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BS: greatest written comedy

Dave Hanson 22 Sep 04 - 05:59 AM
Sam L 21 Sep 04 - 09:21 AM
GUEST,James 21 Sep 04 - 08:21 AM
muppett 21 Sep 04 - 04:53 AM
Dave Hanson 21 Sep 04 - 04:42 AM
Teresa 21 Sep 04 - 03:05 AM
Bert 21 Sep 04 - 02:58 AM
HuwG 21 Sep 04 - 01:01 AM
Sam L 20 Sep 04 - 06:49 PM
M.Ted 20 Sep 04 - 04:19 PM
dick greenhaus 20 Sep 04 - 11:02 AM
Steve Latimer 20 Sep 04 - 09:01 AM
GUEST,F.O.Kite 20 Sep 04 - 07:32 AM
Big Al Whittle 20 Sep 04 - 06:28 AM
darkriver 20 Sep 04 - 02:54 AM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 20 Sep 04 - 12:36 AM
Teresa 20 Sep 04 - 12:00 AM
John Hardly 19 Sep 04 - 10:38 PM
bflat 19 Sep 04 - 10:00 PM
GUEST,SueB 19 Sep 04 - 03:59 PM
John Hardly 19 Sep 04 - 08:22 AM
MBSLynne 19 Sep 04 - 07:47 AM
s6k 19 Sep 04 - 06:16 AM
Dave Hanson 19 Sep 04 - 03:55 AM
The Fooles Troupe 19 Sep 04 - 03:40 AM
Teresa 18 Sep 04 - 11:53 PM
Bert 18 Sep 04 - 11:24 PM
frogprince 18 Sep 04 - 11:14 PM
Steve Latimer 18 Sep 04 - 10:40 PM
s&r 07 Sep 04 - 12:28 PM
GUEST,ClaireBear 07 Sep 04 - 11:44 AM
PoppaGator 07 Sep 04 - 10:54 AM
The Fooles Troupe 07 Sep 04 - 09:26 AM
alanabit 07 Sep 04 - 09:12 AM
muppett 07 Sep 04 - 09:03 AM
alanabit 07 Sep 04 - 06:45 AM
Stilly River Sage 06 Sep 04 - 11:39 PM
catspaw49 06 Sep 04 - 09:18 PM
Bill Hahn//\\ 06 Sep 04 - 07:43 PM
GUEST,fred miller 06 Sep 04 - 07:25 PM
SINSULL 06 Sep 04 - 07:11 PM
GUEST,Jim Dixon 06 Sep 04 - 06:17 PM
catspaw49 06 Sep 04 - 10:41 AM
Jeanie 06 Sep 04 - 10:26 AM
catspaw49 06 Sep 04 - 10:26 AM
Paco Rabanne 06 Sep 04 - 08:55 AM
greg stephens 06 Sep 04 - 08:53 AM
M'Grath of Altcar 06 Sep 04 - 07:27 AM
Sttaw Legend 06 Sep 04 - 07:17 AM
ard mhacha 06 Sep 04 - 07:01 AM
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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 22 Sep 04 - 05:59 AM

Gilbert O'Sullivan isn't funny ?

eric


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: Sam L
Date: 21 Sep 04 - 09:21 AM

Another Gogol fan!
I wouldn't disqualify plays, they're written, and also performed. Not everyone likes reading them, but still, there they are. I guess you'd have to allow movie and t.v. scripts, if you actually were reading them.


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: GUEST,James
Date: 21 Sep 04 - 08:21 AM

Books.........Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons, Dead Souls, Gogol.
Three Men In A Boat, Jerome Jerome,The Wisdom of Shepherds by Rhett Ellis(unintentionally), Lots of things by Stephen Leacock...Tristam Shandy.

Film..Monty Python, The Holy Grail.

Theatre...Gilbert and Sullivan


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: muppett
Date: 21 Sep 04 - 04:53 AM

The hitch hiker's guide to the galaxy is back on the radio tonight (the 2nd book I think) radio 4 6.30pm.


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 21 Sep 04 - 04:42 AM

Twinkle twinkle little star.
Now I know just what you are.
A lump of rusting rocket case.
A rubbish tip in outer space. [ Spike Milligan ]

eric


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: Teresa
Date: 21 Sep 04 - 03:05 AM

"Twinkle, twinkle, little bat,
How I wonder what you're at.
Up above the world so high,
Like a teatray in the sky ..."

_Alice's Adventures in wonderland_

;)

T


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: Bert
Date: 21 Sep 04 - 02:58 AM

Hasn't ANYONE heard of Lewis Carroll?


