Comedians Through Time -Frank Coyne

There are so many comedians in History that were some of the founding fathers as to what the genre is today.. Over the next few weeks we are going to have a look at a handful of comedians from the 1800s that were popular at the time and were leading the way with laughter. This week we look at – Frank Coyne.

It is really difficult to come across information on this comedian, and I came across his name in the autobiography of Charles Chaplin where he described him as a

 “…a gay bouncy type of comedian, famous for his breezy song:

You Won’t catch me on the gee-gees back again,

It’s not the kind of horse that i can ride on,

The only horse I know I can ride

Is the one the missus dries her clothes on!

 Off stage he was pleasant and always smiling. ” –Charles Chaplin, My Autobiography 

The rest of this article will come from information from an article posted 12th December 1911 in a newspaper called Queanbeyan Age that was titled A Melancholy End which i will summarise for you below.

Frank Coynes real name was Josiah Harris and was from Derby and as a youth became a comedian at the age of 19. Five or six years into his career he was asked to perform in London in the West End. Some of his best known songs include ‘Come and have a Tiddley at the Fountain’ ‘The Horse the Missus dries the Clothes on’ and ‘What’s the Use of a Plair of Kilts?’ 

The article goes on to exlplain his depression and that he went upstairs to the bathroom telling his wife he had forgotten something and went and slit his throat with a razor. It has been really hard to find photographcs of Frank Coyne and couldn’t find any so we will just have to imagine how he looked.

Categories: Comedy, History, Theatre

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