PersonaVideo October, 24th 2011 by

Dave Allen - "The Thinking Mans Comedian"

Dave Allen TV Star, Comedian, Raconteur

Dave Allen

Dario meets Dave Allen.

I first saw Dave Allen struggling with a huge python around his neck on a BBC TV programme in 1968, when he got his first opportunity, with a comedy programme called “The Dave Allen Show”. He was an immediate hit with the British public and me, becoming an enormous success,  a household name, and has remained a popular and well-loved figure ever since.
The master of wit and blarney, real name David Tynan O’Mahony (a more Irish name one could never hope to find), brought something different to the British cultural scene, with his unique spoken and visual humour, he crossed all the invisible barriers of class, race and religion.
Nothing was sacrosanct for his observant eye. No one could ever be sure that this genial Irishman’s sense of wit would not portray any organisation or individuals in a facetious manner.
His humour though penetrating, caused no offence even when he made fun of the Catholic Church and the Pope. It was delivered in such a like-able way that he made many friends and fans from Church leaders and congregation members.
Dave Allen is the thinking persons comedian; firstly he is an educated man with a deep sense of history and folklore. He saw magic around him. He has the imagination of a child (the leprechaun in him) combined with a sense of practical realism, an irresistible combination and his humorous observations are incisive, unusual and well delivered.
Dave Allen as an actor is superb, and displays an enormous variety in his talent of transforming himself into many different types of characters.  He has the wit and style of an accomplished writer, and although he works with other fine scriptwriters and actors who compliment his skills, much of the initiative and subject ideas come from him.

Dave Allen reminds me a little of my other favourite of the art of comedy; the Italian playwright and Nobel Prize Winner Dario Fo. They both share the same talent for exposing the absurd in our modern society.
The main difference between the two men is that Dario Fo, has often been in political hot water with the authorities, for his writings and speeches, that have often upset the powers that be.  He attacks and exposes things he considers unjust and possibly authoritation by using the power of his penetrating humour and sarcasm.

My sister Delia and I were privileged to work on quite a number of live cabaret shows with Dave Allen and we gradually became good friends. I soon discovered his great passion for literature art and poetry which I shared.

Delia, Dave Allen and Dario at The Talk of The Midlands

Once during a break from our work, he invited my sister and me, to accompany him to the beautiful ancestral home of one of his favourite poets Lord Byron, (b 1788-d 1824) set in the magnificent estate of Newstead Abbey near Nottingham.  The main house was closed to the public, but due to the celebrity and popularity of my host, they opened the house up especially for him and his friends.

Lord George Byron

He taught me a lot about Byron and stimulated my own interest in the great writer. There was little he did not know of about the life of this talented aristocrat, and quoted many passages of Byron’s poetry with great feeling and understanding. (She Walks in Beauty) he took great trouble to explain to me the meanings and subtleties of details in certain passages of his work (Stanzas composed during a thunderstorm) along with many interesting details of the period.  I also discovered on this trip that Dave Allen and Lord Byron shared a common interest in Roman History and David explained many aspects of Roman life to me, that I am ashamed to confess (due to my Roman /Tuscan ancestry) I was totally ignorant of.
To this day, I still remember vividly when David took me out into the grounds, and showed me the statue that Byron had built especially for his favourite dog that died “A just tribute to the Memory of  “Boatswain,” a Dog’. To my surprise he recited the entire poem (one of Byron’s most famous) without fault, almost bringing me to tears by the sincerity of his sensitive delivery.
During this walk about inside the main house, David noticed a portrait of Lord Byron wearing a Greco- Roman type of cavalry helmet and commented that I looked a little like Byron.

Helmet of Lord Byron

So the kind Curator took down the helmet and placed it on my head. The entire group was totally amazed by my likeness to Byron.
It was while we walked around the grounds, that he created the germ of an idea of several sketches based on the Bronte story of “Wuthering Heights”. Using the two central characters in the sad and romantic story Heathcliff and Cathy, as mainspring to a number of hilarious sketches.
To my surprise about a year later while watching his new TV series, I saw the very idea he had created at Newstead on the screen. It became one of his most popular.
His TV series “Dave Allen at Large” ran from 1971 to 1973 and was one of my personal favourites among others. In 1997 the “The Unique Dave Allen” hit our screens, again to more popular and critical acclaim, from his devoted fans and a new generation of young comedy lovers discovering his magic for the first time.
One of his trademarks was simply to sit on a stool drinking a glass of champagne and tell stories to his captivated audience, and his popular catch phrase at the end of his performances, was “May your God go with you.”

In recognition of his immeasurable contribution to comedy. In 1996 Dave Allen was awarded  “The Lifetime Achievement for Comedy” at the prestigious British Comedy Awards ceremony in London.

He is a man that is interested in all that is around him, observing things most of us cannot see. This is a very useful talent, especially now that now he devotes much of his free time to his another love “painting”.
He took up oil painting several years ago, teaching himself everything he had to know, and has energetically pushed himself and his standards to a very acceptable and proficient level, impressing me by his dedication, application to detail and brilliant use of colour.
I forgot to say that during our relationship, David discovered that I am also a painter and we both share the same enthusiasm for this visual art form and i beleive I helped to encourage him to take up the brush, after he had taken one of my works to a prestigious gallery near London.
At the present time his unique style and ideas on comedy, are imitated by many others, but in my opinion, not with the sense of class and integrity that he brought to his work. I have yet to see a programme that matches the humour, the quality and wit of my dear friend Dave Allen.
On a personal note everyone knows that Dave Allen lacks a part of his finger. The reason is shrouded in mystery Dave Allen style. He tells a different story to many nosy people. It has become a compulsive secret similar to “what does a Scotsman wear under his kilt?”

I spoke on he phone to Dave about 6 weeks before he passed away, he appeared in good spirits and there was no hint of anything amiss, so I was shocked when his passing was announced on TV.  We sadly miss this great, warm- hearted man, loved by millions.

It is written somewhere that he wanted to have inscribed on his tombstone the lines:
Don’t mourn for me now

Mourn for me never

I’m going to do nothing
For ever and ever.

To you David, cheers. “May your God go with you.” 

Dario Poli

Composer, artist, and a published author and illustrator. He is initiator of the campaign to present a better image Internationally, of Marbella and the Costa del Sol. Composer of the music "Marbella Marbella" used as the anthem of the campaign and also many other recorded compositions including Nostradamus, and Corazon, for The Children for Peace Onlus charity in Rome as well as the co-author of the powerful musical drama Lady X and The Power of Destiny. He is also the editor and a founder member of this website.

More Posts - Website

Disclaimer: The views, opinions and positions expressed within this guest article are those of the author alone and do not represent those of the Marbella Marbella website. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with the author.


What did you think of this article?

The latest ideas for you to check out

The latest hits for you to check out