After listening to some of Dick Pearce’s recollections of Ronnie Scott’s jokes at the Jazznights gig at Clare last Sunday, we have found an interesting website which recounts some of Ronnie’s quips. For example:
When the drink/driving legislation was introduced the equipment used by the police was known as "a breathalyser". Any driver suspected of being over the alcohol limit was required to blow into a bag where the alcohol level would be checked. Ronnie used to send patrons on their way at the end of the evening with the warning:
Before you leave the police have asked me to remind you that ‘breathalyser tests are now in operation’….. So if you’re thinking of drinking and driving tonight…….don’t breathe…
Fellow musicians were always likely to be the butt of Ronnie’s jokes. The ‘Melody Maker’, a weekly musical newspaper, used to hold an annual readers poll where readers were invited to vote for their top musicians in many categories, including a separate category for each instrument. I remember a Jazz Couriers show in 1957 when Ronnie solemnly introduced the band members to the audience:
….on piano we have Terry Shannon…..his claim to fame is that in a recent readers poll carried out by one of our weekly musical comics, Terry tied for 12th place in the piano section… with Winifred Atwell (older readers will remember that Winifred Atwell, although a fine pianist, was a musical variety turn who used to play popular tunes in a ‘honky tonk’ style. Ronnie’s information though was factually correct – they both got 43 votes).
Even the club itself did not escape. The food served at the Club was not always to everyone’s liking and the decor became progressively worse, there was never a lot of cleaning or refurbishing during the clubs long tenure at Frith Street. Of the food Ronnie used to say, only half joking: "A thousand flies can’t be wrong." Then there was his often heard joke in which he would refer to the club as "just like home – filthy and full of strangers"
Further jokes can be seen at http://vzone.virgin.net/davidh.taylor/ronnie4.htm