10 great comedy dance clips

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Pete Shenton and Tom Roden (aka New Art Club) select their ten favourite comedy dances, including Morecambe and Wise, Ricky Gervais in 'The Office', Danny Kaye and Monty Python

  • 10 great comedy dance clips

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  • Morecambe & Wise

    ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ (1976)

    Gene Kelly, eat your heart out. It rained… or rather, it didn’t. The idea of Ernie Wise splashing in non-existent puddles and Eric Morecambe’s policeman sticking his hand out to check for rain is one of the highlights of our childhood and something we only have to think of to produce our own puddles. Tom says it’s the only thing that both he and his dad think is funny.Watch clip Ricky Gervais

    ‘The Office’ (2002)

    It’s sad that someone with no previous choreographic experience could create something that us two idiots have been trying to do for the whole of our professional careers: create a dance that crosses into the mainstream.Watch clip

    Richard ‘Mr Pastry’ Hearne

    ‘The Lancers’ (1953)

    Another of those music hall odditities. It’s a man at a ball but he’s imagining the other guests. Just as there was no rain in the Morecambe and Wise dance, there are no dancing partners here. It’s remarkably postmodern. Apparently this was passed to Richard Hearne from his father in that old showbiz way – delightful.Watch clip David Pleat’s celebration of Luton beating Man City

    (1983)

    What a dance. This was the age of Gene Hunt, Ford Capris and Party Sevens, when men were men and footballers could drink anyone under the table. And here’s Pleat doing a funny little hop, skip, jump and air punch across a football pitch on a Saturday afternoon. Here’s a man who isn’t afraid to express himself through dance. Watch clip Wilson, Keppel and Betty

    ‘Cleopatra’s Nightmare’ (1933)

    Classic music hall nonsense. The archive film of Wilson, Keppel and Betty’s sand dance, a parody of Egyptian postures, is played out on practically every documentary on the music halls. But look at it carefully and you’ll realise it’s simple but ingenious choreography that uses unison and counterpoint. It’s ridiculous and beautiful and a precursor to our ownminimalist tendencies.Watch clip Michael Barrymore

    ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?’ (1995)

    Michael Barrymore sings ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?’ in front of the Queen’s Guard at the Royal Variety Peformance. Yeah, we know, we know, but it really is funny and camp as tits.Watch clip Danny Kaye

    ‘Choreography’ (1954)

    ‘The theatre, the theatre, what’s happened to the theatre? Especially where dancing is concerned,’ asks Danny Kaye in ‘White Christmas’. What’s happened is they’re ‘doing choreography’, and this simply wonderful set-piece must have been one of the first parodies of contemporary dance.Watch clip Monty Python

    ‘The Fish Slapping Dance’ (1972)

    Brilliant, even when you know what’s coming. I urge you to watch it on YouTube, again and again and again.Watch clip Donald O’Connor

    ‘Make ’Em Laugh’ (1952)

    Back to ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ and to Donald O’Connor doing ‘Make ’em Laugh’. The dancing is spectacular. When he flips the wall you think: Wow. And then he does it again and you think: Wow! The gag is held until the third time he does it and the sequence is worth watching over and over just for that moment alone.Watch clip The Featherstonehaughs

    ‘Strangers’ (1990)

    We thought we should finish with a proper dance company, and who better than Lea Anderson’s all-male troupe, The Featherstonehaughs, doing ‘Strangers in the Night’, which coupled the giraffe-like dancer Frank Bock with the tiny Rem Lee to simple but hilarious effect. People were literally falling off their seats in the theatre. Incredibly good.New Art Club’s ‘The Notcracker’' is at Artsdepot, Dec 19 and 20 (8369 5454/artsdepot.co.uk).

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