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: HuwG
Date: 21 Sep 04 - 01:01 AM

If the criteria here is purely "written" comedy, then several of the suggestions above must be disqualified as they are visual or recorded humour, rather than written. For example, Monty Python's films, Monty Python and the Holy Grail", and Life of Brian are probably the most hilarious films I will ever see, but these originated as film scripts, designed to be seen rather than read. (Also, the remarkable slapstick skills of the Pythons and the supporting cast contributed to much of the humour).


Likewise, Toms Stoppard's play and film, Rosenkrantz and guildenstern are dead is meant to be seen on stage rather than read.

If the criteria is restricted to that which causes the reader to guffaw suddenly when alone or in company, then obviously Spike Milligan's works must rank high. Also, Wodehouse, Jerome K. Jerome, Thurber and Twain. I have always enjoyed Garrison Keillor's stuff, even without hearing his lugubrious tones over BBC Radio 4.

May I nominate british author Michael Green, who wrote some hilarious books forty years ago on the subjects of coarse golf, rugby, sailing, acting and moving house.


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: Sam L
Date: 20 Sep 04 - 06:49 PM

Death of a salesman? M.Ted? It has a very funny side, yes, but I'm of the camp that thinks it's almost as good as it's supposed to be. Conrad's Heart of Darkness is hilarious, and Murder In The Cathedral always reminds me of Monty Python. In this vein, Raymond Carver is also hilarious, maybe my most favorite. Italo Calvino in a sunnier way.
Any theories about what's funny? I'm beginning to form a few. I think when one laughs it presupposes a sharing--even if the person is not present with whom you mean to share the laugh. (Laughing alone and to oneself is a cliche' tradition of the madman.) Any other theories?


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: M.Ted
Date: 20 Sep 04 - 04:19 PM

Nearly anything by Joyce Carol Oates--all of the original Sherlock Holmes stories, and of course, "Death of a Salesman"--


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 20 Sep 04 - 11:02 AM

Greatest? Humor isn't a competitive event, unlike Irish fiddling and pop folksinging. I will suggest, though, that Twain's piece on Jemes Fenimore cooper and the Skinner/Kimbrough book "Our hearts were young and Gay", as well as almost anything by Stephen Leacock managed to render me helpless with laughter.
    Leacock, who is largely forgotten today, was responsible for gms like "He jumped on his horse and rode off madly in all directions"


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 20 Sep 04 - 09:01 AM

I'm a golf nut. Wodehouse wrote some hilarious golf stories.


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: GUEST,F.O.Kite
Date: 20 Sep 04 - 07:32 AM

"Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines"


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Sep 04 - 06:28 AM

Seasons Greetings by Alan Ayckbourn
Any one of a dozen scenes in Mike Leigh's Life is Sweet


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: darkriver
Date: 20 Sep 04 - 02:54 AM

With one exception, I've found all the above suggestions very funny as well. I recently read Thurber's "The Car We Used to Push" to my 14-year-old, and we both ended up on the floor when I got to the Get-Ready Man during the production of King Lear.

Some of PG Wodehouse's funniest effects are achieved only because they are printed--they'd make little sense read aloud. I'm thinking of Bertie's tendency to use initials.

I dunno if I'd laugh now, but I remember thinking Tom Robbins's Another Roadside Attraction very funny.

(The exception I mentioned above is Confederacy of Dunces. My reaction was strange: I read it, and could see what O'Toole was doing, but I just couldn't laugh at it. It seemed too strained or something.

Doug


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 20 Sep 04 - 12:36 AM

thats not funny, its rubbish.


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: Teresa
Date: 20 Sep 04 - 12:00 AM

Pardon?

er um, the URL goes in there, too, John. :)

t


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: John Hardly
Date: 19 Sep 04 - 10:38 PM

Of course, there's always this guy


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: bflat
Date: 19 Sep 04 - 10:00 PM

How about Arsenic and Old Lace and The Importance of Being Earnest? Wonderful comic timing! I like everything Mel Brooks puts his name on.

Ellen


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: GUEST,SueB
Date: 19 Sep 04 - 03:59 PM

Yes! Dave Barry! for the girls, especially, Dave Barry's Guide to Guys. Earlier stuff is better.


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: John Hardly
Date: 19 Sep 04 - 08:22 AM

You're all so erudite.

Dave Barry.


