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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 September 2005, 15:07 GMT 16:07 UK
Ken Dodd 'tickled' by Shakespeare
Ken Dodd
How tickled Doddy is to talk about Shakespeare
Comedian Ken Dodd has told audiences at Stratford on Avon how tattifilarious he finds William Shakespeare.

The Bard of Knotty Ash gave a talk entitled A Fellow of Infinite Jest as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company's Laugh In festival.

Doddy maintains that we laugh about the same things that amused our ancestors.

"It's about men and women and thingy - sex - you know, and kings and queens and politicians and bishops. It's all the same," he said.

"Mind you, he wasn't a gag man, William. Me, I'm an eyes and teeth man. But he had wonderful characters. He was absolutely amazing, supernatural."

William Shakespeare
Shakespeare: as tattifilarious as Diddy Men

Ken made his Shakespearian stage debut as Malvolio in Twelfth Night in Liverpool in 1971 and starred as Yorick in Kenneth Brannagh's film version of Hamlet in 1997.

He also revealed he borrowed the idea for his famous tickling stick from jesters of old, and highlighted similarities between his Diddy Men and Shakespeare's clowns.

"People like me, we didn't even get the title of clowns. We were called rude mechanicals."

Comedians, academics, comic book writers, "lads' mags", charities and hip-hop artists are taking part in the four-day festival, which explores the Bard's approach to comedy.

The editorial team of cult comic Viz will take part in a debate entitled Why Are Chavs Funny? about Shakespeare's "lower orders".

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