“BOISTEROUS comic who became one of the greats”, ran the Glasgow Herald headline over an obituary of Lex McLean, in March 1975.

The obituary noted that he had for 15 summers filled the Pavilion Theatre almost to capacity for six nights a week, and that he was “undoubtedly one of the great Scottish comedians of the last 20 years. Like his predecessor, the late Tommy Morgan, he held a unique place among music-hall patrons, particularly in Glasgow and the West of Scotland”. While he was often accused of purveying “blue” jokes, he said his humour was only boisterous; he was, however, a master of the double entendre.

McLean made just such a remark to the Evening Times in October 1956, on the eve of a Pavilion show, when its showbiz columnist asked him whether his material was blue. “I wouldn’t say I was rude at all”, he replied. “I’m boisterous and that’s all.” The writer noted that McLean had turned down offers of £200 a week in England, and spots at the Glasgow Empire, in favour of his ever-loyal audiences at the Pavilion.


Herald Diary

The photograph dates from June 1961, when, accompanied by his new collie, Glen (his previous dog, which bore the same name, had disappeared a few months earlier, never to be found) he attended a cocktail party to mark the launch of his summer show at the Pavilion. The Pavilion website observes that “plentiful belly laughs were assured when the master of timing with his clever one-liners and asides was the central figure”.