Linda Smith

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Linda Smith (25 January 195827 February 2006) was a British stand-up comic and comedy writer.

Sourced[edit]

  • My favourite ever headline was "Worksop Man Dies Of Natural Causes". (QI, Episode B.11)
  • People knock ASBOs but you have to bear in mind they are the only qualification some of these kids are going to get.
    • Angella Johnson's obituary to Linda, pages 38–39 of The Mail on Sunday, 5th March 2006.
  • As Linda drifted in and out of consciousness, her fellow comedian Mark Steel noticed Joan Collins on the television. “I was on a chat show with Joan Collins,” he told fellow comedian Andy Hamilton. “How old is she?” Hamilton asked. “I think she must be close to 75,” replied Steel. From beneath the pile of bedclothes a little voice piped up: “How much is that in human years?”
    • Sunday Times, 11 November 2007
  • (On her home town:) Erith isn't twinned with anywhere but it does have a suicide pact with Dagenham.
    • Obituary in The Independent by Mark Steel 1 March 2006
A Brief History of Timewasting[edit]
  • [Of a recipe for Chilli Con Carne] English people may like to substitute a sponge cake at this point. (Series 1, Episode 6)
  • Gordon Jackson! (throughout)
Room 101[edit]
  • Paul Merton (on the subject of people wearing bow-ties): People wear bow-ties because it's show-business, isn't it? I mean there's Bernard Manning there. I mean, obviously he is in show-business, and Neil Hamilton desperately would like to be in show-business. But that's the idea isn't it?

Linda Smith: I don't really like you saying his name, because it gives him the oxygen of publicity and I'm not happy with him having the oxygen of oxygen. [1]

The News Quiz[specific citation needed][edit]
  • I sort of sympathise with them looking for weapons of mass destruction, because I'm like that with scissors. Honestly, I just turn the house upside down. Of course the difference is, I know I have got some scissors.
  • Piers Morgan who used to be editor of The Mirror. He's got a whole new career now, as the bloke who used to be editor of The Mirror.
  • Rugby is a game for men with no fear of brain injury.

Commenting on Jeffrey Archer's release from prison in 2003:

  • Another panellist (Clive Anderson) suggested, "Don't give him the oxygen of publicity". "I'm not that happy with him having the oxygen of oxygen, actually," Linda replied.
  • He's been released to the - I must say - somewhat cryogenic embrace of Mary. He went forth - a big great snog - and she just swerved in a way that none of our English Cricket Team are able to do. The message was loud and clear. You've heard this many times from prostitutes, Jeffrey. No kissing!

Commenting on construction contracts for the rebuilding of post-Saddam Iraq going to Dick Cheney's previous employer, Halliburton:

  • You should always book tradesmen by personal recommendation.

Commenting on a British politician, John Selwyn Gummer's infamous publicity stunt in 1990:

  • He force-fed his daughter with some mechanically recovered beef fragments [...] on TV to show there was no danger from BSE. [...] She's probably a teenager now. Most teenagers just irrationally hate their parents. You wouldn't want to be round their house of a Christmas: 'Let's watch that film, when you tried to kill me. Yes I would like a flat, thank you.'

Stand-up[edit]

