Benny Hill (real name Alfred Hawthorne Hill, 1924-1992) was a prolific English comic, actor, and singer best known for his television programme The Benny Hill Show.
His on-screen persona was as a skirt-chasing Dirty Old Man, and there was much Fan Service. Some of his humour today walks into the sexist, which has affected his reputation, although the women involved with his shows have denied that they were sexist. That said, when non-Britons are speaking of British comedy genius, Hill is often mentioned in the same breath as, say, Monty Python. This mystifies many Brits, and the series is rarely repeated in his home country. His novelty record One-Hit Wonder "Ernie, the Fastest Milkman in the West" does get more play, though, and his shows are available on DVD.
In the mid-noughties there was a TV show entitled Is Benny Hill Still Funny? in which a cross-section of the British public, most of whom were too young to have seen his original broadcasts, were shown a selection of his sketches and asked the eponymous question. The consensus was "Yes".
The ending song of The Benny Hill Show was "Yakety Sax" by Boots Randolph, an infamous Ear Worm if there ever was one. Endlessly parodied, if there's a nonsensical Chase Scene (or anything, really), play Benny Hill!
Most of his comedy is visual, which typically leads to good video sales worldwide. No translation needed for the most part, especially for the pretty girls in colourful dresses.
- Who Done It? (1956)
- Light Up the Sky! (1960)
- Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (1965)
- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)
- The Italian Job (1969)
- Burlesque/Vaudeville: His comedy incorporates elements from the British versions.
- The Cameo: He appeared in the 1986 video for "Anything She Does" by Genesis.
- Chase Scene: Once Per Episode, if not more often.
- Dirty Old Man: One of his most prominent screen personas.
- Double Entendre: A common feature of his comedy.
- Fan Service: In industrial job lots.
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff: As noted in the main text, the British can't understand why he is regarded as a comic genius by foreigners.
- Memetic Hand Gesture: The signature open-palmed British Army salute of Hill's character Fred Scuttle.
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