George Harrison said that the spirit of Liverpool is to be a comedian. In the 1980s, it still felt “kind of like that.” Although many people thought it was not funny.
George Harrison | Sonia Moskowitz/IMAGES/Getty Images
In the mid-1960s, George became interested in spiritual matters. The media and fans were well aware of George’s spiritual interests. According to George, they started to think it wasn’t funny anymore.
The press dubbed him the “quiet Beatle,” but he would occasionally make a hilariously witty remark during interviews and other events. However, singing about religion seemed to mean you couldn’t have a sense of humor.
In Here Comes The Sun: The Spiritual And Musical Journey Of George Harrison, Joshua M. Greene quoted Apple employee Tony King, “When I first met George in 1963, he was Mister Fun, Mister Stay-Out -Out-All-Night. Then suddenly he found LSD and Indian religion and became very serious. Things went from happy weekends where we’d have steak and kidney pie and sit around laughing until to these rather serious weekends where everyone was happily walking around and talking about the meaning of the universe.”
During a 1987 interview, Creem Magazine noted to George, “You’re funny, too, and that’s funny, because all these years they thought you were so serious…” George replied, “Because I made them religious. songs three or four times.”
George was serious about his spiritual journey, but that didn’t mean he forgot to be funny. He added laughs at the end of “Within You Without You” as a “way to remind listeners not to take his pontificate seriously: seek God but don’t lose your sense of humor,” he seemed to admonish as much as his listeners..”
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George said he still had the spirit of the Liverpool comic
According to George, his comic spirit came from growing up in post-war Liverpool.
During a 1987 interview, BBC Breakfast asked George if he still felt the spirit of the Liverpool comedian. George replied: “A comedian? I think the spirit of Liverpool is that everyone is a comedian. I feel a bit like that.”
An example of the spirit of the Liverpool comic can be found in The Beatle’s A Hard Day’s Night when George says “grotty”.
He said: “There was a piece of dialogue where I said, ‘Oh, I’m not wearing that, that’s gross!’ [Scriptwriter] Alun Owen invented it; I didn’t do it. People have been using this word for years. It was a new expression: grotty – grotesque. I guess he thought, being from Liverpool, he knew our kind of humour.”
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The former Beatle said having a sense of humor was essential
George told Timothy White of Musician Magazine: “I’ve always had a sense of humor, and I think it’s absolutely necessary. I think what happened was that I was labeled as sad because I did some spiritual things during a phase important part of my own career and I sang a lot of songs about God or the Lord or whatever you want to call him.
“You can’t be singing this stuff laughing, but if you’re not smiling, people draw that conclusion of seriousness. I don’t think anyone is completely serious or comical, and I’ve seen comedians who call themselves serious when they’re off stage.
“Honestly, I always thought it was so funny when people thought I was so serious! Maybe it’s also because the last time I did interviews in the 1970s was that whole heavy hangover from the hippie 60s, when everyone was into this discipline, this doctrine, and the other.
“I have a very serious side, but even within that, I always see the joke. That’s why I’ve always liked Monty Python.”
George’s friend Tom Petty told NPR that George was a “very funny man; he could kill me with his humor.” The former Beatle was also funny when he was cynical.
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Source: ‘I Still Feel a Bit Like That’