Five (and a half) comedians influenced by ABBA

Published 2015/05/19 by Dr. Dannii Cohen

abbaWith Eurovision rapidly approaching most of us are recalling the dazzling days of yore where the contest could create lasting stars and songs the whole world remembered.
No act, though, could ever match the massive legend that would become ABBA the fabulous foursome left a legacy that continues to influence new generations.
The most interesting thing is that ABBA did not just touch the gay scene and the music scene, but the comedy scene as well.
Let’s take a look at some British comedians whose acts were touched by Swedish genius.

5 ½. Dannii Cohen Yes, I too am part of those the group influenced. When starting out as a comic in the late 90’s I had a comedy music group with a friend. It was called Mayallzone: named in tribute to both Rik Mayall and Boyzone (yes, yes I know.) The music was strictly ABBA, though. Understandably, it did not last very long.

Okay, now that’s out of the way:

Let’s take a look at some British comedians whose acts were touched by Swedish genius.

5. Peter Kay Kay has acknowledged his love for ABBA several times, giving a rare interview to talk about the group in a documentary about 1976 and even refusing to host ITV’s Sunday Night at the London Palladium because the group would not reform for him.
He performed the Bjorn and Benny classic “I Know Him So Well” with Susan Boyle for Comic Relief.

4. Rowan Atkinson Starting with this amazing performance with the cast of Not The Nine O’Clock News: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aXFwIgIzaU
Rowan has used the music of ABBA on various occasions, with this great scene of Johnny English as a highlight.

3. David Walliams What was it that made David Walliams survive the grueling swim down the Thames in 2011? Was it strength and pure determination? Or did it have something to do with playing music by 4 magic Swedes in his head? It certainly helped. David requested various songs by ABBA when calling into radio stations for updates about the swim, but no song drove him more then the all time classic Dancing Queen, his favourite song, which saw him through the worst day of the swim, when falling ill.

After recovering he paid tribute to the group on Sport Relief night with pall Miranda Hart.

(Bonus: a very funny sketch ABBA sketch from his Rock Profile series:)

2. Steve Coogan AHA!! With the first series of his TV show named after an ABBA track Steve was a strong contender for the number one spot. In earlier years, of course Steve Coogan claims it is Alan Partridge who is the ABBA fan, but no-one can know so much detail about a group and it’s music without being a fan.

One of his inner circle has claimed that one one occasion he was given a lift by Coogan and the car radio was on, playing songs by ABBA loudly. Coogan blushed, swiftly switched it of and exclaimed: “JUST RESEARCH!!” Yeah, right. In recent years he admitted: “Just because Alan likes it, it doesn’t mean it must be naff. That’s very two-dimensional thinking. A lot of the music I choose for Alan is stuff I like.”

During recent series The Trip with friend Rob Brydon the duo perform The Winner Takes it all in a bar.

1. Rik Mayall – Who else!! In the early 90’s during his Rik Mayall Presents series, Rik starred in a fabulous movie called “Dancing Queen” about a man falling in love with the stripper (Helena Bonham Carter) who dances at his wedding. A lovely romantic comedy romp.

Over the years Rik often referenced ABBA (with “Money, Money, Money” even being used in The New Statesman). And now here’s for a twist: ABBA were fans of him too!! Well, at least Bjorn and Benny, which led to him being cast in ABBA’s Our Last Video Ever. The role of the producer was written especially for him and shows all the signs of his trademark humour.
With this trump card there was no doubt Rik should be number one!!

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