"I'm playing all the right notes—but not necessarily in the right order."
British comedy, in my opinion, is funnier and superior to American comedy. Maybe we relate to it more because of our British origins, that the subtlety of British humour strikes us more than it does the Seppos.
Eric Morecambe (1926 - 1984) and Ernie Wise (1925 – 1999), a double act known as Morecambe and Wise, were two of Britain’s greatest comedians. Their partnership lasted from 1941 until Morecambe's death in 1984, their careers covering variety, radio, film and most notably television.
Their TV show included sketches with guest stars, one of the most fondly remembered being the 1971 sketch with the conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, Andre Previn, referred to continually in the sketch as Andrew Preview and Andrew Privet.
It is a masterpiece of comedy – the lines, the timing, the facial expressions.
Click on the following link to view the sketch:
- Because of other commitments, Previn had not had time to rehearse the sketch. Instead he read it on his way to the studio. It is for this reason that the ad-lib of the hand on the shoulder by Previn surprises Eric Morecambe. Likewise, at the point where Previn says he’ll get his baton, it’s in Chicago, Morecambe punches the air with his fist and ad-libs the line "Pow! He's in! I like him! I like him!” This was a recognition of the sketch working and Morecambe being impressed by Previn’s sense of timing.
- Previn has commented that 25 years after that sketch, London taxi drivers still call out to him “Hey, Mr Preview.
- See Andrew Preview’s comments and recollections about the sketch from about 2000, at:
- At a concert in Britain afterwards, Previn had to stop the playing of the Grieg Concerto to allow the audience time to stop giggling as they remembered the sketch.