Butler's bad gags are no laughing matter

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The Independent Online
THE SAUDI millionaire wanted a classic British butler to discreetly bring his tea in the morning, heat his shaving water to the exact temperature, supply his yacht with the finest caviare and keep the maids in their place.

What he got was a working-class Liverpudlian who modelled himself on Bob Monkhouse and Frank Carson and told him their jokes over breakfast - then regaled guests with other favourite gags as he served dinner.

Finally he cracked. The 38-year- old Liverpudlian lost his pounds 66,700- a-year place and yesterday the Saudi businessman hired a 28- year-old from south London as replacement at the record annual salary of pounds 83,300 on condition that he never told jokes.

Both butlers came from the Ivor Spencer International School for Butlers, which has supplied members of the Royal Family. Yesterday Mr Spencer admitted: 'His idols were Bob Monkhouse and Frank Carson and any time they were on television he videoed it. He based himself on them and could not stop telling jokes and being funny so after 18 months he was fired.

'During his six weeks' training at the school he made everyone laugh, but I told him before he left that Arabs have a different sense of humour. The morning is the very worst time. The Arab told me that was when he didn't always feel good.'

The Liverpudlian is not going to be blacklisted by the agency, which thinks he was punished enough by losing his job last month running the businessman's homes in London, Paris, the south of France, San Francisco and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

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