Max Miller

Why Kipper?


Kipper dolls are dedicated to Max Miller who was famous for his Kipper ties and too small a hat.


About Max Miller  1894 - 1963


Max Miller wore outrageous plus-four suits, florid kipper ties, co-respondent shoes, huge diamond rings and a white trilby hat that was a size too small. ‘Why am I dressed like this?’ he would pre-empt his audience’s asking, ‘I’m a commercial traveller and I’m ready for bed’. He conjured up a world of cheap hotels, boarding houses, pubs and the race-track. A world of commercial travellers, of lusty landladies and willing girls.


He always offered his audience the white gag book (respectable) or the blue gag book (dirty) and they always called for the blue book. He worked in the music hall tradition of saucy, sexual innuendo spiced with a touch of sentimentality. But with his frank, open face set off by brilliant blue eyes, it was impossible to take offence and there was always the feeling that there was no malice in him – that he was a good chap at heart. Women adored him – he often talked directly to them in his audience and men envied him as he regaled them with tales of his successes (always left ultimately to the imagination).


“I like the girls who do. I like the girls who don’t. I hate the girl who says she will and then she says she won’t. But the girl I like best of all, and I think you’ll say I’m right, is the girl who says she never does but she looks as though she…Here!”.



'The Cheeky Chappie' was one of the last great music hall comedians, working mostly in the London area from the 1930s to the 1950s. Miller could get away with telling more lewd jokes than most other comics of his era. He managed to achieve this by apparently involving the audience in the selection of the jokes, offering them the choice between the white book (featuring clean jokes) and the blue book (containing the risque jokes). Of course they always chose the blue book. Miller belonged to the age before the microphone and so he was able to use the full area of the stage. He would walk towards the footlights and then back off towards the wings, ironically checking each side to see if anyone (particularly the stage manager) could overhear him, then walk towards the audience as if about to take them into his confidence. Miller often left his punchline unspoken, interjecting a well-timed 'Ere', to enhance the double meaning. That left the audience to add the suggestive implications of his jokes themselves, while he stood back innocently claiming 'It's the way I tells 'em, lady'.