it's sod's law that the two best clips of the round get drawn together after such poor match-ups. i've long championed Hoffnung. it's story-telling of the highest quality. the intonation, the timing... it's all there.
I really don't understand how anybody can fail to appreciate A. I agree pretty much word-for-word with Skope. The very opposite of modern humor, I suppose, but I'll lose a little kinetecism for a bit of subtlety.
B seems like yet another that is mildly amusing but might be rip-roaring with a bit more context.
I really wanted to like A for its sheer English eccentricity and for being a brave pick, but I had no idea what the audience were finding so funny. B's more about Rossiter's performance than a script with great lines, but the idea of ordering ravioli for dessert makes me chuckle.
There are loads of versions of that Bricklayer thing, I've heard it in comedy songs, probably by Val Doonican or someone, where it would've been performed better than here. It's also in David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest, if you want a more highbrow take. I thought this one was dry and boring.
B seems to be another irritating clip that's missing context. What the footsie thing is about, I dunno, but the absurdity of a balanced meal of ravioli just about does enough. Did I ever mention I'm convinced that Leonard Rossiter didn't die? I swear the wife and I were on a cruise with him between Cyprus and Egyot for a couple of days, sometime in the early 00s. We shared the same table for meals, he was the spitting image of him, around the same age you'd expect, had the same voice and mannerisms. Really funny guy. It was genuinely odd.
I'm actually old enough to remember both Perrin and Hoffnung's recitations when they were new. David Nobbs, who wrote Perrin, was a a collaborator at times with Peter Tinniswood, one of my top four funny English writers (along with George Grossmith, Geoffrey Willans and P G Wodehouse), and the Perrin books are not far off those four, but fortunately the several diminishing returns Perrin TV series did not live up to it, and I've seen them too often. Which means that, although I was never a fan in my childhood (at the time my idea of TV comedy was Charlie Drake or Richard Hearne), Hoffnung wins this one by default. As skope says, though, great timing and a very droll delivery. It's not often you get a belly laugh from an audience with an adverb. Very chucklesome