  • People say 'Ooh, doesn't Lionel Blair look good for his age?' Well, no, not really – not unless he's about five hundred. Otherwise he looks like nothing more than an elaborately coiffured scrotum. (Packet of Three, Channel 4, 1991)
  • Maltesers have the less-fattening centre. Well, yes, but they are covered in chocolate! That's like saying 'I'll have a mineral water, please. Can you put some cubes of lard in it?' (Packet of Three, Channel 4, 1991)
  • [T]he train system is so chronic now, that any journey you undertake by train in Britain is identical to the one taken by Omar Sharif in Doctor Zhivago; that's what it's like - the same drama and misery. Ancient, knackered rolling-stock limping painfully across the land, shuddering to a halt for no apparent reason, with the lights flickering on and off; everyone running up and down - 'What's going on? What's up ahead? I don't know... Is it Rod Steiger with the White Guard?' - desperate women in headscarves running alongside the carriages, throwing their babies into the train, shouting 'I'LL NEVER SEE PURLEY OAKS, BUT MY CHILD MIGHT!' (Wrap Up Warm tour, May 2004)
  • And the Tories now with their pitiful relaunch - oh, Michael Howard, we're supposed to have forgotten him from before, because he's had this Trinny & Susannah makeover; and you imagine them with him, saying, 'We think you'll like what we've done, Michael, just have a little look in the mirror - oh no, you can't really, can you? We've stitched you a lovely little shadow on - we think you'll really like that'... Ann Widdecombe's confused us all by going blonde - I was watching Question Time for half an hour, thinking Christ - Sue Barker's slapped on a bit of weight! (Wrap up Warm tour, May 2004)
  • [A]nd between this top-quality programming are the most miserable adverts in the world – former Mancunian top cop John Stalker trying to sell you sun awnings; trying to get you to blot out every ray of light from the world for those in the grip of manic depression – 'Hello, I'm John Stalker. Are you, like me, tired of the pitiless glare of an English summer; maddened by the relentless gaze of cruel Helios; sick of lurking in your house all summer long, like a mad bloke in a siege situation - such as I would have dealt with in my high-flying career? Well, suffer no longer. Install Gloom Master sun awnings - summer bang to rights!' Terrible! Then it all gets worse with those terrible loan adverts. These awful, tragic, hollow-eyed wraiths come on, telling you these awful stories - 'I'm up to my eyes in debt, and, curiously, no reputable company would give me another loan! Then I discovered Dodgy Bastards. They've given me a million pounds, and all they want in return are my kidneys.' No, don't do it! And then - worse than that - the accident insurance adverts - 'Where there's blame, there's a claim' - when people who've had these accidents come on like mediaeval beggars, and wave their stumps at you for money with these outlandish stories - 'I slipped on a banana skin and successfully sued the Dominican Republic...' (Wrap up Warm tour, May 2004)
  • I do admire Van Gogh - I do think he was one of the greatest geniuses that ever lived. He did some very silly things. Top of the list, famously – after a row with Gaugin - absolutely ripped to the tits on absinthe – girlfriend had left him – so, he chopped his ear off and sent it to her. Do you think she came back? Do you think that did the trick? Hasn't really caught on, has it? For a start, you wouldn't try that trick today with our post, would you? Six months later, she'd be saying 'Ooh! a sun-dried tomato!' And what was he thinking? What was this girl going to do? Open up this package, fish out this lug, and go 'Ooh, Vinny! I thought you were all mad and driven and weird and a loner, and our relationship was doomed, and you go and do a lovely thing like this. Ooh, you know how to get round me. I SAID, YOU KNOW HOW TO GET ROUND ME!' (Wrap Up Warm tour, May 2004)
  • So that's my home town, and I come from a perfectly ordinary working-class family; and in fact, I didn't really meet middle-class people until I went to university. It was quite a shock, really. People were saying things like 'Well, I was always going to end up doing English, because I was brought up surrounded by books - brought up in a house full of books'; and I'd think 'Yes, so was I; but they were full of Green Shield stamps'. I suppose we could have swapped them for books, but we had our eye on a twin-tub.

I say ordinary, but there was one thing a little bit different about my family, in that my mum and dad were quite a bit older than people normally are when they start a family. And there was a downside to that, really. Well, for a start, all my friends' parents were just slightly older than them, and really trendy and dressed in cool clothes, and dropping them off at the bus and going 'Ciao!' I used to dream of 'Ciao!', because my mum's catchphrase on the bus was 'Thank you, driver'. (Wrap Up Warm tour, May 2004)

