Working the Audience: Stand-Up Comedy

Working the audience

Take the audience away from stand-up comedy and it starts to look weird. In 1960, the rotund American comedian Buddy Hackett released an album called The Original Chinese Waiter. Unlike other records from the time from the likes of Mort Sahl and Shelley Berman, it was not a live recording, but was made in a studio, without an audience. There’s something quite eerie about hearing the insistent rhythms of his gags going down to total silence, an effect the recording engineer seems to have tried to lessen by adding the tiniest bit of reverb to Hackett’s voice. The really strange parts are when he addresses his ‘audience’ directly. The album starts with him announcing, ‘I don’t know about you folks, but I’m very fond of Chinese food.’ The fact that he is obviously saying this to a cold, unresponsive microphone in an empty studio makes it sound rather desperate, an impression which is reinforced by the first line of the final track: ‘Uh, I guess you folks is laughin’ pretty good by now.’1 Hearing this ring out in my silent office more than half a century after the recording was made makes Hackett’s guess sound pretty much like wishful thinking.

I’m not trying to put him down, it’s just that stand-up comedy without an audience is only half there. Ben Elton has argued that, ‘It’s a dialogue, it’s just very one way.’2 Without the laughter half of the dialogue, there is nothing. I know this from personal experience. Running through the act without an audience is rather like leaving a message on somebody’s answerphone – you need to feel there’s somebody listening at the other end, or it’s difficult to keep up the energy you need to express yourself, and you often end up collapsing into total inarticulacy. As Mark Thomas points out, ‘You can’t do the gig in a vacuum, because it is specifically about the performer and the audience, and it’s specifically about generating the prerequisite number of responses. And they’re very audible responses. And if you’re not getting that, really you should stop.’3

Exchanging energy

Kiwi comedian Rhys Darby describes what he does: ‘You become the energy of the whole thing, you just go out there and switch on.’4 Some have compared the exchange of energy between performer and audience that goes on in stand-up comedy with electricity.5 Phill Jupitus paints a beautiful picture of just how wonderful the energy exchange can be:

[There’s] this odd dynamic of just a thousand people in a room … I’m the one and you’re the 999. And you’re just like a lightning rod for the feeling in the room, really, as a stand-up … And it’s two way. Because you need them as much as they need you. There’s nothing like a good stand-up gig. There is nothing like a good stand-up gig, for that kind of unique, what-the-hell-just-happened-there? kind of night, you know. It’s like alchemy.6

Funny lines, gestures and mimes flow from the comedian to the audience, and laughter, applause and heckles flow back in the other direction. The audience is energised and bonded into a group by the comedy that flows from the performer, and the performer is filled with the energy that he or she gets from the audience’s responses. Comics must be able to generate energy in the audience, or they will receive no energy in return, and there will be nothing to fuel their performance. Dying onstage is a uniquely enervating experience. What comedians learn to do as they gain experience is to read the audience, to understand their reactions, to ensure that they can be properly energised. As Dave Gorman points out,

What you do isn’t say those words in that order; it’s play the audience. It’s feeling the consciousness of the room, and when they’re ready to take the dive into the punchline and when they’re not, and when they’re tense, and you can’t feel that unless they’re there creating that atmosphere.7

The exchange of energy is subtle and although comedians develop an instinct for handling it, it tends to defy cold analysis.

Sometimes the energy of a show can go wrong. I remember being last on the bill at the Banana Cabaret in Balham in the early 1990s. The second act is an open mike spot, a fourperson black comedy troupe called They Wouldn’t. They generate huge energy between the four of them, and leave the stage after six minutes to the kind of ovation a proper paid act would be proud of. They’re followed by accordion-playing Scots oddball Lindsay Moran, who manages to catch the wave of energy they have created, and ride it even higher. The show has climaxed by the end of the first half. After the interval, the audience are tired, and the comedian who follows Moran can’t rouse them. I am similarly unsuccessful, getting a few laughs, but unable to waft away the stink of anticlimax. I remember seeing Johnny Vegas doing an open spot in a cellar bar called Mulberries in Manchester a few years later, and being similarly unfollowable.

