Jethro, the deadpan West Country comedian who was favored by Des O’Connor although his jokes were decidedly old-fashioned – obituary
Geoffrey Rowe, who died at the age of 73, was a Cornish comedian known as Jethro, with an act so blue that he turned the conventions of mainstream comedy upside down with his “observation” style at the old one and its politically incorrect humor.
Starting out as an amateur pub artist in Cornwall in the 1970s, Jethro gained national television fame by telling quirky stories during appearances with Des O’Connor and Jim Davidson. Even when the foul language was cleaned up for television, his routine – riffing on fat women, incongruous sex, body parts and functions, not to mention blacks and gays – ultimately threw him out of sight for family viewing.
“I’ve had two unhappy marriages,” ran a typical opening line. “My first wife is dead and that asshole won’t.” For Jethro, women were a running theme, as in the following gag – told on the Des O’Connor show, tongue-in-cheek style with a heavy West Country accent, with the seemingly helpless host of to laugh :
“… She’s on the plane now.”
” Where is she going ?
“She’s not going anywhere. She takes a few inches from the bottom of the kitchen door.
Not that Jethro was confined to the domestic household: “I went to the doctor and she said, ‘Jethro, you have to stop masturbating’; and I said, ‘Why?’ and she said, ‘I’m trying to examine you. “
Yet despite the occasional misogyny, blasphemy, sexism, racism and homophobia, his live videos and audiobooks continued to sell in the thousands. A master of precision timing, the Jethro Round could work an (extremely older) audience in a way reminiscent of northern comics in workers’ clubs. Perhaps against all odds, his humor seemed to travel, even as far as Australia, where he enjoyed a considerable following.