Say what you want about John Lennon, but you cannot deny that he was an adept comedian. In fact, so were the rest of the band. In many ways, aside from the music, it was their blue-collar, Liverpudlian wit that endeared them to their legions of diehard fans worldwide. Whether it be in A Hard Day’s Night or the surreal caper Help!, the comedy of the ‘Fab Four’ gave them a down to earth, human appeal, and it’s something that endures to this very day.
Frontman Lennon was a natural comedian. If you trawl through the mountains of footage or radio interviews that exist on the internet, you’ll quickly heed that he was a rather quick-witted gentleman. This comes as little surprise when you stop to think how many of The Beatles songs were imbued with comedy. Lennon gave us many hilarious moments over his short life. His comments about the band being more famous than Jesus instantly spring to mind.
Another classic moment was the comment he made whilst The Beatles were performing at the Royal Variety Performance in 1963. With the British Royal Family in attendance, including Queen Elizabeth II, Lennon quipped: “For our last issue, I wanted to ask for your help. Would the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands. And the rest of you, if you’d just rattle your jewellery”.
John Lennon would once again prove his comedic worth when appearing on Not Only… But Also, a popular ’60s BBC comedy series hosted by legendary British satirists Dudley Moore and Peter Cook. Clearly in his element, Lennon did three sketches on the show over its lifetime. He starred in the pilot episode in November 1964 and the first episode of the first series, which was aired in early January 1965.
However, his real star turn came on the sketch that was aired on Boxing Day 1966. At this point, Lennon was the biggest star in the world, but it didn’t stop him from delivering a classic piece of satire. Filmed in Soho, London, on the quiet Sunday morning of November 27th, 1966, it saw Lennon feature as Dan, the doorman of a fashionable nightclub situated in an underground men’s lavatory.
It sees the inept, but affable Dan stop an American journalist from entering the toilet nightclub. The man then asks Dan if it would help him if he told him that he was the “Duke and Duchess of Windsor”. To which Dan responds, “sorry, sir, didn’t recognise you, madam”. Nevertheless, he charges the man five pounds for being on the waiting list, before letting him in. The American says, “thank you very much, I love your Oxford accent” before Dan responds with “follow you nose sir, and madam”.
A classic piece of satire, this shows the best side of John Lennon.
Watch John Lennon star as Dan below.