James Campbell finds that playing to audiences of children means he has to pay particular attention to energy levels:

With an adult stand-up gig, you try and build it and build it and build it until you’ve got people literally rolling around in the aisles with tears streaming down their face. You try and do that with a kids’ audience, they get hysterical. And the lid just blows off. So you have to keep calming them down every now and again. So you don’t get that constant build up. You can do it to a certain extent, towards the end, but I mean some of them will literally wet themselves … There is nothing more horrible than the sound of 300 children laughing because you’ve paused. You get that fake laughter, hysterical laughter. They’re just laughing because they’re supposed to be laughing, and they can’t remember why they’re supposed to be laughing. It’s horrible, it’s demonic.8

However difficult it is to handle the exchange of energy between performer and audience, it’s a defining feature of stand-up comedy, and it’s one of the things that make direct address so important. The directness of communication allows the comedian to switch on, to generate electricity, to become a lightning rod for the whole room. This is one of the reasons why many actors find the idea of performing stand-up so daunting. Shelley Berman trained as a classical actor, studying Ibsen, Shaw, Shakespeare and Chekhov at acting school. When he started as a stand-up, he brought with him many of the practices of straight acting, and took time to adapt to the demands of the new format:

I didn’t even address the audience, because I was used to the Fourth Wall. I was really trained to ignore that, you do not penetrate that Fourth Wall unless you are doing a soliloquy… That Fourth Wall was sacred … This was incredible, that I would not address the audience. I was afraid to address them, because it was wrong … One day, Billy Eckstein – the singer Billy Eckstein – said to me, ‘When you get onstage tonight,’ (because I was working with him, I was opening the show for him in Canada), and he said, ‘Will you do me a favour Shelley, just before you sit down and go to your phone, why don’t you just say thank you and good evening to the audience that’s welcomed you?’ ‘Well I can’t do that, Billy, I don’t do that.’ ‘Well just try it.’ And he nagged at me, night after night. And one night I tried it, and I got much more laughter. For some reason, the material went over better. And it wasn’t just that one night, I tried it again and I saw that there was something. And then I started softening up and relaxing with the audience, telling them about myself … and I found that they were enjoying me more than or as much as my material … I somehow realised that it’s dealing with the audience that the comedian does, and, you know, I’d better stop being such a snob.9

Energy and space

The skill of the individual comedian isn’t the only thing that can affect the exchange of energy. Another big factor is the particular circumstances in which the stand-up show occurs. The time the show starts has an effect. A seven o’clock start might mean a rather formal, reserved audience, whereas a midnight show can be either lethargic or rowdy. In a Friday night show, the audience may be bad tempered or overexcited after a hard week at work; a Saturday show tends to be more relaxed.

Space probably affects energy even more than time. The comedy club I used to run was based in a largish pub function room, which in many ways was ideal for stand-up. There was a small stage at one end, and plenty of tables and chairs to seat the audience. The room had its own bar and direct access to toilets, meaning that paying punters would not have the hassle of having their tickets checked if they wanted to fill their glasses or empty their bladders. In spite of this, from very early on in the life of the club, the audience tended to take rather a long time to warm up. In the first half of the show, although they liked the acts, they were not particularly vocal in showing their support. Generally, the laughter was rather quiet until the second half got underway.

A solution to this problem was discovered by Jacqui, the student who sold the tickets and did front of house for the show. She had a way of arranging the tables which made a tangible difference to the energy of the show, making the audience significantly livelier in the first half. The room was much longer and thinner than it appeared at first glance, and there was a tendency for a large group of standing punters to congregate at the back. This group, which could easily be as much as a third of the total audience, were a long way from the stage. I used to watch the show from the back myself between my compèring spots, and I felt far removed from both the act and the rest of the audience. Jacqui realised that by putting as many of the tables and chairs as close to the front as possible, the standing punters would be brought forward, and the whole audience would be densely packed around the stage. The proximity and density of the audience meant that it was easier for a really efficient exchange of energy to occur. Needless to say, I went on to marry Jacqui.10

I made similar discoveries when I worked with a collective of comedians called Red Grape Cabaret. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, we did shows in a motley collection of pubs, students unions and arts centres. College gigs tended to be the worst, often taking place in unsuitable venues, with poor staging and technical facilities. Once we had become confident enough to assert ourselves with the people running the shows, we started to take charge of the situations we found ourselves in. Sometimes this would mean taking obvious steps, like turning off televisions, jukeboxes or one-armed bandits while the show was on.

