A Conversation for Gerard Hoffnung - Cartoonist, Humorist and Musician
Asteroid Lil - Offstage Presence Started conversation Dec 20, 1999
I still have a copy of the Bricklayer (with English by Tyrolean landlords on the B side), even though I no longer own the means to play it.
I have in fact heard several American comics deliver the Bricklayer's letter almost word for word -- but without Hoffnung's extraordinary timing. When I would introduce it to my friends here in the US, they would invariably be reduced to tearful hypoxia by the line you quote.
Thank you for reminding us about Hoffnung.
Cheerful Dragon Posted Dec 20, 1999
My parents had a similar record, which I assume my mum still has. It's an excellent introduction to Hoffnung's style of humour. Bits still spring to mind like 'There are French widows in every bedroom' and 'I have recently given birth to twins in the enclosed envelope.' I can't remember the context of the second quotation, but I think it was a sick note from some one to their employer.
Yes, my parents have a lovely record of Hoffnung monologues which, along with Flanders and Swann, shaped my taste in comedy from an early age. They also have the Hoffnung Music Festival and the Hoffnung Interplanetary Music Festival, both feasts for the ears.
Dan Streetmentioner Posted Dec 21, 1999
The BBC released a double tape a few years ago of the best of Hoffnung, including the Bricklayer and his classic "interviews" with gems like the penknife (he bought a penknife to clean out his pipe but the blade was stiff so he bought a smaller penknife to open it with, but the blade was stiff on that, so he bought a smaller one still, but.... etc) and the magic pipe (which he was convinced produced invisible smoke until it was pointed out to him that it wasn't lit). Thankfully, I bought the tape. It is probably still available, so get it if you can, it may be one of the last chances to catch the work of a genius.
I'm a doctor, not a bricklayer! Posted Mar 25, 2000
Glad to see that Hoffnung's humour is still appreciated! I've a set of LPs (vinyl!) of the music festivals and some of his after dinner speeches, and have heard a song based on "The Bricklayer". It must have been nearly 10 years ago. Can anyone identify it, by chance?
I have also enjoyed the gentle humour of Flanders and Swann - I'm a GNU (before the software was invented), Tried by the Centre Court, Stonehenge ... Why is today's humour so aggressively "in your face"?
Asteroid Lil - Offstage Presence Posted Mar 25, 2000
Excellent point. You can't find a single obscene word in Hoffnung, Flanders & Swann, or the Goon Shows for that matter. And now that I think about it, although there were plenty of disconcerting visuals, there wasn't any obscenity in Monty P either.
I think it's partly down to The Lord Chamberlain (The public may leave at the end of each performance / By all the exit doors / The public may leave at the end of each performance / By all the exit doors / All gangways passages and staircases / Must be kept entirely free / Of chairs, or any other obstruction / The public may leave at the end of each performance / By all the exit doors / And all such doors must at that time be open ....)
This official could ban any performance which contained obscenity.
Mens Sana In Thingummy Gosho Posted Sep 13, 2000
Something at the back of my mind suggests that it might have been by a couple of blokes who called themselves Cosmotheka (sp?). I heard them a few times on Radio 2 probably 8 or 9 years ago when they had their own show. I also remember them doing their own version of Right Said Fred.
Pugwash et al Posted Oct 17, 2000
The Corries - a Scottish Folk Duo - included 'The Bricklayer' song on one of their albums (I can't remember which one, at the moment). Although one of the duo is now dead, their albums are still cery popular & still available in most music shops in Scotland. The song, with 'The Bricklayer' in rhyming verse is very funny. I have not heard the original monologue although, I do have the Hoffnung Festival of Music on double CD. Are any of his other musical extravaganzas available on CD?
Recumbentman Posted Feb 20, 2003
I bought a CD of a recent Interplanetary Music Festival . . . not at all the same without GH. His dialogue on "Punkt Contra Punkt" was simply inspired. And so on. Without him, it's all horribly stilted. He was a tightrope walker of subversive humour. The new ones are stilt walkers I suppose. Sorry, it's late.
I was delighted to find through Alibris.com a second-hand copy of his (non-musical) cartoon book, or rather his illustrations for, "The Right Playmate" recently.
Key: Complain about this post
- 1: Asteroid Lil - Offstage Presence (Dec 20, 1999)
- 2: Cheerful Dragon (Dec 20, 1999)
- 3: Just zis Guy, you know? † Cyclist [A690572] :: At the 51st centile of ursine intelligence (Dec 20, 1999)
- 4: Dan Streetmentioner (Dec 21, 1999)
- 5: I'm a doctor, not a bricklayer! (Mar 25, 2000)
- 6: Asteroid Lil - Offstage Presence (Mar 25, 2000)
- 7: Just zis Guy, you know? † Cyclist [A690572] :: At the 51st centile of ursine intelligence (Mar 26, 2000)
- 8: Mens Sana In Thingummy Gosho (Sep 13, 2000)
- 9: Pugwash et al (Oct 17, 2000)
- 10: Just zis Guy, you know? † Cyclist [A690572] :: At the 51st centile of ursine intelligence (Dec 11, 2000)
- 11: Recumbentman (Feb 20, 2003)