Valerie Harper RIP: A real star from the heyday of tv comedy

Valerie Harper, star of the Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rhoda

It’s funny how a death can bring back happy memories.

But when I heard that the actress Valerie Harper had died, my mind went back to the sixties and to thoughts of how much we enjoyed, and laughed at, the Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rhoda.

They were as innocent as you get. But funny, two things much of today’s comedy isn’t.

Don Adams, the star of Get Smart

Oh there is some great comedy about no mistake. Derry Girls, Young Offenders and a few others are keeping the ribs tickled. But there’s some terrible dross about, shouty offensive dross. And when I say offensive it’s coming from someone who can tell jokes that would make your brain itch they’re so offensive.

But today, there’s stuff around that’s offensive – and worse still, not funny.

Ed Asner starred in the classic comedy, Lou Grant

The Rowan and Martin Laugh in with, among others Goldie Hawn, broke new ground in its day.

And even if you move across the Atlantic to Britain, more than a quarter of a century ago it gave us classics like Yes Minister, Are You Being Served, Fawlty Towers, Keeping Up Appearances, Porridge, The Good Life, Steptoe and Son, ‘Allo “Allo, Til Death Us Do Part and others.

Now? Yeh, there are a few. But – and I wonder if we can blame climate change – the crop of good, really funny sitcoms is sparse these days.

They put on programmes now which are billed as comedy but are deeply unfunny.

Sometimes I think, they’re laughing behind our backs.

Three BBC Classics

1 thought on “Valerie Harper RIP: A real star from the heyday of tv comedy

  1. gerryfloyd

    Loved MTM and Rhoda. Too many comics today trying to tooo hardbe funny. Went to Ken Goodwin in the IoM inthe early 80s. Childish jokes had the Villa Marina in stitches. Some woman left her choppers behind.


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