November 5th 1972

“not much dun at all. didn’t go to TIBS. watched royal command performance. rod hull + emu – ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha”

Man, my life was just PACKED with worldy experiences and excitement wasn’t it?

I’ve even started writing about the stuff I didn’t do. Jeez!

If my life was bad though, you have to feel far more sorry for the Queen Mother that day.

The Royal Command Performance, (or the Royal Variety Show) was a theatre tradition started back in 1912. King George V said he would happily attend a ‘commoners’ variety show once a year if all the monetary proceeds went to a charity fund he supported. It caught on. Back then the very cream of music hall acts lined up to perform in front of royalty.

By 1972, TV was the ‘entertainment’ king, resulting in HRH (this particular year, the Queen Mum) having to sit through (according to my research) Carol Channing, Los Diablos Del Bombo, Ken Dodd, The Jackson Five, Elton John, Jack Jones, Danny La Rue, Liberace, the cast from Till Death Us Do Part, Mike Yarwood and….. Rod Hull & Emu.

How do I describe Rod Hull & Emu to those who nothing about this *ahem* class act?

Hull was a cabaret artist who appeared with a silent arm-puppet of an aggressive emu. This emu would then attack other people in the audience or on stage. So, basically, our Rod would use the mouth of the emu to squeeze women’s breasts, punch men in the privates and strangle/choke people. (“Oh, how we laughed”)

Apparently this Royal Variety show performance was the very one that catapulted Rod Hull & Emu towards greater fame and success. The ‘pair’ of them eventually ended up appearing on Michael Parkinson’s chat show (the UK equivalent of The Johnny Carson Show) where this very famous attack on the host took place. Maybe that gives you an idea of what the ‘act’ was all about?

Thankfully Hull & Emu eventually fell off the public radar, until Hull went bankrupt and was again back in the news.

He went on the road again to disover he had a whole new set of fans(?) despite peddling exactly the same moronic act.

Channel 4’s “pop culture” show in the 1990’s, “The Word“, brought Rod Hull back to UK TV screens, daring to pair him and his arm-puppet on the same sofa as … Snoop Dogg.

Now, I’m sure Snoop has experienced some VERY weird things in his time – and imagined a whole lot more – but had his excesses truly prepared him for Emu?

You decide…..

I remain embarrassed and extremely apologetic that I (evidently) found Rod Hull & Emu funny when I was a 14 year old nipper. I consider myself these days to be a fan and aficionado of comedy. In retrospect therefore I can safely state that Rod Hull & Emu was really about as funny as a toothache.

There’s a certain irony to the fact that Rod Hull died in humorously tragic circumstances. He was up on the roof of his house attempting to adjust his TV aerial, trying to get a better picture of a Manchester United European quarter final tie against Inter Milan. He slipped and fell off the roof.

His death brought with it perhaps his finest contribution to the world of comedy. Namely, a succession of sick jokes by other comedians. The best of which is:-
Q: “What has 4 legs, sits in the corner and goes Sssshhhhhhhhhhhh?”
A: Rod Hull’s TV.

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2 Comments

Filed under 1972 Diary Entries

2 responses to “November 5th 1972

  1. Mark

    When I lived in Jersey, Rod Hull and Emu came over to appear at Fort Regent in cabaret. On the afternoon of the show I saw Rod in St Helier out shopping. My excitement at seeing him was somewhat diminished, however, when I realised that he was on his own and didn’t have Emu with him! On his own he looked incomplete.

  2. Christian

    I have no idea who Rod Hall was, but that joke still made me laugh out loud.

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