Tommy Cooper carking it on stage live on TV in 1984 via a heartattack as his captive audience cheered and laughed thinking it was all a part of his act is somethin' i've always heard about but never actually seen as i was probably being made to sit through Bulleye with my cruel parents instead and the footage has never been aired since so i was never quite sure if it was true or just an urban myth until it popped up on Youtube a couple of weeks ago :
There's certainly shades of Owen Hart dying during a WWF event by falling to his death from the ceiling as he made his aerial entrance and the hicks in the audience whooping and hollaring as they thought it was part of the show about this, isn't there? However, i honestly believe this even trumps that death of theatrically tragic proportions for 3 very specific reasons :
1. Okay, Owen dying in a spangly Mexican wrestler parody costume at a huge live event by doing a Hans Gruber when his harness snapped was pretty spectacular but it was between matches and not actually broadcast live unlike Tommy's death which was broadcast live to an audience of millions on primetime eighties ITV.
2. Dying is something which is slow, painful and generally pretty fucking horrible so i can think of few better ways to go out like a soldier than dying live on stage after a hot blond has just helped you into a silk robe in front of an adoring crowd who fawn over your every expression and movement.
3. If you've ever experienced someone or a pet dying in front of you you'll know there's that pre-exact-moment-of-death 5 second period when their organs stop working and their body expells all waste and air which starts with a vomitous belch and culminates in them simultaneously shitting and pissing themselves. It's the most gruesome thing i've ever had the misfortune to witness but Tommy's mammoth shart here has an almost poetic, pardon the pun, air of fuck the world, fuck my moms and my girl about it as Tommy bids farewell to this mortal coil with a thunderous fart that Zeus himself would be proud of and the audience climaxes in delight at the bellowing break of wind, proving the old point that the only thing funnier than fart jokes are farts themselves.
This begs the question : just what is going to appear on Youtube next? Footage of laughing toffs throwing peasants from the sinking Titanic into the icey ocean? A Blair Witch Project style video by the grassy knoll shooter mere seconds before pulling the trigger on JFK? A MrChiCity-esque video by Hitler from his bunker watching on as a naked Eva Von Braun chews on a cyanide freezepop? A 2 Girls 1 Cup reaction video with Lord Lucan and Jimmy Hoffa?