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: MBSLynne
Date: 19 Sep 04 - 07:47 AM

I second Terry Pratchett...anything by Terry Pratchett...everything by Terry Pratchett. The other books that made me laugh out loud frequently were the "All Creatures Great and Small" ones by James Herriott and Gerald Durrell's books.


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: s6k
Date: 19 Sep 04 - 06:16 AM

derek & clive


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 19 Sep 04 - 03:55 AM

I am not the Messiah,
oh yes you are and I should know I've followed a few.
Allright I am the Messiah.............now FUCK OFF


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 19 Sep 04 - 03:40 AM

Mel Brooks has a long history of written and performed comedy - I remember him from the 1970's. It's kind of sad that he is only likely to be remembered for the longest fart in cinema - in the movie 'Blazing Saddles' - Let us have a minute's slience and hold our noses for 'The Spaw of the Cinema'.


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: Teresa
Date: 18 Sep 04 - 11:53 PM

I've read so many good ones ... but ok, faves off the top of my head:

I did love "A Confederacy of Dunces"

Anything by Eliot Fintushel, very bizarre sense of humor.

Eric Flint's "Joe's World" fantasy-spoof series, beginning with "The Philosophical Strangler" ... lots of nods to Joseph Conrad and a spoof of an Icelandic saga ...

Ok, if anyone remembers the name of this one and the author ... kind of stream-of-consciousness with the author gradually taking letters out of the alphabet a chapter at a time and then putting them back in again.

All I can think of for the moment ... oh, and _Kind Hearts and coronets_ is one of my favorite movies of all time.

T


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: Bert
Date: 18 Sep 04 - 11:24 PM

Right on there S&R. You can't read wilt without laughing out loud.

Then there's Trapp's War by Brian Callisson. Although that gets a bit serious further on.

And any of the Dover books by Joyce Porter. Particularly the climax of Dover Goes to Pot. The heroine is standing on the ledge threatening to jump and Dover goes out onto the ledge and says "Jump you silly bitch!"


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: frogprince
Date: 18 Sep 04 - 11:14 PM

I had never heard of Monty Python before I saw "The Holy Grail", so I had no idea what hit me. I sat there with aching ribs and tears running down my face. "Young Frankenstein" is right up there for me, too. And I second the vote for "Dr. Strangelove": a masterpiece of vicious, frightening, hilarious genius.


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 18 Sep 04 - 10:40 PM

I loved Douglas Adam's Hitchicker's Guide "trilogy".

I have just got around to Catch 22, I have to admit it has been a long time since I have laughed out loud so much reading a book.

While I was in High School I had a book called Bert Fegg's "Nasty" Book of Knowledge". It was by the Python crew. I remember reading it alone at lunch, tears streaming down my face, unable to breathe or explain to anyone what I was laughing at. I loaned it out to someone and I didn't get it back. I don't think it's still in print. I wonder if it would seem as funny now.

'Spaw, I read all the Groucho and Harpo Books. I too would have loved to have been a fly on the wall at the Algonquin Round Table.

Steinbeck's "Cannery Row" and "Tortilla Flats" were some pretty funny books, especially compared to his more serious works.

John Irving always makes me laugh.


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: s&r
Date: 07 Sep 04 - 12:28 PM

Wilt by Tom Sharpe had me in stitches


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 07 Sep 04 - 11:44 AM

Farley Mowatt's The Boat Who Wouldn't Float, which is also a ripping good adventure yarn.


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: PoppaGator
Date: 07 Sep 04 - 10:54 AM

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole -- hands down!

For an interesting article on the long (and so-far failed) effort to make a film out of this Pulitizer-Prize winning novel, click here.


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 07 Sep 04 - 09:26 AM

Chris Langham, who worked with Spike Milligan for a while, has been doing lots of very good clever subtle stuff - some for the BBCTV.

We in Aus got to see his 'ultimate cooking show' recently, and just now has started a new (for us) series of 'People Like Us'. The actors he uses in this show are brillant - sort of like a parody of 'Reality TV'... :-)

I had the opportunity to see him live some years ago, and he was very good live. If you walked into his show after he had started - well you never did THAT again... :-)

Robin


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: alanabit
Date: 07 Sep 04 - 09:12 AM

I enjoyed Douglas Adams a lot too. I think he had a very unusual style of humour. What a shame he had to die so early.


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: muppett
Date: 07 Sep 04 - 09:03 AM

The Hitch hiker's guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, both the Book and the radio version were brill, but it didn't quite do it for me on the tele, a film version is in the making as well, lets hope that's better.


