which two legs would seem to be the minimum requirement. Well, Mr Spigot, need I point out to you, where your deficiency lies, as regards landing the role?
    Mr Spigot: Yes, I think you ought to.
    Agent: Need I say, with overmuch emphasis, that it is in the leg division, that you are deficient.
    Mr Spigot: The leg division.
    Agent: The leg division, Mr Spigot. You are deficient in it to the tune of one. Your right leg, I like. I like your right leg, it's a lovely leg for the role. That's what I said when I saw it come in, I said, "Lovely leg for the role. Lovely leg for the role." I've got nothing against your right leg. [Beat] The trouble is, neither have you.