Flanders and Swann

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The purpose of satire, it has been rightly said, is to strip away the blanket of comforting illusion and cozy half-truth with which we surround ourselves. And our job, as I see it, is to put it back again.
—Michael Flanders At The Drop Of Another Hat

Michael Flanders and Donald Swann, who co-wrote and performed comic songs in the 1950s and 1960s. Unusually for the time neither performer stood during their shows, Swann being seated at the piano and Flanders confined to a wheelchair by polio (contracted in service during World War 2).

The two began their musical careers together at school but were drawn apart on the outbreak of the war. A chance meeting in 1948 led them to begin writing comic songs for other performers to sing before they decided to start performing for themselves in a show titled At The Drop Of A Hat. After touring worldwide they returned to Britain to open their new show At The Drop Of Another Hat and recorded a number of songs not heard in either show.

In 1967 they ceased touring together but remained friends until Flanders' death in 1975.


Flanders and Swann provides examples of the following tropes:

Flanders: And tonight, by way of encouragement attendants will be passing among you. With rawhide whips.

We were never able to come up with a rhyme for "Khrushchev" until he'd gone: "Did he fall, or was he pusch off?"

Swann: I omitted eight verses!