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|Comic Austin Knight (right) poses with fomer light-heavyweight world champion John Conteh at a recent show prior to the British Open. (Courtesy Austin Knight)|
UK comedian Austin Knight was not your typical class clown. Just entertaining his peers with dead-on impressions of teachers wasn't enough for him, so he quickly branched out.
While still a student, Knight traveled with an act called the "Brooklyn Clowns," where the group worked on new and impressive versions of the old pie-in-the-face routine. Then, at just 16, he took his shot at standup at a local pub. The reverberations of that bomb can still be heard, some say.
But such is the path for most comedians, and Knight wasn't deterred, eventually winning a "Search for a Star" competition at Blighty's cabaret club at Farnworth, which propelled him on to greater success in the 1970s' cabaret boom. Performing with such stars as Neil Sedaka, Lulu, Martha Reeves and many others, Knight found his place in the European comedy scene and has never wavered.
Currently the author of a humorous weekly newspaper column 'Life With Austin,' Knight has become a popular comedian for events for such English sporting clubs as Manchester United, as well as becoming the fashionable choice for as entertainment at many golf events.
The busy Knight took some time out from his hectic schedule of humoring to talk with WorldGolf.com about his work at golf events, as well as give the lowdown of some of the funniest - and best golfing - athletes and entertainers in the UK.
Question: How do you end up working golf-related events?
Austin Knight: Organizers generally contact me directly, or book me through a reputable agent. I speak at copious amounts of company golf days, both in the UK and abroad. Another aspect is the annual golf club dinner, where I might sometimes perform with a celebrity sporting speaker.
Q: How does golf get incorporated into your act?
Austin Knight: Any prize-giving ceremony gives me the names of a whole bunch of targets in the audience, I play on the differing idiosyncrasies of each character and tailor my speech accordingly to include as many folk as I can. There are so many genuine characters to both lampoon, or alternatively congratulate on their personal game that day. Moreover, a few unexpected and funny events normally take place out on the course, which I will embroider and blow up out of all proportion to get a good laugh.
Comedy is just like the game of golf itself in that respect, its easier if you possess a bit of 'local knowledge', if you see what I mean.
Q: Do you golf yourself? How well or poorly?
Austin Knight: I play military golf. Left - Right - Left - Right, anywhere but straight down the fairway! I adore the golf jargon as well, such as a 'Ryanair', which means "It didn't land where I thought it was going to".
Q: In the UK, what do people have a better sense of humor about, football or golf?
Austin Knight: They are probably both on a par, the humor would always centre on how lousy the particular game was played. Some of the more serious golfers can be very competitive. On one particular game I recollect, a guy took a six-foot putt on the green and the ball stopped on the rim of the hole, with just a single blade of grass preventing it from dropping in. His opponent wouldn't have any of it and told him to put a marker down, which he dutifully did. Upon completing this task, the marker fell in the hole!
Q: Which comic or celebrity that you know in the UK is the best golfer or athlete?
Austin Knight: Bruce Forsyth and Jimmy Tarbuck spring immediately to mind, but on the sporting speaker side, virtually everyone plays.
Q: Which golfer or athlete is the best comic?
Austin Knight: John Conteh is hilarious, so is Steve Kindon. The actual game itself is a vehicle for laughs, especially when things start going wrong, which they generally do!
August 24, 2006
William K. Wolfrum keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation. You can follow him on Twitter @Wolfrum.
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