  • (On Ainsley Harriott) I must admit, I tend to think - with Ainsley - if you're that happy, you haven't really understood the world. You see, I think that cheeriness is all very well. Beyond a certain point it becomes quite offensive. And how many versions of what is, basically, your dinner can Ainsley do? There must be executives stalking the corridors of White City, thinking 'We need a new idea for Ainsley. He's so jolly. What can we have? We've had him doing Can't Cook, Won't Cook, Ready Steady Cook, Barbecues. We need something new, different, edgy. How about this? We like this. Ainsley's Death-Row Dinners.' Yes, the jolly chef tours the condemned man with a last supper to remember. We can have the recipes in the Radio Times - Ainsley's Humanely Fried Chicken, with a lethal injection of butter! - guaranteed to make the governor say 'Pardon'. (Wrap Up Warm tour, May 2004)
  • You can look at any painting ever done of Jesus over the centuries, and you can spot immediately that he's not English, 'cos he's very often shown wearing sandals, but never with socks. I think that would be an English Messiah's look, wouldn't it? - socks, sandals, khaki shorts skimming the knee, little Fair Isle slipover - in case it turns, 'cos it's deceptive, the desert - and I think, instead of all that camp and rather beautiful 'Oh Lord, why hast thou forsaken me?' business - instead of all that - I think he'd be up there trying to make the best of it - 'cos moping doesn't help, does it? I think he'd be up there going, 'Cor, here's a pretty pickle. No, I didn't do it either, but you don't like to say, do you?' (Wrap Up Warm tour, May 2004)
  • (On the prospect of Thatcher's death) Be serious - this is just a fantasy, because if she were killed, would it actually make any difference? Would things get any better? Course they wouldn't; don't kid yourself. They'd get worse, because she would become a martyr – this monetarist martyr - a cult figure, like Eva Peron. Can you imagine the televised funeral? There she'd be, laid out in a glass coffin, in the blue gear, the hair-do and all the rest of it. She'd be laying there just really life-like - just like she was in life - a bit warmer. It would be on the telly. You thought Winston Churchill was bad; you can imagine what this would be like. And then, of course, it wouldn't stop at that. There would be films - The Night Brighton Rocked. There'd be musicals. Tim Rice would be churning out the musicals about her life - Magita. There'd be Elaine Page belting out the big numbers: 'Don't Cry for Me, Barnet Finchley' (Token Women, 1984)
  • Oh God, the bed and breakfast! Why is it that British people can't cope with the idea of the paying guest? It's like you pay these people to stay there, but you try and act as inconspicuous as you possibly can. It's like no financial transaction's taken place. It's as though you've just imposed yourself off the street; and they think 'Who the fuck are you? You've not just paid me £25, have you, to stay here?' First you try the lounge – the TV lounge. Suddenly you are in Poland – martial law – because there's a curfew. You're watching a film; the telly goes off at 11.30; a bloke standing over you, shouting 'I've got to get up at six o'clock this morning. What time are you going to bed?' – 'All right, yes; we're going now; we're going now.' You go up to bed with a sinking heart, which sinks even further when you open the door and find – ughh! - the MAUVE CANDLEWICK BEDSPREAD! Now this is a bad sign, because it is now on the cards that you are going to open up that bed and find MAUVE NYLON SHEETS. You get in there, and it's like sleeping between two pieces of velcro. (Linda Live, 1986)
  • Turn for some crumb of comfort to the Labour Party? Forget it! The Labour Party seem to be packaging themselves like a pack of toilet paper, at the moment – sort of going for this pastel-politics look; this sort of Labour, Little Rose; a kind of tampon that uses the same logo, called 'Femmes'. Perhaps it would be even less socialist to call themselves Labs; Labies: 'Safe, strong, soft Neil Kinnock, absorbs all kinds of shit except socialism. Expands width-wise to include everybody.' (Linda Live, 1986)
  • For the Government, it is quite hard for them to find media faces – to find people to head up campaigns – because they are all so weird-looking, aren't they? They all look like Muppets who have been left too close to a radiator. I don't like to mock the afflicted, but how did anyone know that Willie Whitelaw had had a stroke? What genius spotted that? I mean, with most people it's quite a dramatic change, isn't it? But what happened? Someone thought 'Oh, Willie's dribbled an extra pint today. What's going on? We'll run a few tests'.
  • So, anyway, I think I'll go visit my nan: knock on the door; she's in the kitchen there, bottling up little gingham-top jars of racial hatred. So, I think 'Right, I'll avoid anything that's going to provoke her, because there's no point arguing with someone who, strictly speaking, isn't even alive. So I'll keep off anything controversial'. But you can forget that, because you just get this monologue. The line of logic is harder to follow than the plot of Finnegans Wake:

'Hello, Nan.'

'Hello, our Lin, it's lovely to see you. Come in. I hate blacks. Come in. Sit down. I'll make you a nice cup of tea, our Lin. I hate blacks. Come on in, our Lin. Would you like a nice piece of cake? I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I don't like black people.'

You think 'Oh Christ! Shut up! What can I do? What can I do to divert her from this monomania? Right, OK': 'Garden looks lovely, Nan.'

'Oh, yes, Lin; I like a bit of gardening - unlike black people, who I don't like at all.'

'I think it's gonna rain.'

