5 Years since the Passing of a True Comedy Genius – Laurie Rowley

Laurie Rowley was probably the only bingo caller in history to become famous for writing incredible comedy sketches for countless shows in England. Today, we mark 5 years from his passing, so we thought it would be a nice idea to tell you a bit about this man’s work. Read our post and, if you are not familiar with Laurie Rowley’s work, try to find it on YouTube. You will undoubtedly have a great laugh.


A true talent

Laurie Rowley was born on July 30th, 1941 and spent much of his childhood in Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire. He was a true comedy genius, having written sketches and other material for some of the best shows and comedians in Britain, including Alan Smith & Jones, Two Ronnies, Clive Anderson, Not the Nine O’clock News, Spitting Image, Hale & Pace, Scotch and Wry and countless others.

But things weren’t always so great for Laurie. He couldn’t find his place before he started doing comedy, as he tried being a shopkeeper, a magician, a bowling alley manager, a show-fitter and even a bingo caller. Reports say that he was pretty good as a bingo caller, much better than he was as a cartoonist (he tried that too), but it just wasn’t for him.

Somewhere he belonged

It all started to work out for Laurie Rowley after he won Punch’s caption competitions. He made an attempt to get his cartoons published in the same magazine, but they were largely ignored in favor of his amazing writing aptitude. His career really kicked off in the 70s, when Radio 2 kept sending him commissions on a regular basis.

He started making comedy history with his sketches on the Not The Nine O’clock news. The one which satirizes the portrayal of competitive darts players must be mentioned whenever one talks about that period of his career. During the 90s he spent most of his time as a consultant and script editor, but he found time to write a few original pieces as well. However, he did find time to write a drama show for Five, named “Hospital!”. If you have ever seen “Airplane!” and liked it, you are going to enjoy “Hospital!” as well. On August 16th, 2009, Laurie Rowley was taken out of the game by a fatal heart attack. This was one bingo caller who was a true comedy genius and who will forever remain in our minds and hearts.

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One thought on “5 Years since the Passing of a True Comedy Genius – Laurie Rowley

  1. How lovely to come across & read your blog! Laurie was my father, and I still miss him terribly. I had some great memories of my fathers time as a bingo caller.My uncle owned the bingo halls he worked at, one in Headingly, Leeds, and the other in Batley. Dad had a young family at that time, working as an Electrician in the day, and then in the Bingo Halls on an evening. He always was a hard worker, and had a tremendous ability to make people laugh. But we never imagined he had such a hidden talent for writing, and boy did he do well for himself considering he left school at 15!
    Thank you for writing such a nice tribute. That was really nice of you.
    Jo Bolton.

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