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Laughter keeps you young

A SENSE of humour is one of life's great blessings.

There's nowt like a laugh to make you feel better.

I'm eternally grateful to Ken Dodd, Frankie Howerd, Tommy Cooper and Dave Allen - among many more - for tickling my chuckle muscles over the years.

I reckon they've lengthened my life and kept me young.

In this po-faced, pious and pretentious age, their talents are needed more than ever.

But with mockery, mickey-taking, camp humour, irreverence and satire now more or less outlawed, it's hard to see how they would make a living.

So many of their jokes would now be considered off-limits, that it's inconceivable that Frankie Howerd's oohing and aaahhing, poofery and pee-taking would get past the self-appointed censors of the PC Brigade.

Les Dawson's 'sexist' mother-in-law jokes would be beyond the pale. Larry Grayson's pouting and prancing would upset the LGBTQ lobby. Bernard Manning's race jokes would be deemed 'hate crimes'. Dick Emery's entire repertoire would probably land him in the Scrubs.

And how would Allen's merciless ridicule of the Roman Catholic Church go down at a time when other faiths feel under fire?

Unseen forces are not only undermining free speech, they're also outlawing laughter. If we don't watch out, we'll enter a new age of Cromwellian puritanism, with humour proscribed as heresy and jesters given jail time.

In defiance of the killjoys, I give you Having a Laugh, a drawing whose only purpose is to raise a smile.

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