Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Humor of the Day: The Goons and Spike Milligan

The Goons
were a group of popular comedians.  They consisted of Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers and Harry Secombe.

Humor was very important in those days, during and after the second world war and the great depression that followed, to lift peoples spirits and make them laugh.  Some say that laughter is the best medicine.

The humor is a bit dated for people born long after The Goons prime, but there are parts that are still funny and once you understand the terminology of that time, you can have a few laughs.

My favourite is: 

and this one

Spike Milligan

A funny one that Spike did was part of a series called Q.  This is one of the things he did:  A man walks into a café, purchases a baguette, and sits down at a table to eat...

Wedging the end in his mouth, he's startled when George Gershwin's 'Rhapsody in Blue' suddenly emanates from it. Slamming the bread down, the music stops and he flees. Closing in on the table, we see a sign, 'RESERVED', before a hammer crashes down on the snack.

Does that make any sense? No, but it's weirdly funny nonetheless. And that's probably the best way to sum up Spike Milligan's experimental sketch show.


There is a series on Spike Milligan after he died, called "I TOLD YOU I WAS ILL, which explored various highlights and lowlights of his life.

One of the low lights was his time in World War II, which is not specifically funny at all but more important, shows him to be a real person even though he always tried to be funny and keep up everyones spirits.

This is a poem that he wrote during this time:

Death Wish

*Bury me anywhere,
Somewhere near a tree
Some place where a horse will graze
and gallop over me.

Bury me
Somewhere near a stream,
When she floods her banks
I'll give her thanks
For reaching out to me
In my childhood scene;

But please -
don't bury me
In Golders Green.

-Spike Milligan, Italy, 1944


BUT sadly, he did not get his wish :( 

The grave of Spike Milligan in the grounds of St Thomas, Winchelsea, East Sussex. The epitaph reads "Duirt mé leat go raibh mé breoite", Irish for "I told you I was ill."


Here is a bit more about Spike Milligan:
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Spike Milligan

Born - 16 April 1918(1918-04-16)  in Ahmednagar, British India
Died - 27 February 2002(2002-02-27) (aged 83) - Rye, East Sussex, England
Nationality -  Irish
Influences -  Groucho Marx,  Edward Lear, W. C. Fields, Walt Disney, Jacques Tati, Spike Jones, J. B. Morton, Influenced Peter Cook, Monty Python, Marty Feldman, Kenny Everett, Harry Hill, Spouse June Marlow (1952–60), Patricia Ridgeway (1962–78), Shelagh Sinclair (1983–2002)

Notable works and roles The Goon Show

A bit about Spike Milligan

  1. He was born Terence Alan Patrick Seán "Spike" Milligan KBE (16 April 1918 – 27 February 2002). 
  2. He  was a comedian, writer, musician, poet, playwright, soldier, and actor.
  3. Milligan's early life was spent in India, where he was born, but the majority of his working life was spent in the United Kingdom.
  4. He became an Irish citizen in 1962 after the British government declared him stateless.[1]
  5. He was the co-creator, main writer and a principal cast member of The Goon Show, performing a range of roles including the popular Eccles.

  •  Spike Milligan wrote and edited many books, including Puckoon and his seven-volume autobiographical account of his time serving during the Second World War, beginning with Adolf Hitler: My part in his downfall.
  • He is also noted as a popular writer of comical verse, much of his poetry was written for children, including Silly Verse for Kids (1959).
  • After success with the ground-breaking British radio programme, The Goon Show, Milligan translated this success to television with Q5, a surreal sketch show which is credited as a major influence on the members of Monty Python's Flying Circus.

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