They say comedy brings us all together as we all enjoy a good titter and it is healthy for us. Just think of the fun we have watching the comedians in Parliament at the moment.

I prefer real comedians or comedy actors as there is a difference. The former tend to do stand up routines or appear on quiz shows to add a laugh or two. Perhaps I prefer the latter best so I remain a great fan of Rising Damp, Fawlty Towers, Allo , Allo and Porridge. Great scripts and excellent casts. Dad's Army remains another firm favourite but I rarely enjoy American series such as Friends, although I acknowledge it was a huge hit. I find American humour a bit childish and hate the canned laughter that is engaged if somebody only says a few words.

When I was in Hollywood 30 years ago I was invited to Paramount Studios to watch a recording of a comedy series called Family Ties starring newcomer Michael J Fox. It was a pleasure to meet him and of course he went on to great Hollywood film success with the Back To The Future films and other television series.

Whilst in Tinseltown I was asked to join a panel drawn from the public to test a pilot comedy that had just been made starring Faye Dunaway. You had to watch the programme and keep pushing three coloured buttons denoting whether it was very funny, funny or not quite it. Now I had just come from a bar having enjoyed a drink or two with an old character actor called Aldo Ray. If you don't recall the name, look him up on IMDB and I can tell you he liked to drink. Hence I was totally confused with the button colour coding and kept pressing not funny. I don't think the series was ever commissioned, so sorry Faye, but I am sure it did not swing on my voting.

Borehamwood has been no stranger to the biggest comedy stars of all time and from the 1930s they have all been driven along Shenley Road, the high street, albeit at a faster speed than nowadays. I could make a joke about town planners but I will resist. It started in the 1930s when Stan Laurel insisted on visiting Elstree Studios, albeit without his partner Oliver Hardy while they were on a tour of England. When I was in Hollywood I visited their graves and went on a Laurel and Hardy locations tour, which was fun. Not long after that the greatest silent screen comedian Charlie Chaplin visited the studio and commented that this is the British Hollywood. At that time Borehamwood already boasted four film studios and Pinewood had not even been created. I also think Chaplin recognised the pioneering work Elstree was doing and the international flavour of its talent.

I think everyone has heard of Charlie but when was the last time you saw one of his films? After he died his body was dug up and held for ransom but thankfully was soon recovered. I suspect he was having a chuckle up above as his humour often had a dark side.

In the 1950s the legendary Buster Keaton made a television film at what is now the BBC Elstree Centre. At the time he was all but forgotten or just a name from the past but thankfully he lived long enough into the 1960s to see a revival of interest in his silent screen classics.

In the great days of ATV in Borehamwood a host of famous comedians travelled along Shenley Road, from Danny Kaye to Bob Hope. I cannot think of any town in the world that has enjoyed so much talent visit it outside Hollywood. I use the latter as a generic term as most of the studios are elsewhere in Los Angeles. For lack of space I cannot mention all our home grown talent who have visited my town over the decades.

Bob Hope once said you are unlikely to win an Oscar with a comedy portrayal or film. There have been a few exceptions but generally I agree with him. It is a pity as there is a real art to making people laugh. I find crude humour cheap and boring but I am of a generation brought up on more family-orientated laughs. As for myself whenever I have hosted an event over the decades I realised you need to give the audience a titter so I went for what they call dry humour rather than telling a gag. That way you are protected: if the quip dies a death nobody notices. Until next time, keep smiling as laughter lines are now the in thing and may replace botox.