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Dave Allen (1936-2005) was an Irish comedian known for his relaxed and charming style of descriptive, obersvational humor. With a penchance for highlighting political and religious hypocrisy, he become a popular and controversial comedian during the 1980s and early 90s with a lasting influence on young comedians of that era.
Here is Dave Allen on death and Irish funeral traditions, a sketch from The Dave Allen Show which begins with the comedian’s signature setup of conversation on a barstool and6 ending with a brilliant race to the cemetery by the pallbearers of two competing funerals:
Some great lines from the sketch:
A very important part of the Irish way of life is death.
If anybody else in the world dies, that’s the end of it; they’re dead. But in Ireland, when somebody dies, we lay ’em out and watch ’em for a couple days. It’s called a wake. It’s a great – it’s a party, it’s a sendoff. And the fellow is laid out on the table, and there’s drinking and dancing and all the food you can eat. And all your friends come from all over the place, and they all stand around the wake table and look at you with a glass in their hands, and they say, “Here’s to your health!”
The terrible thing about dying over there is that you miss your own wake. It’s the best day of your life – you’ve paid for everything, and you can’t join in! Mind you, if you did, you’d be drinking on your own.