"It was the way he told them"

Tribute to the late Frank Carson

Comedian Frank Carson
Comedian Frank Carson

Jimmy Cricket has paid a warm and glowing tribute to fellow comedian and great friend Frank Carson who died this week aged 85.

Frank, who like Jimmy was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, passed away on Wednesday after battling ill health for some time.

Famous for his comic sayings “it’s a cracker” and “it’s the way I tell ’em”, Frank rose to prominence in the 60s after winning Opportunity Knocks.

He leaves a wife, Ruth, daughter Majella and sons Tony and Aidan, and 10 grandchildren.

Belfast City Council has opened a book of condolence in Frank’s memory.

Jimmy said: “There are some comedians who can read a telephone directory and make it sound funny. Frank was one of them. His inflection of voice, facial expressions and delivery could make the oldest gags seem fresh and hilarious.

“He was quite inspirational to the likes of me. I saw him leave Northern Ireland and make it big in the UK and this motivated me to do the same.

“I actually headed for Liverpool and presented myself at the office of his then agent, Ernie Mack. He gave me a warm welcome but explained I needed experience. He then rang his star comedian and asked him there and then to have a word with me.

"'Unstoppable enthusiasm"
"Unstoppable enthusiasm"

“Frank said: ‘Try and work every night, even if it’s for nothing. That way you’ll polish up your jokes by putting a word in here and leaving a word out there.’

“Looking back now on that telephone conversation 45 years on, I now see it was a masterclass on how to be a stand-up comedian. When it was over I said: ‘Well Frank, thanks for your advice.’ He said: ‘It’s not advice you want, it’s money!’

“Frank was one of the funniest comedians there ever was both on and off the stage. He spent his life cheering people up and his enthusiasm was unstoppable. He lit up every room he went into.

“He could do his act in a hotel, chat to everybody until two in the morning and be the first one up for breakfast.

“His was a tireless fundraiser for worthy causes and one of his proudest possessions was the Order of the Knighthood of St Gregory. This was bestowed on him by Pope John Paul II in recognition of his work for charity.

“Like a singer has hit tunes, Frank had hit jokes that people wanted to hear over again.

“Because quite simply it was the way he told them.”

* Pay your own tribute to Frank using our comment form below.

Top entertainers: Frank Carson with Jimmy Cricket, Paul Daniels, Cannon and Ball, and the Krankies
Frank Carson with Jimmy Cricket, Paul Daniels, Cannon and Ball, and the Krankies

15 thoughts on “Tribute to the late Frank Carson

  1. Lovely tribute Jimmy
    really remember you from Butlins 1989 and Clacton ..you really made me laugh
    Good memories..

    I only saw Frank on tv..and he made me Laugh
    this is a lovely tribute

    God bless you

    Love & light
    Tracy

  2. Dear Frank and I worked together many, many times, mostly on the Butlin camps where Frank was very popular and always successful on the Sunday Variety Shows and the Midnight Cabaret’s.You will never be forgotten. God bless you mate and rest in peace.

  3. Wonderful tribute Jimmy. I never met Frank in real life. But he sure made me laugh on screen. A sad loss indeed. God rest him. I am sure he has them laughing loudly in heaven.

  4. Spent a whole day with Frank at a charity Celebrity golf day on the Isle of Man, it was an hilarious day that still lives with me. In the evening there was a charity dinner including many celebs (Sir Norman Wisdom, Jasper Carrott, the grumbleweeds. Mike Hallet the pro Snooker player, too many Pro footballers to mention and Frank Carson). We played a game of stand up bingo and the girl who was last standing was invited up to collect her winning prize (a week at Sandals in the Carribean) from Frank Carson. Well Frank got up and as soon as the mic was in his hand he went into overdrive after 15 minutes of standing there next to Frank who was in hilarious fine form and still not in possession of her prize the lady sat down, eventually the compare took the mic off Frank and invited the lady back up, Frank went to walk off, the compare called him back, the lady still there, Frank picks up the mic again and he was straight back into his routine including putting down ‘heckles’ from J Carrott esq lol. The lady eventually got her prize but not before we had the most amazing ‘free show’ from an amazing comedian… Fondly remembered…

  5. God bless “frank” you did the best,I met you last year 2011-your show of Jest,
    You came by car it did breaketh down,yet you arrived and were “The Best in Town”,
    We fondely chatted after the show-about the real variety artistes,who did A Show,
    Now your at rest..Memorys will live on,you were a friend to many Sad you are gone.
    Thankyou and your family for sharing your “Talents” with many,and all your charity work.
    David alan

  6. A lovely tribute to Frank, Jimmy. Do you remember when we both worked with him at the Opera House, Blackpool in 1988? He was a kind, funny man who never said a bad word about anybody.

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