Dave Allen: The World’s Greatest Sitdown Comedian

Guest post by Aaron Muszalski

A drinker, smoker, Irishman and atheist, Dave Allen was, above all, a natural raconteur. A fixture on British television during the sixties and seventies, he became known in America when re-runs of his shows began to air on late-night public television.

Allen’s act was typified by a very relaxed, intimate style — he would sit on a chair, smoking and holding a glass of whiskey. An atheist[1] (according to Allen himself, “what you might call a practising atheist”), he would often make jokes about religion, particularly the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England. Along with his seated stand-up routines, his television shows were interspersed with sketch comedy. He had a lasting influence on British comedy, and influenced many 21st century British comedians. [Wikipedia]

As a child, I remember regularly staying up past my bedtime to watch Dave Allen At Large on PBS, and being struck by his amiable iconoclasm; Allen wasn’t interested in killing sacred cows so much as getting comfortably drunk, and playfully tipping them over. By couching his irreverence in cordiality, he made his free-thinking bent all that much more infectious.

A perfect example of this was Allen’s famous send-off, in which he managed to both gracefully acknowledge the beliefs of others, while simultaneously excusing himself from any part in them:

“Goodnight, thank you, and may your god go with you.”

See Also:

Dave Allen [Amazon], Dave Allen audio snippets
Dave Allen At Large intro [YouTube]

Post inspired by (and title borrowed from) His Wholiness The Reverend DrJon

Aaron Muszalski
Aaron Muszalski