Other times, it would mean rearranging the space, finding the best place for the stage to be set up, adjusting the lighting and rearranging the seating. Usually, this turned an undoable gig into an acceptable one, an acceptable gig into a joy. I don’t ever remember discussing the principles behind our decision to move things around, but I do remember developing a strong sense of how a space and the way it was laid out would affect a show.

This acquired knowledge made me sit up and take notice when I came across Iain Mackintosh’s book Architecture, Actor and Audience. In a history of theatre architecture from Elizabethan times to the present day, Mackintosh argues that its ‘chief purpose … is to provide a channel for energy’.11 He suggests a number of rules for theatre design to maximise the flow of energy between actor and audience, including the idea that it’s more important for an audience to be densely packed than to be comfortable or have good sightlines, and that the audience should ‘enfold the performing area in a welcoming embrace’.12 This immediately made me think of Jacqui’s table layout, and about the general principles of space and energy in stand-up comedy.

One of these principles is that the acoustics of the space are important, and not just to ensure that the audience can easily hear the comedian. It’s equally vital that the space should be shaped to maximise the volume of the audience’s response. William Cook points out that, ‘Comedy works best in basements, with low ceilings and tight crowds.’13 Low ceilings are crucial, because they allow the laughter to bounce back and reverberate through the room, boosting the energy. High ceilings make things much harder. In 1997, I compèred a series of shows at the Barnsley Civic Theatre, a great barn of a room, both broad and long. I found that even with a big audience, the laughter got swallowed up by the high ceiling, allowing the energy to evaporate.

Different venues make different demands of a comedian. Variety theatres were laid out in sections, and the comic had to ensure that he or she was achieving an exchange of energy with stalls, circle and gallery. Frankie Howerd would get his sister Betty to sit in each part of the theatre to ensure that there was nowhere he wasn’t reaching.14

Arena comedy

Large venues can have a profound effect on the way the audience experience the show. In September 2004, I go to see Billy Connolly at the Carling Hammersmith Apollo. It’s a big venue, with a seating capacity of 3,719. I’m in seat 76, row Y, on the second to back row of the circle. It’s a long way from the stage. When Connolly comes on at the beginning, he’s a tiny figure. He looks like a digital photo taken on the wrong light setting. The white and grey of his hair and beard blend with the complexion of his skin, making it almost impossible to pick out any features on the bleached-out blob of his face. Any raised eyebrows, knowing glances or comic grimaces are lost on the back rows.

However, he’s a superb performer, with vast experience of playing big venues, and his performance works at both short and long distance. People like me in the cheaper seats might miss out on the facial expressions, but Connolly works with his whole body. His long, lightweight hair flaps about comically when he acts something out, and he habitually strokes it back, running his hands down either side of his head. His legs are very expressive – he demonstrates funny walks and struts about the stage when he gets a big laugh. He has great mime skills, for example illustrating how long it takes a man of his age to urinate, finishing off by pretending to wring out his penis with both hands. He also uses the whole stage, occasionally stepping right up to the front of it and lowering his voice to give the feeling of saying something confidential.

In spite of all this though, I feel a little distanced from the show because of the way the size of the venue affects the audience. After a punchline, I can hear the wave of laughter rushing through the stalls, but it rarely engulfs me. In my section, there are pockets of laughter or applause from individuals or groups around me, but there are not many moments when we all laugh at once. As individuals, we’re more likely to laugh if surrounded by others who are laughing, but on the peripheries of a large audience we’re less likely to be surrounded.

There’s no doubt that large venues present particular challenges for comedians, particularly when they move into gigantic arena gigs. Steve Martin has written of the problems he faced as the first stand-up to venture into such huge, unwieldy venues. He found it impossible to retain any subtlety in his act, pointing out that ‘nuance was difficult when you were a white dot in a basketball arena.’15 He also found the audience’s rock and roll attitude affected his delivery: ‘The act was still rocking, but audience disruptions, whoops and shouts, sometimes killed the timing of bits, violating my premise that every moment mattered.’ Furthermore, it was impossible to deal with disruptions because ‘if I had responded to the heckler, the rest of the audience wouldn’t have known what I was talking about.’ With hindsight, he realises that the nature of his performances had completely changed: ‘I had become a party host, presiding not over timing and ideas but over a celebratory bash of my own making. If I had understood what was happening, I might have been happier, but I didn’t. I still thought I was doing comedy.’16

