The night comedian Malcolm Hardee did NOT drown in the River Thames

Malcolm Hardee on the Thames (photo by Steve Taylor)

Malcolm Hardee on the Thames (Photo by Steve Taylor)

Tonight in 2002, the comedian Malcolm Hardee fell off a 20 feet high wall by the River Thames in London and damaged his back. He told me it was just bad luck: if he had toppled off forwards, his bollocks would have cushioned the fall.

It is one of the great truths in life that a comedian falling off a 20 feet high wall will get little sympathy, even though it is very painful, very dangerous and not funny. Well, not very funny.

Five days later, I went down to see Malcolm at the Lord Hood pub next to his Up the Creek comedy club in Greenwich. I got talking to a drunken woman who was sitting in the pub with two male friends. She was 48 and told me she had had sex with the singer Frank Sinatra.

“He was hung like a horse,” she said. “It was in 1973, but not in Las Vegas.”

Later, it turned out she knew Malcolm.  “I had sex with my boyfriend in Malcolm’s bed,” she told me, “but not while he was there.”

I talked briefly to Malcolm. He had reddish-brown bloody scabs on his knuckles (from his fall) and had to sit down slowly with slight Ooh! and Ouch! sounds because of his back. An osteopath had re-adjusted both hips for him.

He told me he fell 20 feet onto shingle at the side of the River Thames at low tide, landing on the soles of his feet and then falling over.

I said: “You’re lucky you didn’t break both legs.”

He told me he regained consciousness, found he was unable to move and lay there watching the water lapping increasingly close to his face until he found he could crawl.

Three years afterwards, in 2005, late one night, drunk, he fell into Greenland Dock in Rotherhithe, by the Thames.

He drowned.

Funeral wreaths at Malcolm Hardee’s funeral

Wreaths by the River Thames after Malcolm’s funeral in 2005

Two days later, his body was recovered from the water. The police reported to the Coroner: “The male had a bottle of beer clenched in his right hand… It fell from his hand on the ascent.”

So it goes.

Three annual Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards are given in his memory every August at the Edinburgh Fringe.


Filed under Comedy, Death

2 responses to “The night comedian Malcolm Hardee did NOT drown in the River Thames

  1. keith martin

    Hung like a … that makes two of us!

  2. Christine Hardy

    looked this up because I had a weird dream one night and this is what I wrote. FB memory. had the wierdest dream that i was watching this comedian and he said im malcolm hardy and i didnt drown i was killed and that he was on his barge and I was looking at him and said you are not even funny ? then he said turn around so i turned around and everyone was laughing at him ???????? wierd… just needed to share 😕 Now whether you believe me or not doesn’t matter, but I have and never had heard of a Malcolm Hardy, now my second name is Hardy so assumed it was the same spelling, so Googled and got Malcolm Hardee Comedian. Coincidence but a very strange one.

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