Ken Dodd at 90: the rib-tickling genius is still crazy after all these years

With a gag for every occasion, the tattyfilarious comic clocks up 50,000 miles a year performing his epic standup shows. He talks about stage fright, playing Yorick for ‘Sir Kenneth All-Bran’ and taking on the audience like a gladiator

Is theatre the best rejuvenating pill on the market? I’ve recently talked to a sprightly, 92-year-old Peter Brook and seen the 90-year-old playwright Peter Nichols hold an audience spellbound. I’m also recovering from two extraordinary encounters with Ken Dodd, who turns 90 next week: one was a private lunch in Liverpool, the other a public lunch in London where Sir Ken was lauded by members of the British Music Hall Society. On both occasions, I got a glimpse into the transformative power of comedy. As Ken said to me: “I’m told that before I go out on stage, I look my age. Once I’m there, I suddenly turn into a 32-year-old.”

I was in the church choir – till they found out where the noise was coming from

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