'So do I, Linda, I also think President Botha should be running this country.' (Linda Live, 1988)

  • And another thing I like about cricket is, because most of the commentators apart from Boycott and Trueman are very old-worldy, they have an innocence and naïveté about them, that makes them sometimes say, in the course of their commentary, inadvertently rude things: 'Now we're at the start of play, and we're coming in to play; and the bowler's Holding, the batman's Willey'; 'Here we are, and we're about to commence play. And there's Simpson, in his usual position, standing with his legs wide open, at first slip, waiting for a tickle.' (Linda Live, 1993)
  • It'd be ludicrous, because the idea of the British Empire is such an outmoded idea. The British Empire now, if it were a being, would be living out its days in some sunshine home on the South Coast, wouldn't it? - boring the tits off everyone, shuffling around in oversize slippers, boring everyone with their press cuttings of when they were famous: 'Ooh look! ooh yes! I was very popular in the world once. Ooh yes! I went all over the world. Look, you see here; they loved me here - Sri Lanka. Of course, we used to call that Ceylon. Now, let me see; what have we here? Oh yes! they loved us there - Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe! Of course, we didn't call it Zimbabwe then. It was Rhodesia. Rhodesia, you see? And this; oh, this marvellous tour I had here - now what was it? India! India - what did we used to call that? Oh yes... Ours!' (Linda Live, 1993)
  • Sex and politics - sex and politicians. I never understand how any politician gets a shag, really. Can you? A classic example: the David Mellor sex scandal. I bet you're the same as me. We're not shocked by these scandals involving politicians. I bet when that happened, your response was not 'Good God, that's outrageous! A man in his job, he should be running the country, not messing about like this; no wonder we're in a state; terrible!' No, that wasn't the response. You open the paper, you read about that, and you go 'Ha ha ha ha - I don't think so, Dave! I don't think so. In your dreams, perhaps.' The interesting person in that relationship is not him; it's her - Antonia. A woman of mystery; a mystery woman. Antonia de Sancha, always described as an 'unemployed actress'. Unemployed actress? How's she an unemployed actress? God! if you can feign sexual interest in David Mellor, I should think Chekhov's a piece of piss. So, she thinks 'I'm an actress. It's a role. I'll prepare'. She gets to the bedroom situation. He's in a kit-off situation, and there's Antonia giving it 'Red lorry, yellow lorry - Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper'. But the hair - that's the main unattractive thing. What barber told him that suited him? Someone winding him up there. 'Yes, David, that'll suit you, mate: a greasy, oily flap of dirty-looking patent leather, wafting about down one side of your moosh; that'll drive those unemployed actresses mental!' (Linda Live, 1993)
  • Arms trade. If there was a legitimate trade, they'd sell those things - guns and bombs - in a supermarket. It would be like a cosmetics demonstration, and you'd have a little bit of shopping music in the background. And so, here's our arms trade demonstrator. 'Hello, and welcome to our new "Twilight of the World" range - our stunning new collection for nuclear winter. Now, for those persistent racial problems, why not try our new ethnic cleanser, "Pogrom"? Apply vigorously to the affected area, and then wipe off the face of the earth. For persistent outbreaks, to eliminate those last spots of resistance, why not try our new "I Can't Believe It's Not a Kalashnikov"? Go on, leaders, treat yourself. Tell yourself "I want it, I need it, I'll have it". Now, for those particularly sensitive areas, why not try our new range, "U.N."? It's entirely cosmetic; it does nothing. Apply half-heartedly with our new hand-wringing cream. Now, people often come up to me and say "Can you save my face?" Well, I can. So for those secret little deals - those secret little Iraqi liaisons - why not try "Embargo", the mark of the middleman? Now, for a touch of mystery, why not visit the "Missing Body Shop"? Collect your free nail remover and watch your problems disappear. Now, you're probably sitting there thinking "Oh, I'm such a hideous old blood-soaked dictator of a thing; nobody will deal with me". How wrong you are! We are sole suppliers to the US government of "Turn-a-Blind-Eye Liner" - use always in conjunction with "Oil of Kuwaiti", a touch of "Massacre" and blusher. Oh, you won't need that. I'm Marlene from the House of Charnel. Thank you for your time and patience. And for that finishing touch - for those romantic evenings when you really want to take the enemy out - why not try our stunning new nerve gas, "Paralyse" by Calvin Klein.' (Linda Live 1993)

External links[edit]

Video[edit]
Audio[edit]


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