Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Comedy Double Acts: Strange Bedfellows

"Double acts have almost always had two performers of the same gender, usually male, with the most famous female one, French and Saunders, still following the model of chums with a big/little, small/tall contrast. One reason could be that audiences seem to prefer double acts to be friends or enemies (bickering is part of the shtick), without any sexual tension. Morecambe and Wise famously shared a bed in their domestic sketches, as Laurel and Hardy had before them, with the joke depending on the asexuality of this arrangement, although biographies have revealed that Morecambe expressed concerns at being thought homosexual.
"This tension has been interestingly explored in recent duos where one of the performers is gay. Stephen Fry told me that he had never felt any flicker of sexual interest in Hugh Laurie, and was relieved by this, because he felt their partnership might otherwise have collapsed. For a while, Walliams's status seemed ambiguous, meaning it was conceivable that he and Lucas could become an item. Walliams now has a wife, though – so again we have a contrast, a difference, helping to give the double act its power."

Marl Lawson explores the dynamics of comedy double acts in his Guardian column.
If Mr Lawson wasn't so tragically fugly Fagburn would ask him to marry me.

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