Having grown up in the punk era – with its preference for small, sweaty, intimate venues – and worked as a comic in cellar bars and pub function rooms, I find the idea of stadium stand-up a bit odd, and as a result I attended one for the first time only very recently. On 27 September 2012, I find myself sitting in Block 110, Row E, Seat 282 of the O2 Arena in London, watching Michael McIntyre’s Showtime. It’s a curiously impersonal experience. The audience seem as varied and random as you’d get on, say, a busy railway station. I don’t feel part of a group much more than I would on a station, either. The laughter is a weird, unnatural noise – a kind of distant, disembodied rush that seems to emanate from the centre of the arena.

McIntyre has spoken about what it’s like to play arenas: ‘Most of the time, you’re blinded …You don’t see the audience. You have spotlights in your face and, behind that, it’s dark. You’re just talking into a black void.’17 The difficulties of connecting with the audience are obvious at the O2. As with any stadium gig, live relay of the comedian is projected on large video screens behind him. He chastises people sitting at the front, telling them it’s ‘rude’ to watch him on the screens rather than actually looking at him. Pointing this out as a breach of etiquette is a good gag and he gets laughs with it, but the fact that he has to tell them off for the same thing later on suggests that deep down he might be a tiny bit frustrated by it.

I’m sitting near the front of a block that’s towards the back of the arena, and from where I’m sitting watching the screen is pretty much the only option. The comedian is a tiny figure whose facial expressions are simply beyond my range of vision. I make a conscious effort to try and watch the man rather than his projected image, but I can’t last more than a couple of minutes before my eyes flick back to the screens. Part of the problem is that I can’t see his lips move, so it takes an act of the imagination to believe that the hugely amplified voice we hear through the PA is actually coming from him – it fits much more readily with the image we see on the screens. Before the show, clips from his previous DVDs were projected and largely ignored by the audience as we filtered in. This was weird, as the video images from his past performances looked so similar to the live relay from tonight’s show which we now watch so avidly.

Towards the end of the show, people start shouting out – not really heckling, just trying to join in. He deals with it by imitating the noise they make, which does the job in terms of getting a laugh, but it’s really the only option that’s open to him. He tells them he can’t hear what they’re saying – he’d love to play with them, but it would have to be a more intimate show. Stewart Lee is only half joking when he suggests a novel solution for this kind of problem:

I don’t know what it’s like for these stadium guys. I mean … I don’t know who they think they’re talking to … they’ve got a big monitor with a picture of the comic on it, actually the comic should be looking at a big monitor of the audience. Of, like, individuals, so he can see. That’d make more sense.18

One thing I realise as I’m watching McIntyre is that spontaneous applause – as opposed to the ritual applause that welcomes the comic on to the stage and off again at the end – is almost entirely absent from the show. In most stand-up gigs, this is almost as important a reaction as laughter in showing audience approval. It can be used to reward a particularly clever gag, or an exceptionally deft bit of performance, or perhaps to show they agree with an opinion the comedian has expressed. The lack of spontaneous applause in McIntyre’s O2 show is odd because he’s clearly immensely popular with the thousands of people who have paid a decent amount of money to see him here, and in fact we like him so much that we cheer him back on for an encore. His act has the qualities that normally merit spontaneous applause – there are clever gags, some lovely moments of performance, and he expresses the kind of mainstream opinions that hardly anybody could disagree with.

I conclude that problem lies less with the comedian and more with the way the audience is configured. A review of Newman and Baddiel’s show at the Wembley Arena in 1993 points out how difficult it was for the two comics to unify the audience: ‘It was full-ish – but one end was curtained off, the empty spaces acted like fire breaks in a forest, and although it often crackled, it never quite caught fire.’19 It’s nothing like as bad as that at McIntyre’s O2 show, but as with Billy Connolly’s show at the Hammersmith Apollo, I don’t fully feel part of the crowd. I’m never surrounded by laughter, only hearing the laughs of isolated individuals sitting around me. Spontaneous applause requires a kind of agreement spawned by the zeitgeist in the room – but with such a vast, amorphous audience this kind of quasi-psychic consensus is near-impossible.

