So he’s gone to the great jam butty mine in the sky.
I first saw him perform one Summer in Scarborough in the mid-1970s. It was a variety show in the old tradition – the first half featured jugglers, magicians, singers and the like. After an interval it was all Doddy. For well over three hours. It was a hysterical experience – actual hysteria. A death of a thousand cuts. I have written this before, but it is the only time I have seen people leave a theatre doubled up in pain and leaving because they can’t stand the onslaught any more. You are sharing this bizarre experience with complete strangers – you’re all trapped with each laugh snowballing into the next one,
The tickling stick was very apt – if you can remember what it is like to be tickled to such an extent that even the *thought* of the next one gets you on the floor, clutching your sides, then you are close to knowing what it was like to witness this man perform.
I saw him a couple more times and he was brilliant again – but that first time was the one I remember. I know he is not universally loved – but I thought he was a genius.