Dave Allen (comedian)

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"Dave Allen" redirects here. For other people of that name, see David Allen
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Dave Allen

David Tynan O'Mahoney (July 6, 1936March 10, 2005), better known as Dave Allen, was an Irish comedian, popular in Britain in the 1970s. His act was typified by a very relaxed, intimate style - he would sit on a chair, smoking and holding a glass of whiskey - and would often make jokes about the Catholic church. Along with his seated stand-up routines, his television shows were interspersed with sketch comedy. He had quite an impact on British comedy, and influenced many contemporary British comedians, such as Mark Thomas [1] (http://www.unesco.org/courier/1999_05/uk/dires/txt1.htm).


Life before and after television

Born in Tallaght, Dublin, Ireland, the son of Cully Tynan O'Mahoney, managing editor of the Irish Times, he left school aged 16 and followed his father into journalism. He joined the Drogheda Argus as a copy-boy, and went to London aged 19. He drifted through a series of jobs before becoming a Butlins Redcoat at Skegness and hosting pop music shows. He changed his surname to Allen because so few people could pronounce "O'Mahoney" correctly. In 1964 he married actress Judith Stott, whom he met in Australia. The marriage ended in divorce in 1983. Their son, Ed Allen, is also a comedian.

Allen lost the tip of one finger in a car accident. His hobbies included painting; his first exhibition, Private Views, was held in Edinburgh in 2001.

Comedic history

Allen had his first television appearance as the host of the BBC talent show New Faces in 1959. In 1961 he toured England and France with a then-unknown band called The Beatles, and toured South Africa in 1962 with Sophie Tucker, whom he described as "one of the most charming and delightful performers with whom I have ever worked". While on tour in Australia in 1963 he accepted an offer to headline a talk show, Tonight with Dave Allen, still considered one of the most successful shows in that country.

Allen returned to Britain in 1964 and made a variety of appearances on ITV, including The Blackpool Show, Val Parnell's Sunday Night at the London Palladium and The Val Doonican Show. In 1967 Allen hosted his own comedy/chat series Tonight with Dave Allen which earned him the Variety Club's ITV Personality of the Year Award. The show ran for two years. He signed up with the BBC in 1969 and appeared on The Dave Allen Show, a variety/comedy sketch series. This was followed by Dave Allen at Large (1971-1981), which introduced his trademark solo joke-telling-while-sitting-on-a-stool-drinking routine, and Dave Allen (1981-1990). In 1993 he moved back to ITV where he starred in their own version of Dave Allen, which was to be his final regular television series.

Other television work

Allen made several documentaries, including Dave Allen in the Melting Pot 1969, In Search of the Great Eccentrics 1974 and Eccentrics at Play 1974. He also had a successful stage career. In 1972 he starred in The Royal Court's production of Edna O'Brien's play A Pagan Place, and appeared as both Mr. Darling and Captain Hook in the London Coliseum's production of Peter Pan.


Towards the end of his life, Allen was forced to give up both his cigarettes and excess alcohol, both of which he enjoyed on his television appearances in the 1970s. He passed away suddenly, but peacefully in his sleep on 10 March, 2005.

External links

Template:Livedpl:Dave Allen


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