Open Morning: Fred Karno – Comedy Impresario (Talk by David Crump)

Saturday 21st October at 10:30 - 12:00
The Mint Methodist Church Centre, Fore Street, Exeter EX4 3AT
Do you want to know Exeter's link to Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel? Then this talk about Exeter-born Fred Karno is for you. A social event where visitors and guests are welcome and refreshment will be available. At 11a.m. David Crump will talk about Fred Karno.

David Crump will present on Fred Karno, the comedy impresario who launched the careers of Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel and who was born in Paul Street. Dave has recently published a biography of Fred Karno.

“If in doubt fall on your arse.” That was the mantra of Fred Karno: acrobat, comedian, writer, music hall impresario, film producer and the undisputed king of slapstick.

From his famous nursery of nonsense, the ‘Fun Factory’, the Guv’nor conquered the world, built an empire, made millions and lost the lot. In the process he discovered and trained the early twentieth century’s greatest comedians: Will Hay, Robb Wilton, Sandy Powell, Syd Walker, Frank Randle, Max Miller, Billy Bennett, the Crazy Gang, and most significantly of all Stan Laurel and Charlie Chaplin. He pioneered physical sketch comedy and developed the raw material that Hollywood later fashioned into the finest comics of silent film. The phrase ‘It’s like Fred Karno’s Army’ entered the lexicon to describe any chaotic situation, but his extraordinary legacy is largely forgotten, lost in the mists of time and sullied by a tarnished personal reputation.

This book tells the remarkable story of the man behind the myth and reveals Karno’s huge contribution to comedy and popular culture – an impact which still resonates today.


Parking onsite is limited for disabled people only, telephone the Mint on 01392 279786 to reserve a space. This City Centre venue is well served by public transport and there are public car parks nearby.

We respect peoples’ choice to wear a mask to keep healthy and protect others.