The 84-year-old was a Saturday night TV stalwart in the 1980s with his late comic partner Bobby Ball, who died in 2020 aged 76 after testing positive for Covid, and said even though he admires acts such as Peter Kay, the days of vaudeville-style stagecraft and earning fame are dead.
Tommy hit out on the ‘Beyond the Title’ podcast: “There are times when me and Bobby, when he was alive bless him, would sit and think, ‘I don’t get it. What’s so funny about that?’
“Comedy now is not what Bob and I knew and what we grew up with.”
Recalling light entertainment’s greatest comedy duos, Tommy added: “Even as a child, double acts were my favourite – Laurel and Hardy, Abbot and Costello, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.
“Comedy now has no bearing on variety. Some of the stuff is great. I like Jack Whitehall, I love Peter Kay.
“Them sort of lads have still got that old style – you can feel it coming off them.
“When I say old-fashioned I don’t mean it in a bad way.
“Lots of young people love the new comedy and that’s their choice, but it wouldn’t be mine and Bob’s bag.”
Tommy also bemoaned today’s quick-fix fame.
He said about battling to get to the top with Bobby: “We went 15 years before we were on TV. Some people think we were always on television and didn’t do anything else.
“Today is not the same. If you go on a show and win it, the following day you’re a star.
“There was a ladder in our day. It was pubs, working men’s clubs, nightclubs, theatre and television if you were really lucky.
“I don’t think there’s a ladder there any more.”