How tragic it is to achieve one's potential
I was thinking about Cook recently, mainly because the absurd list of top British comedians missed him entirely and I was thinking about writing about him. Like most of my planned posts, it hasn't come to fruition, mainly because words (or at least, my words) seem inadequate and painfully useless when it comes to writing about a man for whom the much-overused phrase 'comic genius' is an understatement. It's interesting to hear about how some of his creations came to be, and the story of his life with all its ups, downs and empty bottles is interesting enough, but its his words we pay attention to and you can find many of them in Tragically I Was An Only Twin.
The one omission from the documentary was any mention of one of Cook's final pieces of work. From the documentary, one would assume that the edition of Clive Anderson Talks Back where he played a series of characters, all being interviewed by Anderson ('motication, motivation, motivation - the three Ms'), was his final major work when it was actually followed by the even funnier collaboration with Chris Morris, Why Bother?. But then Morris is notoriously reluctant to give interviews and especially to appear on TV as himself, not as a character, so it would probably have been hard to feature it, as Why Bother? was created entirely by Morris and Cook, mostly in improvisation as well.
I'm sure I've said this here before, but if you haen't heard it, then go out and get hold of a copy right now (Amazon appear to have it on offer at the moment). Cook's in some of his finest improvisational form, but Morris is an active part of the creative process, not just letting Cook run on with material but playing through it with him, asking the questions that lead it to new dimensions of surreality. Apparently, the final product (5 10 minute shows) was edited down from several hours of original material. I'm sure there's quite a lot of dud (though not Dud) material in there, but it would be interesting to hear should it still exist and someone be willing to release it.