Al Murray has an anecdote which shows just how big the yawning gap between performer and audience can be in an arena:

I had friends who went to one of [my] O2 shows, [who] said, ‘Oh, there was a fight in front of us.’ You think, ‘I didn’t know that!’ And you’d know that in a 40-seat room, an 80-seat room, 300-seat room. You’d even know that in a 4,000-seat big theatre, you’d know if there was that kind of a disturbance. But in an arena you’ve no idea, and that seems a shame in a way.20

Correcting audience response

Part of the skill of being a stand-up comedian is to be able to control the exchange of energy by managing and manipulating audience response. Often this is done so skilfully that the audience will not even realise it is happening. The laughter, the applause and the way that the energy builds through the course of the show all seem to be totally spontaneous expressions of the audience’s will. The subtle cues used to help the punters know when to laugh or applaud – the gestures, timing or vocal inflections – are largely invisible.

The technique only starts to show when the audience’s reactions are in some way incongruous. Then the comedian can get laughs by correcting whatever mistake the crowd has made. A common example would be when only one or two people clap, denying the comic the satisfaction of fullblown spontaneous applause. Jimmy Carr deals with this by saying, ‘All together or not at all on the applause. [laughter] Otherwise we’ve got to throw you a fucking fish. [laughter]’ There’s a gentility underlying Carr’s wilfully offensive wit, and having jokingly suggested that the lone applauder is a trained seal, he then politely acknowledges the applause, saying, ‘Thanks very much.’21

Even laughter in an unexpected place can be sent up as a mistaken response. David Cross is about to launch into the next section of a routine about drugs: ‘And where I live in New York, er, um, eleven blocks from my apartment is a methadone clinic. And, er –’ This is clearly set-up rather than punchline, and methadone clinics are not really know for their humorous qualities, so when this apparently innocuous line gets a laugh from a single punter, he stops sharply, and his head snaps up to look in the direction of the laughter. His face shows puzzled amusement, and the audience laugh with him at the inappropriateness of the response. ‘Ha ha, wh-! Why is that funny?’ he ponders, then imagines the thought process of the person who laughed: ‘“Ahhh, treatment!! Huh huh! [laughter and a smattering of applause] Wha, huh huh. Just pop down the methadone clinic for some gutbusters.” [laughter]’ A couple of lines later, he tries to get things back on track, saying, ‘No but then, all right, so in between, er, my apartment and the methadone clinic, is a park. Tompkins Square Park in, er, in East Village, and um – So, needless to say, there are a lot of junkies in that park.’ There’s another single laugh, and it’s louder this time. Cross pauses and looks down at the stage, apparently annoyed this time. The audience laugh. He feigns bemused disapproval: ‘I don’t wanna – encourage this, er – [laughter] Or we’ll never get outta here, er –’ [laughter]’22


Although Cross plays this as if his authority is being challenged, in both of these examples the rogue punters’ responses are actually positive. They are, after all, only applauding or laughing. Sometimes, though, comedians can face genuine challenges. Stand-up comedy is shot through with a dark vein of fear and hostility. Comedians tend to fear audiences, afraid of their ability to judge and reject. Speaking to an audience is one of the most popular fears among the general public, and many people are horrified by the very idea of having to perform stand-up.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the mirror, audiences fear comedians. For most events, venues with unreserved seating tend to fill up from the front, whereas in comedy shows they tend to fill up from the back. Punters fear sitting near the front in case they should get picked on or ridiculed by the act. Stand-up jargon has hostility written into it. Comedians who have done well with an audience say they have ‘killed’; those that have done badly say they have ‘died’. Stand-up has been compared with bullfighting. Comedians say that audiences are ‘the enemy’, that they can smell the comic’s fear.

In his influential book On Aggression, Konrad Lorenz argues that humour is a veiled form of hostility, but says it is unlikely to regress into ‘primal aggressive behaviour’. He drives the point home with a memorable line: ‘Barking dogs may occasionally bite, but laughing men hardly ever shoot!’23 However, there have been incidents in stand-up shows where the fear and hostility that bubbles under the surface has exploded into real violence. Milton Berle once used a couple of standard comic insults on a group of three men sitting at a nightclub table, getting nothing but silence in return. After the show, one of them assaulted him, grabbing him by the tie and sticking a fork into his chin, saying, ‘I could kill you right this minute, you little rat bastard.’24 Hattie Hayridge, an inoffensive comic with a deadpan act based on offbeat one-liners, was assaulted less seriously while she was on stage at the Tunnel Club in East London. The venue lived up to its reputation for crazy, rowdy hecklers as a punter walked across the back of the stage, stood behind her and lifted up her dress. She responded by repeatedly kicking him, so he came back at her by throwing an egg in her face.

