Fat people. We all know the stereotype – the jolly fat bloke, jowls wobbling as he laughs at some amusing self-deprecating remark he’s made about his size. Oliver Hardy, Fatty Arbuckle, Sydney Greenstreet, Hermann Goering, Orson Welles, Robert Maxwell, Bernard Manning, John Candy and Chris Farley – they all fit the image. Oh how we laughed at their amusing antics! Well, for too long these gross wobble-bottoms have taken refuge behind this facade of cuddly, good-natured bonhomie. The Sleaze aims to uncover some of the sordid truth behind some of the world’s best known fat gits. The sexual depravities and Keystone Cop buggering activities of silent comedian Fatty Arbuckle have been mentioned in these pages before, but few are aware of the antics of his better-remembered contemporary Oliver Hardy. Bisexual Hardy had gargantuan sexual appetites to match his size and his wild orgies became well known in 1930s Hollywood. Hardy liked nothing better than to be taken by several rent-boys at a time. Indeed, legend has it that at least one unfortunate rent-boy vanished into his ample buttocks, never to be seen again. Hardy was also an accomplished voyeur and, in 1940, he suffered a near-fatal heart attack whilst spying on rising starlet Evelyn Ankers. A sudden erection caused by the sight of her taking her bra off resulted in a massive rush of blood to his member, leaving his straining heart unable to supply the rest of his grossly overweight frame. Simultaneously clutching his knob and his chest he fell off of the milk-crate he had been balancing on outside Ankers’ bathroom window, crying “That’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into Little Stanley!”. Little Stanley being his pet name for his penis. The shock waves created as he hit the ground could be felt as far away as Santa Monica. Although Hardy survived the seizure, his career and reputation quickly went into decline, becoming an object of ridicule after notorious gossip columnist Hedda Hopper made reference to ‘Laurel and Hard On’ in her column.

The great Orson Welles suffered weight-related problems whilst filming Casino Royale in the UK in 1967, when he was mistaken for a lost Sperm Whale. During a break in filming Welles had decided to visit Brighton and take a dip in the sea. He quickly found himself surrounded by small boats and frogmen wielding electric cattle-prods. Fearing that he could prove hazardous to shipping the Royal Navy decided to try and guide him out into the open sea. The director and star of such cinematic masterpieces as Citizen Kane, Touch of Evil and Chimes at Midnight was forced to swim six miles out to sea before the Royal Navy would leave him alone. Even then his ordeal did not end. He had the misfortune to be spotted by a passing Norwegian Whaler and was chased by them and two factory ships for a further ten miles. In scenes reminiscent of his celebrated London stage production of Melville’s Moby Dick, the larger than life thespian had to dodge harpoons hurled at him by burly Scandinavians. Whilst the Ministry of Defence, severely embarrassed by the incident, have always denied that it ever occurred. However, a retired Admiral has confided to “The Sleaze” that the Navy had feared for the safety of its aircraft carriers, which easily have been seriously damaged or even sunk in a collision with a whale. “No man is an island,” he told us. “But Orson Welles came pretty damn close. He was clearly a danger to shipping and should have been torpedoed!” Welles claimed that even after he reached land he was forced back into the water by environmentalists who mistook him for a beached Narwhal. A similar fate befell media tycoon Robert Maxwell after he fell overboard from his yacht. His body was towed back into the sea by Greenpeace activists four times after it was washed up on a Spanish beach. It is also suspected that Maxwell’s cadaver sank at least two trawlers after it became entangled in their nets. Britain’s own contribution to obesity, the late foul-mouthed Northern comic Bernard Manning (who early in his career was regularly hired out to children’s parties as a bouncy castle), has also been accused of being behind some bizarre aquatic phenomena. In the summer of 1991 some amazing footage of the Loch Ness monster was videotaped by a holidaying fishmonger from Nottingham. When the tape was enhanced and analysed by experts at Glasgow University, they were astounded to see what appeared to be a naked Bernard Manning swimming on his back with an erection. “It could easily be mistaken for Nessie at a distance,” said Professor Will Mack. Manning is known to have been appearing live in Inverness during the sightings, although he always denied any involvement.

Fellow fat foul-mouthed comic Roy “Chubby” Brown has also been the subject of scientific investigations. In 1996 a team of scientists from Southampton University calculated that if Brown – a man so fat that he has not seen his penis in over eighteen years and can only masturbate with the aid of a mirror on a stick – was kicked in the arse, a seismic shock wave would be set up which would keep his body fat wobbling for three days. Energy experts hope to be able to harness this motion as a new source of energy for the Twenty First Century. Whole ‘fat farms’ of grossly overweight people are envisaged, all wobbling in time to generate electricity. This is not the first time that fat people have been mooted as a valuable source of energy. For many years it was rumoured that the government had contingency plans to deal with the possibility of former Liberal MP and gross wobble-bottom Cyril Smith expiring from a heart attack whilst in the Commons. Recently released official documents show that their favoured solution would have been to cremate him in the heating furnaces beneath the Houses of Parliament. Government scientists had apparently calculated that burning his body could have provided both Houses with heat for up to six months. His ashes would then have been packed into three steamer trunks and transported to his native Rochdale by special train. There they would have been scattered to create the Cyril Smith Memorial Speedway Track. Thankfully, this nightmare scenario never came to pass.