Bernard Manning, he had the last laugh on the Manchester Evening News which published news that he was on the mend just hours before they had to concede that actually he was dead. No matter what you might have thought about him — racist, sexist, stereotypist and every other ist that he was — he could be bloody funny.
I remember seeing him at a recording of the Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club at Granada Studios in the 1970s and I can tell you that the audience were helpless with laughter, though I can’t recall a single joke when we left. He could sing a bit too. But before being quick to label him, this is from his obit in the Telegraph:
He had happy relations with his black neighbours, sent a sick Asian child he heard about locally on a no-publicity trip to Disneyland, gave money privately to anti-racist groups and was a major benefactor of Jewish charities in Manchester. Darcus Howe, the black writer and social commentator, recalled meeting Manning in 1999: “He asked me straight up where I was from, and I told him, Brixton. He smiled, and said he’d been there once, so he could be my daddy. And I kind of liked that. We parted friends.”
Anyway, I’ll leave you with this one:
Man running down street. Fella says to him, “Why ya running mate?”
“There’s a lion escaped from the zoo .”
“Bloody hell which way is it going?”
“You don’t think I’m chasing the f…… thing do ya!”