Songs of Bliss
"These days you have to stay in shape. My mother-in- law started walking five miles
a day when she was sixty. She's ninety-seven now and I have no idea where she is…"
Polite but restrained laughter.
The comic sweats under the spotlights, his shiny gray suit starting to show signs of
dampness around the armpits. He mops his brow with a handkerchief. One liners are his
stock in trade, mostly borrowed from other, preferably dead, comedians.
Four seconds. Silence.
Ted Line, resident compere at Snuggle's Cabaret Bar, ploughs on.
"I remember the first time I had sex... I kept the receipt".
Ted can't remember the last time he had sex. He's in freefall without a parachute,
exposed and wounded, but Ted is a trouper and sticks to his script. Forged in the furnace of
light entertainment, blending a vaguely remembered youthful enthusiasm and a brief
middle aged flirtation with the bright lights of television, Ted is like Excalibur; wet and
In a former life he was the straight half of Bread and Line, a comedy duo in the
mould of Morecambe and Wise or the Smothers Brothers, whose main claim to fame was
that their combined earning power was reflected directly in their amusing stage soubriquet.
The duo were asked to do a pilot for the BBC in the seventies but they were not asked back
to do a series. Lenny Bread gave his last performance seven years ago, falling off a stage in
Lowestoft mid way through a blonde joke. It was the funniest thing he'd ever done.
Lenny left Ted without an act. Prior to turning up on the doorstep at Snuggle's
Cabaret Bar, Ted's solo career had peaked with a brief round of sombre interviews and one
slot on a Channel 4 list program. Lenny, the funny man, lives on ambrosia with the great
mother- in- law in the sky, while the straight man lives in a bed-sit in Barnstaple, on the
North Devon coast, and keeps the punters from killing themselves in between acts of
incredible bravado or, as is often more likely, awesome stupidity. Snuggle's Cabaret Bar is
a tiny universe full of star struck kids and failed contenders.