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: alanabit
Date: 07 Sep 04 - 06:45 AM

I can't recall which Wodehouse book it comes from, but my favourite line fron any book comes from him. Wooster has just left the room with his nose in the air after a row with his terrifying aunt:
       "It is not possible to combine dignified sauntering with tripping over a cat."
       Why can't we all write like that?


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 06 Sep 04 - 11:39 PM

When I was a kid we had two books that in particular came out often for bedtime reading. One was a collection of poems, edited by Louis Untermeyer, called Rainbow in the Sky. The other was a collection, edited by Bennett Cerf, called Houseful of Laughter. My kids find most of it just as funny as we did. That's where the Thurber bit came from that I posted above.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: catspaw49
Date: 06 Sep 04 - 09:18 PM

I must admit to thinking that the Show of Shows and all its people were the funniest and cleverest. They are classics of comedy---but prior---who can forget the early Marx Bros.   

Yours very truly,

Rufus T Firefly



Obviously not I.

Regards,

Hugo Z. Hackenbush


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: Bill Hahn//\\
Date: 06 Sep 04 - 07:43 PM

I must admit to thinking that the Show of Shows and all its people were the funniest and cleverest. They are classics of comedy---but prior---who can forget the early Marx Bros.   

Yours very truly,

Rufus T Firefly


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: GUEST,fred miller
Date: 06 Sep 04 - 07:25 PM

Huck Finn was the first big book I ever read, at 9 or 10. A little too early, maybe, it messed me up.


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: SINSULL
Date: 06 Sep 04 - 07:11 PM

Not the greatest but a very funny read: Jerry Dellafamina's (SP?) "From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor", about advertising.


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: GUEST,Jim Dixon
Date: 06 Sep 04 - 06:17 PM

Among Mark Twain's essays, I like "The Awful German Language" and "How I Edited an Agricultural Paper." Among his short stories and sketches, "Buck Fanshaw's Funeral" and "The Blue Jay Yarn." "Innocents Abroad" is hilarious in places. "Huckleberry Finn" is not all funny, but it can be appreciated on many levels, and can be read several times during a lifetime. It's not too early to start now.

I agree that "Catch-22" is the world's funniest novel, but I'm afraid much of the dark humor will be over the heads of kids. It's all about hypocrisy, really.


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: catspaw49
Date: 06 Sep 04 - 10:41 AM

One other thing.......It's starting to be seen in this thread.

There are two times I would have loved to be the mouse in the corner or the fly on the wall. First during the days of the Algonquin Round Table and the other during the meetings of the writing staff Sid Caesar's "Your Show of Shows."

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: Jeanie
Date: 06 Sep 04 - 10:26 AM

I'll second P.G.Wodehouse, too, and add Dorothy Parker - I love the type of humour and writing style of both Everything done with a wry smile. As far as stage comedies are concerned, the one I laughed at the most and was left aching from was "Noises Off" by Michael Frayn. Certainly not "high-brow" - just plain, good old, well-constructed farce. As for columnists, the late John Diamond was brilliant. I always used to read his pieces first.

- jeanie


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: catspaw49
Date: 06 Sep 04 - 10:26 AM

If I had to pick one book that consistently makes me laugh even after dozens of readings, it's a collection of shorts by Woody Allen called "Without Feathers."

I also love the writing of George Kaufman, S.J.Perleman, and even Groucho. There is something in all of them where the logical often becomes insane and the insane completely logical that appeals to my canted mind.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 06 Sep 04 - 08:55 AM

Anything by P.G.Wodehouse.


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: greg stephens
Date: 06 Sep 04 - 08:53 AM

For very parochial humour(I think only British people would find them funny, and maybe only English) I suggest "England their England" and "Cold Comfort Farm".
   For more univeral humour, Thurber, or any late night post by Sir JOhn from Hull.


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: M'Grath of Altcar
Date: 06 Sep 04 - 07:27 AM

Puckoon - Spike Milligan - laughed until my face ached - Spud Murphy - the man with a face like a potato.


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: Sttaw Legend
Date: 06 Sep 04 - 07:17 AM

Adolph Hitler my part in his downfall
Mussolini his part in my downfall
Puckoon
Essential Spike Milligan
Lady Chatterley's Lover according to Spike Milligan
Goon Show
The Bible the Old testament according to Spike Milligan
Rommel gunner who

plus and many others


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Subject: RE: BS: greatest written comedy
From: ard mhacha
Date: 06 Sep 04 - 07:01 AM

Spike Milligan a very funny man, both peculiar and the ha ha variety.


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