Bobby Thompson : The Little Waster

Margaret Sanderson

Joined September 2008

Artist's Description

Robert Michael “Bobby” Thompson (18 November 1911 – 16 April 1988) was a stand-up comedian, actor and entertainer from Penshaw, Tyne and Wear.
Famous for his broad Wearside accent, self-deprecating humour and mastery of the mother-in-law joke, Thompson was affectionately known as The Little Waster due to his short stature, which he often played upon his act, describing himself as “Little Bobby”. His most famous outfit was a worn out stripey jumper (Wooly gansey) and flat cap. His ever-present Woodbine cigarette stub, hanging from the corner of his mouth, was also an integral part of his on-stage persona.

Bobby was admired and loved as a hero of the working class of which he was the proud mouthpiece, because he knew their experiences and, hard as they were, he could turn them into the stuff of laughter.
He was also renowned for his problems with the tax man, stemming from the fact that he never seemed to pay any. This was an unfortunate fact that he turned to humour in his stage act.

Problems with drink, finances and his health affected his career in the 1970s, but he remained a North East favourite, particularly on the club scene, until shortly before his death.
Prismacolour, Staedtler coloured pencils and ink background on Bristol Board extra smooth surface, 250 gsm.
Watch an 8 minute clip from one of his ‘turns’ HERE

Artwork Comments

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