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Legacy of laughter

RIP: 1926 – 2010

When I heard a montage of Airplane comedy quotes on BBC Radio 4 Today Programme this morning, I knew it could only mean one of two things. The anniversary of Airplane and the release of a box set for Christmas or Mr. Leslie Wiliam Nielsen had died.

I’m a child of the 80s. My list of 80s nostalgia would not be complete with out reminiscing about Airplane! When you think about Airplane you cannot not think of Leslie Nielsen. For me he is the personification of the comedic silver fox.

Mr. Nielsen’s films are my not so guilty pleasure. From childhood to adulthood, if I happened to be lying on the sofa on a weekend flicking the TV remote and saw there was a Bob Hope, Steve Martin or Leslie Nielson TV programme or film on, I knew what time it was. Time to chill, relax and laugh. As cheesy as the jokes were, it was all in the delivery.

Leslie Nielsen was one of the people that introduced me to the power of comic timing, delivery and play on words to create comedy. Like a lyricist, or a real Hip Hop MC like KRS One and Jay-Z once you mastered an understanding of words and language, you can then play with their meaning for comedic and dramatic effect to share a story or trigger a laugh.

Leslie Nielsen was one of my favourite straight faced comics. The humour was sophisticatedly stupid – even when the jokes weren’t funny he mastered the art of delivering them in such a stupid way, you had to laugh….or at the very least, groan.

Surely, that humour can be described as nothing more than emotional. Thanks for the laughs…