Tommy Cooper’s ‘gag file’ to be preserved by Victoria & Albert museum
Tommy Cooper’s “gag file”, in which the late comedian meticulously recorded his jokes, is to be preserved by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
The V&A has acquired an archive of papers and props once owned by Cooper, which show he was less shambolic off stage than he appeared when performing.
The gag file is among 116 boxes of his papers going into the V&A collection.
The museum said he used a system for storing his jokes alphabetically “with the meticulousness of an archivist”.
‘Funniest of all time’
On stage, Cooper was known for his apparently chaotic magic routines as well as his trademark red fez and his catchphrase “just like that”.
But the file shows how he carefully sorted his jokes into dozens of categories, ranging from boxing and bull fighting to wives and women.
The material sheds light on his “scrupulously organised working methods, the business side of his vocation and the extent of his writing”, the V&A said.
As well as the gag file, the V&A has acquired personal correspondence, contracts, notebooks and his famous head twister illusion, plus posters and cardboard from shirt packaging that he jotted notes on.
However, the museum has not acquired his most famous possession – a fez.