The Language Of The Two Ronnies Comedy

Essay by xHMxCollege, UndergraduateA, April 2005

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This project will focus on the comedy of The Two Ronnies. Ronnie Corbett and Ronnie Barker are a comedy double act who came to fame after appearing on the Frost Report (1966) in various sketches performed with John Cleese. It was while working on the Frost Report that the name the Two Ronnies was coined. Many of the sketches were written by Barker himself under the pseudonym Gerald Wiley.

The two men are famed for their unique use of the English language. This usage is evident in all the sketches I will be analysing.


In the course of this investigation I intend to analyse three sketches by The Two Ronnies to discover how they manipulate language to create humour. I will focus, in particular, on phonetic and semantic features.


The data I will be using consists of three transcripts of sketches, one of which I obtained from Ronnie Barker's book 'All I Ever Wrote.'

(Pismonuncers Unanimous) The second I obtained from the internet. (The Four Candles Sketch) The third I transcribed myself from a television recording. (The Mastermind Sketch).


I will break the data analysis down into four linguistic areas: Phonology (For phonetic symbols see appendix 1. For phonemic transcription see appendix 2), Semantics, Cohesion and Other Relevant Linguistic Features. I will analyse each sketch in turn, studying in detail all the areas I have mentioned above. After I have looked at all three in depth I will then compare them and draw my conclusions from the comparisons.