Sir Kenneth Arthur Dodd OBE (8 November 1927 – 11 March 2018), was a veteran variety entertainer, singer and comedy legend from Liverpool. One of the last music hall greats, the inventor of the 'tickling stick' (feather duster) was also renowned for his old jokes; He'd been carting some around since the 1970s.
Commonly known throughout the United Kingdom as "Doddy", Dodd was most famous for his longevity – the length of his career (1954 to 2017), the comedian's 42-week span of his record-breaking run at the London Palladium in 1965, but (most of all) for the duration of his performances, which regularly ran for 3 to 6 hours. He performed in every theater in the country, several times over, throughout his life.
He was also a surprisingly accomplished singer in the 1960s, his most famous hit being "Happiness", and was well versed in Shakespeare.
Ken received an OBE in 1982 and a knighthood in 2017 for services to entertainment and charity.
Doddy continued working up until Christmas 2017, when his health worsened and he spent six weeks in hospital for a chest infection. Despite being discharged in February, he passed away in March. He married his partner of 40 years two days before he died... as a final two fingers to the Inland Revenue, as there's no inheritance tax on estates left to a spouse.
"What a beautiful day for listing Ken Dodd's tropes!"
- British Teeth: His protruding front teeth became one of his trademarks.
- Born in the Wrong Century: Deliberately styled himself after court jesters, three centuries late.
- Common Law Marriage: He and his eventual wife Anne Jones were fiancés for forty years.
- Little People: The Diddymen are a Wainscot Society in Knotty Ash, sometimes represented by marionettes and sometimes by small childen, but always wearing hats that almost double their height.
- Long-Runners: Making his stage debut in 1954, Ken performed for six decades (until December 2017).
- Mad Libs Catchphrase: "What a beautiful day! What a beautiful day for [insert wild, weird, rude, reckless, or otherwise energetic activity here]!""What a beautiful day! What a beautiful day for running into a nudist camp blindfolded and trying to shake hands with everyone!"
- Messy Hair: Evident.
- Mining for Cookies: The Diddymen work in a jam butty mine.
- Nothing but Hits: This BBC article discusses the 'Unswinging Sixties' after Radio 2 played a chart of the best selling music of the decade. Music including Ken Dodd, Engelbert Humperdinck, Frank Ifield, The Seekers, and Rolf Harris.
- Oop North: Ken was born, lived and died in Knotty Ash, Liverpool.
- Rapid-Fire Comedy: Ken Dodd has stated several times that he's always after a joke rate of "7 TPM", or seven titters per minute. He won Guinness' World Record for world's longest ever joke-telling session: 1,500 jokes over 3.5 hours (7.14 jokes per minute)
- Self-Deprecation: Lots. He made jokes about his unconventional looks, his comedic ability, and his aquittal for tax evasion."I wasn't a pretty baby. They put shutters on me pram.""Werewolf movies, honestly. Who'd pay to see a man with wild hair and big teeth!""Comedy's in me blood. I wish it was in me act, but there you go.""After the show I'll give you a copy of my new book; Teach Yourself Accountancy..."
- The Cameo: He had cameo roles in Doctor Who (the Tollmaster in "Delta and the Bannermen"), and in Kenneth Branagh's film version of Hamlet. He played Malvolio in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night on stage in Liverpool in 1971.
- Tongue Twister: "Star" of one of the classic actors' elocution exercises, "Ken Dodd's dad's dog's dead".
- "Ken Dodd's Dad's dog's dead... and so is Ken Dodd"