Bernie Clifton, 82, is a legendary British comedian and singer, perhaps best known for a slapstick routine running around on stage in a goofy ostrich costume while he cracks punny jokes. But I recently learned there’s much more to his life story, from his early handyman jobs through to recent appearances on The Voice and a Las Vegas stage.
We met in the northeast England city of Hull, where Bernie was just two days from the end of a weeks-long run performing as Baron Hardup in the pantomime Cinderella. Better known as panto, it’s a show that combines songs, corny jokes, dancing, magic tricks and more for a popular family outing at Christmas.
My parents live near Hull and I was back for the holidays, and as soon as I found out Bernie was performing I put in an interview request. He agreed, and we met for an hour-long coffee and chat at the hotel where he was staying. Sadly it was too early for food at the hotel bar, so this is just drinking with strangers.
Bernie was wonderful company, he has a fascinating life story that I won’t repeat here. Instead, I encourage you to click on the picture of Bernie above, or on this link, to read the interview and discover how a former plumber and vacuum cleaner salesman achieved his dream of being an entertainer.