There have also been cases where violence has been started by the comedian. In an uncharacteristically slapstick move, Lenny Bruce once repaid a heckler by inviting him onstage and pushing a custard pie into his face. Milton Berle could give as good as he took. An anti-Semitic heckler started winding him up by shouting ‘Kike!’, ‘Jew bastard’ and ‘Hitler’s right’. Berle leapt off the stage and piled into the man, trying to pass it off as a joke by pretending to dance with him. They were separated by theatre ushers, and Berle was later arrested.25

But arguably, the prize for Most Violent Assault on a Paying Punter should go to Bob Monkhouse. In 1977, Monkhouse was performing in Watford when he was persistently heckled by a young man shouting, ‘Fuck off!’ Eventually, the comedian snapped. ‘No more!’ he said, before walking tightrope-style along the railing that led from the stage to the punter and kicking him in the head, instantly flooring him. The audience cheered the comic, and he went down to much greater enthusiasm after the assault.26 With this in mind, I wonder what would have happened if AA Gill had made the comment about marzipan socks to Monkhouse’s face?


1 ‘The Original Chinese Waiter’ and ‘The Old Army Routine’ on Buddy Hackett, The Original Chinese Waiter,, 2002, LGH1107

2 Face to Face, BBC Two, 12 January 1998

3 Interview with Mark Thomas, Clapham, 27 February 2004

4 Interview with Rhys Darby, by telephone, 30 June 2004

5 E.g. ‘An electric shock shoots around the room when a comic is really cooking.’, William Cook, Ha Bloody Ha: Comedians Talking, London: Fourth Estate, 1994, p. 181; comedian Simon Evans: ‘Laughter is like electricity’, quoted in William Cook, The Comedy Store: The Club that Changed British Comedy, London: Little, Brown and Company, 2001, p. 110

6 Interview with Phill Jupitus, BBC Broadcasting House, London, 6 June 2004

7 Interview with Dave Gorman, by telephone, 29 June 2004

8 Interview with James Campbell, by telephone, 25 August 2004

9 Interview with Shelley Berman, by telephone, 5 August 2004

10 Really.

11 Iain Mackintosh, Architecture, Actor and Audience, London and New York: Routledge, 1993, p. 172

12 Iain Mackintosh, Architecture, Actor and Audience, London and New York: Routledge, 1993, p. 128

13 William Cook, The Comedy Store: The Club that Changed British Comedy, London: Little, Brown and Company, 2001, p. 110

14 Frankie Howerd, On the Way I Lost it: An Autobiography, London: Star Books/WH Allen, 1976, p. 67

15 Steve Martin, Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life, London: Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster, 2008, p. 181

16 Steve Martin, Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life, London: Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster, 2008, p. 185

17 Stephen Armstrong, ‘Can You Hear Me At The Back? The main players in comedy now perform to huge crowds of all ages. What if your material doesn’t travel to these vast arenas? Stephen Armstrong talks to the next wave of comics aiming for the big time’, Sunday Times, 19 February 2012, p. 12

18 Interview with Stewart Lee, Patisserie Valerie, Canterbury, 25 February 2012

19 William Cook, ‘Funny Turn at the Arena; Newman and Baddiel Strive to Fill Wembley Arena with Laughs’, the Guardian, 13 December 1993, Features p. 5

20 Interview with Al Murray, by telephone, 2 April 2012

21 Jimmy Carr, Telling Jokes, 4 DVD, 2009, C4DVD10294

22 David Cross, Bigger and Blackerer, Sub Pop Records, 2010, SP883 [DVD]

23 Konrad Lorenz, On Aggression, London: Methuen, 1967, p. 254

24 Milton Berle (with Haskel Frankel), Milton Berle – An Autobiography, New York: Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, 1974, pp. 132–3

25 Milton Berle (with Haskel Frankel), Milton Berle – An Autobiography, New York: Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, 1974, pp. 164–5

26 Bob Monkhouse, Over the Limit: My Secret Diaries 1993–8, London: Century, 1998, pp. 330–2