Les Dawson's Joke Book: review

Les Dawson's mother-in-law jokes overshadowed some of his imaginative wordplay, as this new book of jokes shows. One of Les Dawson's 1970s quips - "The way prices are rising, the good old days are last week" - will unfortunately rarely be outmoded. Humour is timeless. It will be 20 years next June since the comedian died, at the age of 62, and in advance comes Les Dawson's Joke Book.There are one-liners, handwritten sketches - including an amusing ditty about the First World War - and limericks.
There are plenty of jokes. Do they stand the test of time? Lots do, but some - about 'Red Indians', Tarzan and trade unionists - may really resonate only among an older audience. And it was a very poor decision to include a joke about a rapist.
As someone who had a mother-in-law and a step mother-in-law, I may not best placed to consider the PC merits of the ample number of Dawson's mother-in-law jokes in a book compiled by his wife Tracy and daughter Charlotte. A typical example is: "My mother-in-law's so fat that when she passes her handbag from hand to hand she throws it". As it happens, it was always the offbeat and imaginative flights of fancy I liked best with Dawson. Here are some examples from the book: • 'My lad chewed and swallowed a dictionary. We gave him Epsom salts - but we can't get a word out of him.' • A duck goes into a chemist's shop. 'A tube of lipsol, please.' The chemist said: 'Certainly. That'll be 50 pence.' 'Just put it on my bill.' • 'I'll give you 40 pills in a box.' 'Thanks, it's hopeless trying to roll them home.' • 'I said to the wife, I wish you wouldn't smoke in bed.' She said: 'But a lot of women do.' I said, 'Not bacon, they don't.' • 'I discovered the wife's got asthma. Thank God - I thought she was hissing at me.'
• 'I wouldn't say they were posh but the toilet coughed before it flushed.' The book will certainly appeal to Les Dawson fans and those tickled by (funny) jokes such as: 'I went to my doctor and asked for something for persistent wind. He gave me a kite.'