I Finally Figured Out "Benny Hill" (I Think)

I’ve never “got” the Benny Hill Show but I’ve been giving it a chance now that reruns are on Antenna TV.

It seems there is a joke every 15 seconds, and most of them aren’t funny. Well to most people. But here’s what the show is getting at. If you pack enough jokes into a half hour, it doesn’t matter it they are funny or not, 'cause enough of them will be funny so you’ll forget the 75% that aren’t funny?

Is that it?

If the laugh track says they’re funny, they’re funny. Why doubt it, when hundreds of people are laughing their asses off?

Isn’t that the same principle for any US sitcom? They just jam-pack them with jokes, whereas the UK or elsewhere sitcoms tend to be thin on jokes-per-minute.

The principle behind Benny Hill is to be as risqué and vaudevillian as possible, without breaching the guidelines and still appealing to a wide audience.

I agree, but I find that the pacing on Hill is so fast, it’s like they are trying to pack as many jokes into a minute as possible. The more the better. I found myself laughing really hard about five times an episode, the other 10% are funny but dated so it takes awhile to laugh, the others are just unfunny.

I forgot that they also throw in busty women, but being gay, I don’t care for that :slight_smile:

There are certainly plenty of clever jokes in his songs.

You should look for episodes of the Kenny Everett show. Might be more your approach.

I don’t think you should read too much into the fact that most people these days won’t laugh at the jokes or find them funny.

Comedy dates very quickly. Very little is funny when you take it out of its time and cultural context, and Benny Hill’s act was already long in the tooth when he was making the Benny Hill Show in the 1970s. Nobody much laughs at old Charlie Chaplain movies either.

How can you not laugh at Yakety Sax?


Nah, that’s about busty women as well. Kenny Everett was well and truly in the closet – at least on his television show.

“And it’s all done with the most spectacular taste!”

Benny Hill is god-awful, but the mild T&A and cheekiness made it worth watching in the 70s. It’s dated so horribly that I couldn’t bear to watch it today.

Hot Gossip was an equal mix of sexy women and men. Usually in lace and leather.

You could not be more right on this point. I am a child of the 70s, so I do get a lot of it. But slowly I am getting it. I like his spoofs of Broadway shows or maybe they are spoofs that use songs from Broadway shows of the time

I think it’s the audacity of presenting such corny material, with enough of a wink that you know that they know it’s corny, but a clear indication that they think it’s funny anyway. Not to my taste, really, but I respect it for pulling off that balancing act so well.

True. But I don’t remember seeing a male equivalent of Cleo Rocos.

Benny Hill was all about breaking taboos. Now the taboos have gone, it’s funny. But a lot of it was also topical humour - British topical humour from 30 or more years ago; it won’t translate well.

Or at least that what I remember from watching this show when I was 5 and younger. Most of my peers watched it. I only really remember the theme tune with him chasing the girls (we sometimes doodle-ood the theme tune during kiss chase) but I also remember watching other TV shows where they asked if Benny Hill was bad for society or not.

Have you ever watched a Carry-On movie?

Actually, having just watched a Benny Hill New York Special on Youtube, I remembered the other reason I liked his show as a kid - it was basically aimed at kids. It started with a cartoon, was mostly silent and involved a lot of toilet humour. The silent comedy would also explain why it was so popular abroad (it was huge in Spain for a while). What it most reminds me of is Mr Bean. I don’t find Mr Bean funny, but many do.

Well, now that you have finally got Benny Hill, … can I go wee now? Wheeee!

It’s light double entendres. What’s not to like?

This is all I remember of Benny Hill from when I was a kid, but it cracked me up then:

Birdy, birdy in the sky
Please don’t poop right in my eye
I’m sure glad that cows can’t fly
Birdy, birdy in the sky

I have fond memories of Benny Hill from when I was 18 or so. For nostalgia I rented it one weekend and found that it did not live up to my memories.

I figure that it was perfect for that time in my life. My buddies would come over, we’d have a few beers, which made the jokes funnier and we’d look at the hot girls. What could be better for someone in their late teens?

Ah Benny Hill. If you discuss comedy with a Brit and then bring up Benny Hill, they usually give you the look and say, “Benny Hill? Well my grand-parents liked him but come on, Benny Hill???”

Like most Americans, I think he was one of the all-time greats.

I’ve posted in other threads devoted to him but I remember Benny would often portray this outrageous rocker dude with a big afro and some space suit thing going on. Until I saw a blip on VH1, I had no idea that Benny was channeling Gary Glitter –or vice versa for all I know- who evidently shared the same tailor.


I always found Benny Hill off putting and sexist. It’s funny. So many people that I know offline found him to have a kindly grandfather/father persona, but I just found him old and pervy. I also think he had a bit too much singing and dancing in his show, and he didn’t do either all that well. I liked when he dressed like a woman, though. lol

To end on a positive note, it was amazing all the shows he did for a man of his age.