One of the main things that kept me sane during my recent Edinburgh run was listening to Hancock's Half Hour.
I've already documented my love of Tony Hancock and Galton & Simpson on this blog; a number of times in fact. The work of those three men was glorious and timeless. Only today, I was listening to an episode when I realised that it first aired sixty-two years ago, yet it still read perfectly and had me laughing throughout. It's so well-written that it doesn't matter if you don't get all of the cultural references, as the structure of the script and the cast's delivery is pitch perfect that it makes you laugh regardless. I doubt I'll ever grow tired of it.
"But how did it keep you sane?", I hear you ask (if only as a device for me to get to the point). Every morning, as I got ready to go do my show, I'd stream an episode on iPlayer or YouTube; using it as a comedic warm-up to put me in a good mood for the day. It was the perfect battle cry for the job ahead. After listening to an episode, I'd quickly meditate, before taking the five minute walk to the venue to meet my flyerers and set up. It was good for the soul, at a time when my positive attitude would very quickly come and go.
It's a good to surround yourself with the best, most inspiring stuff, and I'd put Hancock's Half Hour firmly in that bracket (as in "punch you up the..." ). Galton & Simpson are the Lennon & McCartney of comedy; their strike rate was exceptional, plus they were bolstered by some of the finest comic actors of their generation. Sid James and Kenneth Williams in particular were seamless and underrated. Check the shows out for yourself. 'Hancock's Half Hour' is like instant Prozac; it's a shame they don't put it on the NHS.