I was listening to Hancock’s Half Hour in the car this morning, along with Master P who was on his way to the last day of his work placement, and this bit made us chuckle.
It was The Smugglers in which Anthony Aloyisius St John, Bill Kerr and Sid James are on the cross channel ferry after a holiday — 19 countries in six days on a scooter — with Sid getting nervous on behalf of his ‘friend’ who needs to sneak into the country unobserved.
He wonders whether his ‘friend’ could jump ship just before Dover and swim ashore without being seen and how far his ‘friend’ could swim if weighed down with several parcels. Finally, he admits that his ‘friend’ can’t swim and could Tony teach him how to in 20 minutes, or rather can he teach Sid who will pass it on to his ‘friend’.
This wonderfully surreal and strangely logical patter follows:
Bill Kerr: “I’ve been thinking.
Tony Hancock: “What?”
BK: “If Sid’s friend can’t swim, why doesn’t he wait until after dark before he jumps overboard?” (Silence, then audience laughter)
TH: “Why?” (Exasperated)
BK: “Well, then nobody will be able to see that he can’t swim.”
TH: “Go on.”
BK: “That’s it!”
TH: “That’s what?”
BK: “That’s what I’ve been thinking about.”
TH: “What difference does it make when he jumps overboard, it’s not going to stop him drownin’ is it?”
BK: “Ah, no.”
TH: “Well what are you talking about then?”
BK: “He says he doesn’t want anyone to see him.”
TH: “But if he were drowning he’d be grateful for people to see him.”
BK: “Ahh! But he didn’t mention that did he?”
TH: “He doesn’t care if people can see that he can’t swim! He just wants to go ashore without anyone seeing him.”
BK: “That’s what I said. Why doesn’t he jump over at night time?”
TH: “Because he can’t swim!!!”
BK: “Exactly! Now if he’s going to drown anyway, he might as well do it at night time so that the people he doesn’t want to see him won’t see him and will wonder what’s happened to him.
“Well… at least it would be a sort of moral victory wouldn’t it? I mean, they’ll be at Dover waiting for him for years and all the while he’d be under the water safely drowned. That way the laugh’d be on them, won’t it?
“I’m sorry I spoke I’m sure.”
TH: “And so am I mate. I’ve been sittin’ here botherin’. I haven’t the slightest idea what you’re talking about. How does your mind work? This fascinates me. When you get an idea, what happens to it?
BK: “Well, I…”
TH: “I hadn’t finished had I? Look, you get an idea. Now what happens to it en route to your mouth? It goes through a sort of threshing machine doesn’t it? It gets chewed up into little pieces and gets thrown out willy nilly.”
BK: “Well, we’ve all got our own methods haven’t we?”
Galton and Simpson. Pure class.