If you didn’t grow up in the UK, you may not appreciate what an icon of comedy Tommy Cooper was and why he is still talked about today. He embodies a peculiar British appreciation for glorious failures and awkward underdogs. His whole act was based around being an incompetent magician though he no doubt could do any magic trick for real. His huge frame and a face designed for comedy meant that he was one of those comedians who never really had to say anything to get a laugh, we was just funny. There are several true apocryphal but easily attributed stories about Tommy that are still told to this day. One involves the aftermath of a Royal variety show that Tommy was appearing in. After the show the Queen and Prince Philip would greet the performers in a line up. When the Queen gets to Tommy she shakes his hand and engages in her own brand of stilted chit-chat. Tommy then suddenly asks the Queen “Do you like Football, Ma’am”. “Not especially”, say her Majesty.Tommy quickly follows up with “Can I have your cup final tickets then”.

Another story involves Tommy’s well known tightness with money. After a taxi ride, Tommy leans across to pay the taxi driver and slips something extra in the cabbies top pocket with the words ‘Have a little drink on me”. When the cabbie finally gets round to checking his pocket he discovers a tea bag.



  1. Dear Tommy no words except to say he was the best, to see him in the video reminds me of my father who died a few years back. Tommy Cooper was one of his favorite acts and it brings back memories to me of my father laughing to almost tears. Thanks for the memory….

  2. Thanks for the comment, glad it brings happy memories. We saw Jerome Flynn playing Tommy Cooper some years ago in London and I was surprised how much of the Tommy’s act I knew besides ‘Jar, spoon, spoon, jar”. It was a magical & affectionate receation of the man and I was very tearful at the end of the show with its inevitable though respectful conclusion.

  3. Pingback: Revisting the comedy icons « Stuffem-Up the hill backwards

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