The Funniest Man in London
The Life and Times of H.G.Pélissier
By Anthony Binns
Harry Gabriel Pélissier was an Edwardian satirist and composer who transformed British entertainment in the early 20th Century. The Follies, his ground-breaking act, paved the way for the modern revue. Performer to King Edward VII and admired by J.M. Barrie and George Bernard Shaw, his risqué shows were banned by the Censor’s office. His marriage to Compton Mackenzie’s teenage sister, the actress Fay Compton, shocked London society
© JG Pélissier
Recommended in The Times Writers' Favourite Books of 2022 by Quentin Letts
"Few will have heard of H.G.Pélissier, but he was the tireless satirical star of British stage comedy in the Edwardian era, a fore-runner of the Goons who drove censors round the bend. The quirky biography The Funniest Man in London by Anthony Binns is long overdue."
Price: £20 + £3.50 post & packing
Publisher: Edgerton Publishing Services
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What others are saying about The Funniest Man in London
“If you are about to read this book, I envy you! It’s well worth the trip.”
Barry Cryer - Writer & comedian
“H.G.Pélissier was a man ahead of his time. He battled the censors and made the world laugh at pious, nay-saying officialdom. We could do with an H.G.P. today.”
Quentin Letts, journalist & theatre critic
"H G Pélissier was among the master spirits of his age, as writer, composer, producer and performer, hugely successful and influential. In Anthony Binns’s biography, he lives again, and can take his proper place in the pantheon of great British entertainers, an example and an inspiration."
Simon Callow, writer, actor & director
“Anthony Binns’s forensic detail about H.G. Pélissier’s Follies in ‘The Funniest Man in London’, is a fascinating exploration into the history and evolution of British popular culture. Such material is often overlooked by academic historiography, yet this volume provides invaluable fresh insight into the ways in which high art and popular performance forms were blended during the early years of the twentieth century. This book is an exciting and timely contribution to our understanding of contemporary culture.”
Dr Tony Lidington, author of Don’t Forget the Pierrots!
“This book is not only meticulously researched and reveals extraordinary knowledge of the subject, but is a fascinating insight into a man who I’d never heard of before. H.G.P is clearly the great-great-grandfather of all the absurdist comedy and satire of our lifetime.”
Jim Piddock, actor & writer
“H.G. Pélissier has proved fortunate in who he chose to be his biographer. He could not have asked for a more eloquent, erudite and enthusiastic champion. It is a relishable book that gets your mind whirring like this. One thing is certain, Harry Pélissier now has a detailed memoir to celebrate his short but gifted life. A bon viveur, he burnt the candle at both ends, but oh, so brightly.”
Eric Midwinter, The Call Boy - Official journal of the British Music Hall Society
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Images and reproductions are copyright of Pélissier Family Archive. Musical arrangements copyright of Pélissier Communications Ltd