Weeks in advance, the sold-out signs were out as comedy legend Ken Dodd advances towards his latest date in Worthing (Pavilion Theatre, Saturday, August 4, 7pm).
If you’ve not got a ticket already, you’ve missed the boat. They’ve been snapped up by people with the attribute Doddy values highest of all – a sense of humour.
And just like any sense, it’s a sense you’ve got to work on, Ken insists.
“Some people have got a very well-exercised sense of humour,” Ken says. “They can see the incongruities, the funny things. They like to play mental games
“But everyone is born with it. Everyone is born with a chuckle muscle. It’s that spirit of play. As a boy it’s what means you can turn a box into a pirate ship or a playpen into the OK Corral.
“And as you get older, you have got to keep that spirit of happiness going. Some people, due to the way they live their lives, let their chuckle muscle get smaller and smaller. And then they become a newspaper editor!”
Other people keep it in trim and keep it working, and that’s what Ken is all about. He unashamedly calls his show the Happiness Show, but go along and you’ll see that that’s exactly what it is.
He’s a joke-teller and a joke-seller, Ken says, and it’s a particular kind of humour – one that gives you a tonic.
“When you say humour, it’s like saying music. You have got classical and jazz and you have got rock and roll and romantic ballads. Comedy is the same. There is drollery and witticism and the jolly jester, which is the type of humour that I fall into… the optimist… the kind of comic who says ‘What a beautiful day’.”
There’s too much cynicism around, he says. Too many comics who will try to persuade you that it’s a rotten day. Ken prefers the other extreme and always has done.
“I want people to have a good party, a jollification. I whip up a party atmosphere. We keep it going. Happiness is the main theme.”