“We were like gods”: Legendary comedy double act Cannon and Ball ready for “Rock On” (Tommy) in Las Vegas

At the height of their fame, Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball cruised the neon-lit entertainment mecca in matching gold Rolls-Royces.

They were the hottest entertainers in the country with an army of female fans on their knees and a £ 20 million fortune to splash on beach houses, yachts and wild parties.

In 1985, their summer season sold a Bruce Springsteen tour and fans were keen to get autographs.

At the height of their fame, Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball cruised the neon-lit entertainment mecca in matching gold Rolls-Royces.

They were the hottest entertainers in the country with an army of female fans on their knees and a £ 20 million fortune to splash on beach houses, yachts and wild parties.

In 1985, their summer season sold a Bruce Springsteen tour and fans were keen to get autographs.

79-year-old Tommy and 76-year-old Bobby are Britain’s longest running comedy look-alikes

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In a few short years, Cannon and Ball switched from welders for £ 20 a week to comedy kings and sex symbols.

“Everyone in the country knew who Cannon and Ball were,” says Bobby, the short, curly-haired one with the changing braces and fidgety leg and “Rock on, Tommy!” Catchphrase.

“The sky was the limit – we could have what we wanted.”

“Yes,” says Tommy, the tall, slim, smoldering one with the sharp suits.

“We couldn’t get enough of it. We were like gods then. “

Before comedy tastes changed and their fortunes went under, Cannon and Ball lived the Las Vegas lifestyle – except at Blackpool’s illuminated prom and not on the Nevada Strip.

But like all entertainers, they dreamed of cracking Vegas and playing one of those big casino shows like Liberace, Streisand or Sinatra and the Rat Pack.

Punchline-Up: Mick Miller, Bobby Ball, Kenny Lynch, Su Pollard, Jess Conrad, Tommy Cannon, Bobby Crush, Anita Harris and Bernie Clifton

And now they have – thanks to a brilliant new ITV series.

79-year-old Tommy and 76-year-old Bobby – Britain’s longest running comedy double act – joined seven other British variety stars of the past to put on a spectacular one-night show in Sin City.

The singers Anita Harris (75) and Kenny Lynch (80), the former pop idol Jess Conrad (82), the hi-de-hi-star Su Pollard (68) and the pianist Bobby Crush (64) played the main roles.

The comedians Mick Miller (68) and Bernie Clifton (81) with his bouquet completed the troupe. They lived and rehearsed together, supervised by the legendary Vegas showman Frank Marino.

And all of the fun, excitement, and tears were captured on camera for Last Laugh in Vegas. Unsurprisingly, Bobby, who lives in Lytham St. Annes, Lancs, was “dead excited”.

“When I got the call, I hurried out into the street. I’m going to Vegas! ”He grins and wiggles his leg with joy. “I wanted to cry. Tommy and I did everything in showbiz, but not VEGAS! “

With the Rachael Bletchly of the mirror

Tommy of Selby, North Yorks, explains, “We started rehearsing at a warehouse in Wigan and they flown Frank over to us. And when he walked in … wow, he was Mr. Vegas. Glittering jacket, silver belt, all hair full.

“He was brilliant, but he didn’t hit – he meant business. We knew all the other stars, but sharing a house was still a little daunting at first. “

Bobby continued, “Nobody really got on my nerves. Except for Bernie’s ostrich – or the chicken, as Frank put it.

“Bernie took that thing out on the flight to Vegas – he walked up and down the aisle on the plane.

“And it had its beak about an inch from my ear. I said to Bernie, “If this bouquet picks me, I’ll break your arm.”

“So he didn’t bring it out in the house.

“Tom and I were of course fine – we spent 54 years together.”

Things between them weren’t so easy, though. The fame, worship, and income of £ 50,000 a week had crossed their minds. They injected money on lightning cars, houses on sunny islands, boats, and businesses.

The comedy duo at the height of their success in 1985

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Bobby plowed half a million pounds into a nightclub called Braces and Tommy bought Rochdale Football Club.

“We got arrogant and full of ourselves,” admits Bobby. “I drank too much and did women and got completely off the rails. I loved fighting and even fighting Tommy.

“I was lost – I didn’t like myself.” Tommy also struggled with the “whirlwind of abundance”. And the legacy of those days came last year when he went bankrupt on a £ 800,000 tax bill.

Little did fans know that Bobby and Tommy had dropped out at the height of their success and hadn’t spoken to each other in three years, except obviously on stage.

It wasn’t until Bobby turned to a theater chaplain and found God that they healed the crack.

Bobby’s wife Yvonne forgave him, and Tommy and his second wife Hazel converted to Christianity seven years after Bobby. And they’re closer than ever, as it’s clear when joking about Vegas.

And they’re just as funny as they were on the TV series Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club 44 years ago.

Tommy says, “You have to wait to see the full show, but it went really well. We were a little concerned but as we moved on showbiz took over. “

But how did the US viewers get their accents and catchphrases in Lancashire like “That’s enough for me, Cocker!” And “did you?”
me skin! “

Bobby admits that he and Tommy have “gotten arrogant and full of us”

“Oh, it was fine,” says Bobby. “We performed in Florida and we played the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville once, so we just have to slow down … talk more like Hilda Baker.”

However, some of her fellow stars encountered language barriers.

A local got a bit of a shock when he asked Bobby Crush what he’d done.

“I’m sorry … you say you are a penis?” He asked in amazement.

“No, no – a pianist,” explained the former boy wonder.

But the two reveal that their Vegas dream almost fell victim to terrible tragedy. On October 1, in the middle of filming, shooter Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd of concert goers across from the Mandalay Bay Hotel, killing 58 people and injuring 851.

Tommy recalls when he woke up to the news: “Nobody spoke, we were shocked. We talked about scrapping the show, but we all said, “No, we have to move on, it’s what the audience expects.”

But there were more laughter than tears during her stay in the United States

“We had a lot of fun in our free time,” says Bobby. “I did a real cowboy ride – brilliant – but Tommy went pole dancing with Su Pollard.”

They say there were more laughter than tears during their stay in the United States

“I was a natural,” says Tommy, who will be 80 years old in June.

“You should do more of your pole dancing, Tom,” says Bobby. “Walk around all of the old houses in Lytham – you’d make a fortune.”

And he grins: “I don’t have a fitness program. Apart from sex – once a year. “

What about all the groupies? “I still get a lot, but not Tom,” says Bobby. “They used to throw their knickers on stage.”

Fortunately, they don’t get that in panto – a popular annual outing.

“It’s Jack and the Beanstalk in Crewe this year,” says Tommy. “We love it. Children of seven or eight years of age come with Nan for an autograph afterwards.

“They say, ‘Why aren’t you two on TV? You are really funny. “

A new generation of television viewers will now enjoy the Cannon and Ball experience. And Tommy and Bobby really will have the last laugh in Vegas.

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